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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

a growing family

Besides moving into a new home and spending our first holidays together as a married couple, Ivette and I have gone through many changes in the past few months. One of the more happier changes is the addition of a new puppy to our growing brood.

We decided to get another dog for several reasons. One of the reasons was because Ivette has been wanting a new dog for the longest time. I was resistant to the idea because I always felt that we didn't have enough room in our old shoebox apartment. Of course this argument lost its support when we moved into a house.

The final straw was realizing that she was right about another thing; that our first dog Pugsly was in need of something to keep her entertained/occupied/exercised. I eventually capitulated on these grounds, agreeing that a new puppy would be a great thing for Pugsly.

After going through the whole rigamarole of adoption centers, shelters, and rescue groups, we eventually settled on a family-owned kennel in southwest Missouri specializing in bulldogs. There we found Chomsky, a chubby little eight-week old male pup. After about an hour on the phone with a homespun and friendly staff person, Chomsky was on his way to join his new family.

Yes he was expensive, and yes his breed offers more potential health issues down the road. He's also a puppy which means that he poops with complete disregard for human life. He chews on everything, including any and all exposed skin that may happen to be dangling from the couch. And his teeth. He has very sharp puppy teeth. And when I say sharp I mean that one bite from him is enough to trigger a rapidly uncontrollable ascension of the scrote up into the inner pelvic region. Louis Armstrong used to talk about the "blue note" on the trumpet, a note you could only hit by squeezing your buttcheeks together while blowing really hard.* One bite from Chomsky and you've got a symphony on your hands.

Ultimately Chomsky has been a wonderful addition to our family. First there's the Adorable Puppy factor and - while I know that it wears out eventually - I'm an absolute sucker for the smooshed-face, wrinkly adult bulldog look. Pugsly has been thoroughly occupied, entertained, and overall rejuvenated by her new baby brother. My wife is happy and really that's all that I need.

What's surprising me, though, is this sense of inner joy that I feel growing along with my family. Beyond just being another mouth to feed or a non-stop poop machine, this creature really has expanded the joy in our lives. He has given me just a hint of how growing a family can extend my capacity to love and to be loved in return.

*Note: I think I heard this on NPR. But to be sure I did spend about five minutes googling various phrases like, "louis armstrong blue note" and "butt hole blue note" I called a few musician friends and, although they were intrigued, they were clueless. I found something on the brown note, but that is a topic for an entirely different blog.

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