The Corner

Thanks From Me and Crusoe

Last week I blogged about our new puppy, Crusoe, who was then frightening our three-year old by barking at her, jumping on her, and nipping her. (Outdoors one evening, she tried to escape the dog by jumping on her tricycle. The faster she peddled, the faster the dog chased her. In maybe four seconds she was calling for her mother, hysterical.)

Since then I’ve received more than 100 emails. Dogs, I’ve learned, touch something in people. Blog about politics, and a quarter to a third of the emails I’ll receive will prove crude and insulting. But of all the emails I’ve received about Crusoe, only two have criticized me, and one of those was good-humored enough to suggest only that I should have bought a Lab, not a poodle. Most of the emails are long. Many include wonderful descriptions of childhood dogs. When his grandmother died, one correspondent told me, everyone in his family had to force himself to display any emotion, but when his dog died everyone was all broken up for days. “I’ve decided,” another correspondent wrote, “that dogs are one of the mysteries of life that God intended us to notice.”

As for Crusoe, every knowledgeable correspondent insisted that I had to be firm with him, immediately. I was. And you know what? Within 48 hours the puppy had straightened out. No more barking. Zero pouncing or jumping up. He’s still nipping our daughter occasionally, but only playfully, and one parent or the other is always around to intercede—after all, the emails all agreed that for at least another few months we should never leave the puppy and our daughter alone together. For her part, our daughter has lost her fear of Crusoe, becoming fascinated by him instead. When she woke up yesterday morning, she climbed into bed with me, then spoke just two words. “Where puppy?”

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