We're back! After a long hiatus! A long unexpected hiatus! Partly due to being unable to log in to Squarespace the last week, and partly due to a busier than usual schedule! But that's not important now, we have returned. I suppose I could have just made a claim that we had planned on taking a break until the summer solstice and then retroactively edited our last post to reflect that, but that wouldn't be honest would it? And when you're in the dog business, you need to be honest above all else. 'Cause the puppers can tell when you're lying. And they DO NOT like it and THEY WILL bite your feet as punishment.
I digress. Here is Otis:
Otis is a black lab puppy, obviously. He is also, as I believe I've mentioned before, a being of pure light and joy. I don't have to tell you guys how awesome puppies are, but a black lab puppy is a special kind of awesome. I mean, lookit that tail! Waggin' away! A veritable blur of excited puppymotion! And those puppydog eyes! I gave him my watch right after the above picture was taken! He didn't even ask for it!
In reality, after the above picture was taken Otis likely leapt at my shins, slid down them like a fireman, and began attacking my shoes and their laces. You see, Otis is teething, which means everything is a target for his nascent chompers. Things Otis has chewed on since I've been walking him:
- My hands. I swear to god, my hands must taste like ambrosia to the wee Otis, because he takes every opportunity to envelop my fingers/palm with his teeny lil jaws and just GNAW on them. He does have that so called "soft mouth" common to retrievers—or at least he has the notion that he should treat things in his mouth with a certain softness—so his bites are more like gentle gum smotherings punctuated by shards of pearly enamel. He has the coordination of a nearsighted middle schooler, so it's not difficult to get away from him, so the whole thing turns out to be very cute.
- His leash. Otis's second favorite thing to chew on. I totally understand this tendency, because if my mouth was full of dental stalagmites incrementally puuuuushing their way through my soft tissue I would also enjoy chewing on woven nylon. In fact, I suppose if you asked my parents, I probably did enjoy chewing on woven nylon when I was teething. However, as a baby boy I was blessedly unleashed whereas Otis finds himself lassoed by his own chew toy, leading to hilarious slapstick routines where Otis stares down his leash, jumps at it, pulls at it with his mouth, and subsequently topples over in a way that spits in the face of my understanding of spinal structure.
- Leaves. This is probably tied with the leash in the chewing hierarchy. Otis loves leaves. Or maybe he hates them and is trying to kill them with his gnashing teeth? Either way, he attempts to chew on every single one that we come across. I sort of wish it were autumn so I could see his wee brain meltdown at the sheer abundance of leaves. Oh man, a black lab puppy jumping in and out of piles of crunchy leaves, twisting and turning with absolute delight? Be still my heart. Perhaps I can stunt his growth so he doesn't grow until September? Just start feeding him coffee and giving him Marlboros? Probably a bad idea.
- Other people's hands/belts/bags/clothing. This one is a bit problematic. Everyone in the universe wants to pet Otis, because he is a puppy. However, Otis wants to chew on everything in the universe. Thus, when a gaggle of kindergartners approach from the west with puppylove in their eyes, I must remain alert. For Otis will pounce upon them, covering them with puppylicks at first, but then perhaps tossing in a quick gnaw of one of the toddler's ring fingers. In my mind, this will directly result in a lawsuit, and we all know Otis doesn't have any money.
- His actual chew toys. This is definitely at the bottom of the list. He shows little interest in the objects that were designed for his teeth to be embedded in. Why chew on a thick, knotted rope when you can attempt to separate Sean's distal phalanges from the rest of his hand? Why chew on a piece of rigid, yet flexible rubber when I can gleefully attack the straps on Sean's backpack? Why would you EVER chew on a piece of rawhide when you can wrap your teeth around Sean's keys? And so on.
Sometimes Otis does use his chewing for good. Like when he eats. MY GOD does he like to eat. From the second I walk in in the morning and let Otis out of his crate, he dives at my ankles and jumps at my knees eagerly awaiting his vittles. I dutifully retrieve (ha) his bowl of food, put a bit of water in it to soften up the food for his wittle mouth—although he does try to chew on MY KEYS so who knows—and then attempt to place the bowl on the floor. I try to keep Otis away from the bowl as I set it down, so he doesn't knock his head into the bottom of it and send it flying. I'm often successful. He then devours the softened wet dry food like a fuzzy black vacuum cleaner. In this state, his is ignorant of all other things happening around him. I could start firing a flare gun in the living room while reciting Alec Baldwin's monologue from Glengary Glen Ross through a megaphone and he would just solemnly continue wolfing down his food. It's amazing.
The above picture is what happens when I put my fannypack on Otis's back so that he can have a backpack for his first day of dog school. I think it was like 95 degrees that day, so I may have been suffering from mild heatstroke. It was an adorable hyperthermic mania though! In summation, Otis is a being of pure light and joy (and teeth) and he makes me and everyone he meets feel better about their lives. Not bad for a scraggly ball of fur. Here's to you Otis!