Puppy Time

[Kunga at about 10 weeks]

Seems like it’s puppy time this spring.  I keep seeing news and photos on Facebook of litters from Canada to Florida to California.

One of my Facebook friends has an 8 week old blue boy, his first Dane, and he’s nuts about little “B”.  I love to follow this man’s posts as he researches, asks advice, plans a raw diet, tries to decide what’s the absolute best thing for his puppy. B. is already accompanying his owner to work and sleeping on laps and teaching his new family the joys of Dane antics.

What a contrast to the sad stories of abandoned, beaten dogs I also see all over the web.  How can we look at Patrick (the dog in NJ starved and tossed in the trash) and understand the mind of the person who could behave this way to another being?  Patrick was once someone’s adorable puppy, but his life took a sadly different direction than my friend’s Dane.

Maybe what we love most about pups is the potential they represent for the best of ourselves to come out.  How we treat them is a reflection of who we are and who we are trying to become as humans.  When we see a puppy we can envision the future dog, influenced by us for better or worse.  They are slates on which we write our love and caring, or our carelessness and cruelty.  I like to think that my dogs have made me a better person, more patient and more understanding, but I realize that I have also lost my temper, failed to see things from a non-human point of view, and been unfair with discipline at times.  When we have been kind, consistent, and responsible, they are, too.  They reflect us back to ourselves.  Not all of us achieve perfection in treating our dogs, but with each new puppy we have a new opportunity.

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