Eight years ago, when we let our 11-year-old daughter get a puppy, I became a grandma – to a dog! At first, when she would say things like, “Here, Thurman, come see Grandma,” I was a little perturbed. I didn’t feel old enough to be a grandma and I certainly wasn’t planning to have my first grandchild be a puppy. I found, though, there were benefits to not being the puppy’s “mother.” When he had an accident in the house or made some other type of mess, I didn’t have to clean it up. I could just call out, “Kelsey, come clean up after your dog.” I’ve heard friends with grandchildren comment similarly that one of the joys of being grandparents is they get to play with the child and enjoy it, but when the child becomes cranky or has a dirty diaper, the child can be handed back to the parents for care.
Several years after Thurman joined our family, our oldest son and his wife adopted a black lab/pit bull mix named Rosie. I call her Rosalita. As a grandma, I can have pet names for my grandpuppies. Rosalita is the perfect grandpuppy. Unlike Thurman, who will live his entire life in our home, Rosalita comes to visit and then she goes home. Sometimes, when our son and daughter-in-law are traveling, she stays with us for a weekend or even a couple of weeks, but she is well behaved and, when they return, she goes home.
Last fall, our second son had the opportunity to adopt a six-month-old, “medium-sized” dog. His co-worker’s daughter, unable to care for the puppy, had left him with her mom, but the mom has cats and the puppy was too rambunctious for them. The co-worker’s husband had decreed she needed to find a new home for the puppy or he would take him to “the pound”. The co-worker showed my son a photo of the puppy, described him as quiet and laid-back. As I said, she also described him as “medium-sized”. My son fell in love with the photo and agreed to take the dog. The first thing he did after picking Fen up, was bring him to our house to introduce him. I walked into the house and immediately exclaimed, “Troy! This is NOT a medium-sized dog!” Fen is a Husky/German Shepherd mix who, at six months of age, weighed 70 pounds. But he is cute and I was happy to have another grandpuppy. That is, I was happy until Troy called to say he had discovered his apartment’s dog policy only included dogs up to 20 pounds. He asked if Fen could stay with us while he searched for a new place to live. Of course I said that would be fine (remember the “S” for sucker from my last blog post). The problem is, that was six months ago. I would guess Fen now weighs about 90 pounds, he is huge and at one year old, he really is still just a puppy and a needy one, at that. He follows me around the house and lies at my feet, even when my feet are in the kitchen while I cook dinner. Stepping over him has become routine.
I love all my grandpuppies; they are part of our family, but I’m worried that I have become Mom to Fen instead of Grandma. Perhaps the best thing about grandpuppies is that they should go home.