Dear Diary,

It’s a crisp, clear, and chilly morning up here in the Northeast. Just my kind of weather, although I would prefer snow thank you very much 🙂

Dad says it’s going to rain later but that it will be near 60° which he says is just about right for this time of year. He said something like “April showers bring May flowers,” as if that’s supposed to mean anything to me, but what I do know is that he has introduced me to this new thing humans do that has to be about the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my young life; raking and yard cleanup. I’m pretty sure it’s lost on humans, but turning over Dead Leaves and exposing the dirt underneath – and whatever little pieces of trash the wind has blown into the yard from the street – gives us canines a smorgasbord of smells and flavors and textures that set our senses on fire. And the sticks! There are so many sticks it’s impossible to decide which one to sneak into the house.

I have to admit, though, that I’m conflicted because as much as I love this whole spring cleanup thing, I really do feel like snow year-round would be a far better way to live. My dad couldn’t disagree more on the snow thing, but- and I mean no disrespect – humans just aren’t furry and fluffy enough to appreciate how glorious it is to roll around in the snow and kick up your feet. My people are built for this, and Emma and I think humans should put on a coat and long johns and try it sometime; my dad does it with me all the time, and I love him for it even though he’s a wimp and can’t do it for too long before he needs to come inside for a hot cup of cocoa he won’t let me have. And what’s the deal with not letting us have chocolate? I don’t really think that’s fair.

Speaking of what is fair and unfair, I want to vent for a few paragraphs on this issue of fairness and the challenges (Dad said I should use that word) that he and I have been working through these past two weeks. We have had a number of disagreements, and I have honestly been struggling to understand these icky things he’s been talking about lately called “rules,” and I gotta tell y’all, I don’t like them… Not one little bit… And I have been letting him know in the clearest of terms that I don’t like them. NOT ONE LITTLE BIT.

For starters, remember that ever since the day I was born, when I had to go potty, I went potty. Not only is this uncomplicated, but ever since the day I moved in with Dad, I’ve seen him do exactly the same thing. When he does it, it’s no big deal. When I look up at him as he sits at the computer working, I do the same thing. He has been gently and calmly telling me not to do that in the house since the day I got here, but since I’m not yet fluent in human, I haven’t been able to wrap my Paws around this word “NO!” he keeps throwing at me, and lately, I have not at all appreciated his tone when he says it because he’s starting to sound more mad by the day.

It has taken me a while, but I’m finally starting to understand that if I want to be loose in the house, I can’t go potty anytime or anywhere I want; I have begun to understand the words inside and outside and have finally begun to figure out that he talks in that soft loving voice when I go potty outside, and that Stern, impatient voice when I go inside.

He has explained to me more times than I can count that if I can hold it overnight in my crate, there is simply no reason why I can’t hold it when I’m not in the crate. The fact that he is taking Emma and me outside practically every hour is starting to make sense now, and we would much rather hear “good girls, great job, I’m so proud of you two” in that soothing and loving voice than hear “goddamit, not in the house, you are too grown up to keep doing this!” angry and impatient voice. I still don’t think it’s fair that he goes inside and I have to go outside, but that’s just one of the icky rules I have been forced to accept whether I like it or not.

Dad says good stories should always end on a good note, and I promised him I would, so let’s get this last bone I want to pick out of the way before we get to the good stuff… I want someone to show me where in the “User’s Guide of Loving and Mutually Respectful Relationships Between Humans and Canines” it says that we can’t eat the same food. I’m afraid I have to disagree, in the strongest of terms, with this rule. Dad tells me that humans understand how Superior a canine sense of smell is, and I’m not sure what to think about this idea that if a human thinks their meal smells yummy, they would be surprised to see their canine soulmate holding even more strongly to the same opinion about a human meal. I mean… What’s wrong with you guys?

If your mouth waters when you sit down to eat a plate of Eggo waffles drowning in butter syrup, sugar, and cinnamon, what do you think is going on in the mouth of a Newfoundland? Or the brain? How can you not understand that it is all we can do not to jump right up on your lap, nose dive into your plate, and inhale every drop before you’ve even had a chance to push the fork down and start cutting your first bite? Is this not a form of torture? I certainly think it is. And I can assure you, there is not one word from Dad, blathering on about how people’s food is bad for dogs, that even remotely registers while I’m thinking about all the ways I can wreck that plate and snatch the food before he can stop me. It’s bad enough we have to learn potty restraint yet, for the difficulties involved in getting a puppy to relax, asking us to have manners is literally a bridge too far. All the same, Dad turns that voice on and throws me that “NO! Get down… GET DOWN!” thing he does, and it breaks my little heart. To reiterate, I think rules are icky!

Emma and I have been making more new friends over the past two weeks. I’ve told you about that stunningly gorgeous Saint Bernard Maisey that lives on the other side of a driveway next to my house, but farther up that driveway, away from the street, we have been making a great new friendship with a stunning blue-eyed young lady named Luna. She is about one year old (human years) and the three of us adore each other. We kiss each other through the fence, sniffing with tails wagging right off our backsides and jumping up and down and twirling around as if life couldn’t be any better… And, of course, it really can’t. The potty spot that Dad insists Emma and I use is right on the other side of Luna’s yard, so we see her every time we go up there and tend to our business. We love her so much, and I heard her dad tell my dad that when we are all a little older, we can have playtime inside Luna’s fenced-in yard!

In the morning, when Dad and I go out so I can do my thing before we get up on the porch so he can do his coffee thermos thing, we have long conversations about a lot of different things. We talk about the weather forecast, how long it will be before Emma gets here, what his writing plans are for the day, and anything else that comes up. It could be what Dad calls the “dumbass moron”car going up the street at twice the speed limit at 6:00 in the morning, or the kids walking by on their way to the high school, or the joggers, or any other random topic that comes along. He tells me there is a quote from a movie that I need to learn, memorize, and embrace…”Stranger Things,” I think he said. Some guy says that”mornings are made for coffee and quiet contemplation” and suggests that this is what the two of us do together every time we are outside.

And when Dad and I are sitting in the yard with Emma, he says the three of us – as we watch the cars and the people and the dogs and the joggers go by- is basically the same thing as what we do first thing in the morning and last thing before we go to bed. We take it all in, we process what’s going on around us, what we hear in the neighborhood, or what we smell in the air, and we try to make sense of it all.

Trying to put it in perspective. The picture at the top of this entry was taken right before bed while Dad was explaining to me (after an argument I won) that there are rules in the lives of people and dogs and that, even though we are still in the negotiation phase, he will always love me with his whole heart, and I will always love him with my whole heart and, with a little more practice, will work out our differences and have an amazingly glorious and wonderful and incredibly long life together. I guess we still have some work to do to make sense of things, but I know we’ll get there with enough love of and patience with each other.


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