Everything goes into the mouth; toys, socks, shoes and whatever is laying in his path.  There is a fine line between the habits of a young child and a new puppy.  The destruction can seem epic, or at least serious enough to cause momentary insanity.  I’ve bid goodbye to a handmade quilt I made that was disassembled because of boredom, with the hand sewn seams ripped apart by sharp white baby teeth.  I wanted to cry as I looked at the batting laying all around him on the bed like happy puffy clouds.  His tail was wagging when I walked in on the perfect storm – teething puppy and delicious quilt.

The quilt was only the beginning.  Did I mention the small rug that was ripped apart?  Oh, that was a proud moment for McDermott.  Pulling the threads up from the mat with intense concentration, occasionally chewing a stray thread.  He stopped mid pull to look at me with great pride. “Look what I did Mommy” shined in his eyes.  Oh the joy he felt in sharing his accomplishment.  Again, I wanted to scream, but instead pulled the rug away from him, telling myself, “he’s only a baby, he’s only a baby.”  I walked off to look for a chew toy to keep him busy until the next disaster.

If the oral fixation isn’t enough to drive me crazy, there is the jumping.  Oh yes, jumping to eat, jumping for attention, jumping when excited, jumping when bored.  This exercise is usually followed by frenzied running about the house with his oversized paws, sliding into couches and tables with his long legs getting wrapped around each other.  His favorite thing to do is jump on the end table, and launch himself, flying high, onto the couch.  I have to admit this makes me laugh every time, even though I shouldn’t let him do it.  If I was an Olympic Judge, I’d rate his landing a 10.0.  And, I think he believes this IS a competition because he sits at the end of the couch waiting for a treat after his performance.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my new puppy and look forward to him mellowing out with age, just like the rest of us.  For the most part, he is well behaved, but in those moments of silence I can be sure something is dreadfully wrong.  “Why is it so quiet?” I think to myself.  And, sure enough, there is always something in his mouth; a shoe, a  rug, underware, or a slipper.  The other day, he was gnawing on the leg of my antique Empire table.  Needless to say, his strong little jaws caused extensive damage. I just shook my head, and looked for a chew toy for him.  Sigh.

Like all new mothers, there are days that I reach exhaustion very quickly.   I am confident in my reserve of patients, knowing that shit happens.  I try to keep up with our training lessons, but his cuteness tends to win me over.  I don’t want to be “the bad guy.”  Jamie is the alpha-dog, I’m just one of the pack.  He follows me everywhere and loves me unconditionally, and that makes me happy.  After all, isn’t that the reason we get puppys?  His playfulness is infectious, his kisses are pure comfort.

He will outgrow puppyhood one day, so I should appreciate the fanatical energy while it’s here.
You can always buy new rugs and new shoes.  Not sure I can replace the Empire table, but I’ll learn to live with the chewed leg.  Silence will not always scare me, it will be a time to sit with my dog and enjoy his company.

Until then…where is McDermott? Where did I put his chew toy?!?!

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