Our middle son, Matthew, "theoneinthearmy," came on a four-day pass this weekend. With him was our grandson, Fox, age 9, and granddaughter, Piper, age 3, soon to be 6. Mommy (Christie) had to work and couldn't come. After seven years overseas it's good to have them where they can just decide to visit.
Matthew left from Kansas about 6 p.m., Thursday evening and arrived around 3 a.m., Friday, or so I'm told. I had heard rumors about there being a 3 o'clock in the morning also, but never had the inclination to experience one.
When I got up there was a bag of puppy food in the kitchen. No one drives eight hours across three states with two small children in the hopes they might run across a hungry puppy. Somewhere there had to be a dog.
The puppy turned out to be a "wiener" dog -- a dachshund. Her name is Coco. Actually the full name, according to Matthew, is "Coco Puppy-Poopy-Kins." Coco is not registered with the American Kennel Society. Maybe they wouldn't accept the name.
Having once been a child (about the 1800s), and having seen five children through childhoodism, I am aware of only one reason to have a puppy: Every puppy needs a little boy to teach it how to be a grown-up dog.
Fox says that mommy calls Coco her dog, but Coco is really his. This is most appropriate. A mommy doesn't have near as much to teach a puppy as can a boy.
A puppy needs the boy to teach dog responsibility. The boy has to teach the puppy how to follow the rules, do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, keep things clean, and eat at regular intervals.
Coco is a fun dog. I really like her. Mostly I like the fact she is somebody else's animal and would be winding her way back to Kansas. We have no more boys around so there's nobody here who could teach a puppy anything.
The last dog we had was Pepper. She came into our lives when our youngest, Benji, was nine. Pepper was probably six months old when we got her, but I'm thinking at birth she might have been bigger than Coco will ever get. Pepper quickly grew faster than the boy, so she needed Matthew's help to break-in Benji.
Pepper came from the Humane Society. I had Benji sign the official adoption papers, agreeing to teach Pepper about growing up. More than once Benji wished he'd never signed that paper -- turns out Pepper had an awful lot to learn from the boy. I think Benji was in college before it dawned on him that nine year old boys can't be legally bound to teach a dog how to grow up.
To the shock of every teacher at Northview High School Benji is teaching fourth-grade in an area of "disadvantaged" children. I'm thinking all that stuff he had to teach Pepper included some long-term value after all. Just wonder what my grandson will teach Coco Puppy-Poopy-Kins that will change both their lives.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.