“Thus great things from small things come.”
In two weeks he’s already grown so much!
We have a new member of our family; a small, boisterous, bundle of black fur with very sharp teeth. This black puppy has completely won our hearts even though there are moments when he resembles a Tasmanian Devil. Maybe we should have called him Taz? However, we didn’t, we called him Drake after Sir Frances Drake, famous corsair/pirate during the reign of Queen Elizabeth l. The patch of fluffy grey fur on his chest looks like a ruff, at a stretch, and we could tell from the start that he was going to be adventurous. Sir Frances’s motto was Sic Parvis Magna, which translates as: “Thus great things from small things come”, which is a nice sentiment. At the rate Drake is growing it seems obvious that it is a very apt literal, as well as metaphorical, portent of things to come. The vet took one look at him when she gave him his first check-over and said she thought he would be around 40k when fully grown. Guido went white and James and I had to lie through our teeth, reassuring him that we were convinced she was wrong and that he would only grow to 30k maximum.
When we brought our two-month-old fluff-ball home in our old Fiat Panda, bouncing him along the back roads through the Valle dell’Inferno (Hell Valley), our intrepid hero curled into a ball on my knee and, after helping Guido change gears a few times with a lick on his wrist, fell fast asleep. He slept happily during his second car journey too so we are hoping he will enjoy travelling as much as the rest of us.
Once home he explored his new garden, did a wee-wee for us and let himself be carried up the steep flights of stairs (3 flights! All the up and down for Pee and Poo patrol is getting me fit again) into the kitchen where he settled down at once. He is very nibbly and at first did not seem to differentiate between hands and toys but he’s beginning to understand the difference now.
Drake has a huge appetite and lets us know very clearly when he is hungry. If he doesn’t have his biscuits nearby, then he will eat anything else that he finds. I spilt some milk the other morning which he lapped up quickly, then he polished the rest of the kitchen floor with his tongue in the hopes of other similarly tasty spots! Guido had strewn a few myrtle berries in a planter on the balcony to see if they would seed. Drake found them and tucked in, as if those bitter little things were doggy chocolates. I threw the rest away as soon as I saw what he was doing and, fingers crossed that they wouldn’t upset his tummy, took him down to the garden to perform. There he unearthed a mouldy Sharon Fruit among the autumn leaves and devoured that too. Fortunately he was only a bit squitty that evening!
He is very intelligent and already knows the commands SIT, PAW, FETCH and STAY. He seems deaf to the command COME when outside, unless you are holding a biscuit at the time … and there is nothing more interesting happening in the garden. He is great about stopping on the landing in the garage to have his paws wiped but hates his collar or harness. He has boundless energy until all of a sudden he drops and falls asleep wherever he is. His favourite sleeping places (apart from the luxurious soft bed that Auntie Sandra brought over for him) are our feet. Sleeping on Mum’s feet is especially good when she is cooking and doesn’t want a pup there in case she spills something hot on him! The best place of all to sleep though is in our arms. Whoever is handy with a lap will be lucky enough to be able to cuddle a sleepy baby and watch as his little eyes struggle to stay open before he finally gives in and with a deep sigh, transforms into the best, sweetest puppy in the world!
Parradog on traffic patrol!
We each have particular games he likes to play with us. With Guido it is “run off with the slipper”. Said slipper is a grey Croc, so it seems he shares his master’s dubious sartorial style! With me he likes to play “fetch” with a soft squeaky toy. Each time he brings it to me he has to climb onto my knee for a cuddle and a chew. James and he play pirates. Either they are taking the look-out watch, Drake perched on the windowsill in James’ arms, watching the traffic rumble by. Or else James holds Drake up on his shoulder (I’d like to see him do that in a few months) like a parrot. We have even coined a new term for this and call Drake a Pappacane or Parradog.
So, call him Taz or Drake or Parradog, all those names suit him well. What I want to call him though is Miracle. His presence in our home has already transformed it into a happier place. We have not laughed so much or felt such family harmony since our darling Stella (our German Shepherd) died. We cannot wait to get up each morning and cuddle him. We are lucky because, after the first night where he was obviously unsure of his new surroundings, he sleeps right through until about 7.30am.
We seem to miss Stella even more now we have another dog around the house.
Life seems brighter somehow. Although nothing has changed outwardly, inside of us this new, rich vein of love is expanding. People who have never had an animal cannot understand what it is like to have the honour of sharing your lives with a creature who offers unconditional love and fills your days with such hope and joy. Even wiping up the inevitable puddles or pretending to be cross at his small misdemeanours are just part of a fun challenge, as we help him learn what is or isn’t acceptable behaviour.
We thought long and hard about getting another dog. They tie you down. They wreck your neat garden and chew your furniture. They (in my case sadly) cause an allergic reaction. They cost money. When we decided to go ahead and bring Drake home it was with the knowledge that we were going to have some difficult moments ahead and that we would have to make some big adjustments to our lives in order to make way for this huge hound.
What a fantastic decision it was.