Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer: the furry realities of planning for September while raising a puppy

About half-way through summer vacation seems like a good time to take a moment to notice how much I've accomplished. A kind of progress report for a conscientious teacher.

In thinking about summer before it began, I enjoyed making lists and piles of all the things I would accomplish: make a quilt for my college-bound daughter, get a puppy for my tenth-grade-bound daughter and start to train it, clean up the piles of "stuff" all over the house, get the garden in shape, visit friends, take tons of long walks, make serious in-roads into planning the new curriculum for next year, get some rest, read oodles of books, organize the freezer, schedule appointments with dentists and doctors and eye doctors and hairdressers, file last year's unfiled papers. . .

You know the lists. . . I have begun most of those projects and finished few - - something must be wrong!

I think the smoothly silky adorably clumsy little girl named Moki might be a clue. Did I really think that raising a puppy could be just another item on my list, like cleaning the bathroom? Moki says no. While I try to read or take notes, she bounds across the floor, legs all moving at different paces in different directions, the hair that grows between the pads of her feet giving her absolutely no traction on my smooth hardwood kitchen floors. Skidding into the folded comforter that serves as a dog bed, she looks up to see if I'm ready to throw her a toy. I throw. She races off after it, going as fast as her six inch legs allow (which is a lot faster than my thirty inch legs allow!) grabs her toy, growls at it while biting and shaking it, and comes back empty-mouthed, ready for me to throw another. I throw. How much reading did I do while Moki sported? You guessed it. Zero. The same goes for all other tasks. If she can get her mouth around it, she will. If she can't (as in the case of the cement stoop outside the kitchen door, she'll try anyway. The only thing she won't put in her mouth on her own is her high quality, all natural puppy kibble. That she prefers to eat out of my hand, preferably with a bit of hard-boiled egg or plain boiled chicken mixed in. Are you rolling your eyes? If my eight year old English Cocker Spaniel could roll his, he would. Valiantly, he tries to help her join the clean-bowler club - - if only it were a team sport!

So, I guess it's time to scale back my vision of all I could accomplish, celebrate each page read rather than each tome. There's always next summer, right?