Energetic puppy flummoxes all-thumbs owner | Whale’s Tales

I had contrived to reach 62 years of age without the big event.

I never had a kid. Never even raised a puppy.

What can I say? Got married late in life. Didn’t happen. I did wonder from time to time, however, what kind of parent I would have made. But I assumed that if it did happen, the babe would appear wrapped neatly in human skin.

A safe hypothetical. Until last month.

Now it appears that God in his wisdom has decided after all that raising a little one needs to be part of my makeup before I leave this planet. But one with a tail, floppy ears, paws and a wet nose? Digs kibble and treats? Does its business, hit and mostly miss, on a puppy pad? C’mon.

Meet Holly. The Whales’ 5-month-old German Shepherd puppy. A bundle of boundless and mostly undirected energy.

Holly doesn’t climb up to a couch or bed. She achieves sky at a running jump, I am certain with one steely-eyed aim in mind: hitting the perfect landing on whatever crotch happens to lie unguarded and vulnerable there. Too often mine.

When this whirling dervish of puppy pandemonium departs said couch or bed seconds later, she doesn’t drop demurely onto the floor. Not she. She vaults, striving, it seems, for a perfect parabola. And if our old dog, Xunna, should be near when the puppy performs her aerobatic feat, Holly is delighted to land on her aged back.

All of this makes it difficult for human and dog alike to lie down for shut-eye without keeping one wary eye open for young groin diver.

Yet, Holly is a bit of a paradox.

Despite her boundless energy, she is perhaps one of the most timid creatures I have ever encountered. The look in her eyes from day one to now has been fear. You may be petting her peaceably for an hour when, with no clear reason, she modulates from relaxed to terrified pup, desperate to find a safe space to hide.

I imagine that if the puppy could talk, she’d respond, like the poet Walt Whitman said of himself: “Very well, I am inconsistent. I contain multitudes.”

Part of the problem, Ann tells me, is me. Seems I am proving myself all thumbs at raising the young’in.

“You’re tall, you have a deep voice, and you scare her,” says Ann.

For instance, when I gave out treats the other day first to Xunna, holding out a palm full of identical treats out to Holly, she rejected my offering and instead snatched the identical treat from her elder’s mouth and ran off with it.

I was caught off guard, and irritated, yelled at her. In so doing, I violated a cardinal rule of puppy raising: never raise your voice. Seems I traumatized her, and weeks or months or years may pass before this sacral violation is smoothed over.

“If she were a human baby, that would be very bad,” said Ann. And, as usual, Ann is right.

I hope to become better at this. I want to be a help, not a hindrance, to Holly’s rise to full-grown German Shepherdhood. But it looks like I have a long road ahead, Ann tells me.

And once again, Ann is right.

Robert Whale can be reached at robert.whale@auburn-reporter.com.