They Call it Puppy Love

by Patti Wigington

Two years ago, we lost our beloved golden Labrador, Tanner, to cancer, leaving us with a single dog, our goofy Retriever mix, Brisco. After Tanner died, Brisco helped fill that dog-shaped hole in our hearts. Then we noticed he was getting kind of lazy. A three-year-old dog probably should be doing dog things – chasing the cats, digging holes in my herb garden, hunting for cheese -- not napping all day. So we figured it was time to be a two-dog house again – we were ready for a second canine companion, and clearly, so was Brisco.

Fast forward to a sunny summer morning at the local Farmer’s Market. The county Humane Society had a display table up – along with two adorable puppies. The pups couldn’t be adopted then and there, but that didn’t matter. The old bait-n-switch had worked, and the next Monday I dragged my husband with me to the animal shelter.

Just to look.

And when we got there just to look, we learned that someone had dropped off a female Blue Tick Coonhound mix and her litter of ten puppies – two of whom had lured me in at the Farmer’s Market. TEN. That’s a lot of puppies. At two and a half months old, they leaped around their kennel, yipping and rolling their plump puppy bellies, scrambling on top of one another, each hoping to be Top Dog.

Nine of them looked like black Labs, but the tenth – and bounciest – looked like a hound dog. With long floppy ears, and big brown paws, he made it clear that we needed to pay more attention to him than anyone else. And we did, and I fell head over heels in love. Two days later, once our adoption paperwork was processed, Bandit came home to be our newest family member.

Brisco welcomed him, and the two of them play non-stop – this is the most exercise Brisco has gotten in ages, and it’s good for him. Bandit is busy learning that we poop OUTSIDE, and that “treat” is a magic word, and that cats are not his friends (at least not yet). We humans are relearning how awesome it is to have two dogs in the house again.

In the three weeks we’ve had him, Bandit has nearly doubled his weight. He’s had his first trip to the emergency room, thanks to a lacerated paw that won him a few stitches, and he’s discovered that tomatoes can be eaten straight from the garden. He’s shredded a Samsung charger cord, and thinks socks are the best toy ever, except for crickets. It’s like opening up your home to a wayward toddler – only there’s less laundry and more fur.

Bandit’s going to be a good dog. He’s learning from Brisco, who is a REALLY good dog, and he’s smart. But more importantly, he’s full of love and silliness and fun, and the boundless joyful energy that one only finds in puppies and kindergarteners. I’ve never had a dog this young, and had no idea what fun it could be.

I’m even willing to sacrifice a few more socks and charger cords in the name of love.


  1. I love Bandit. And Brisco. And I miss Tanner. Okay, yes, I am a complete pushover.

  2. About 3wks ago I went to the County Shelter, I too have a new travel companion.. they said he is a moodle (maltese and poodle) but to me he's a best friend, a cuddle and a walking buddy. Manners are 'almost' gentlemanly like.. we're working on that, but its a wonderful feeling to have a young dog back in my life who can make a grown man get all mushy- heh my husband wasn't with me when I got my Simba aka Baba. Didn't need the negative " you don't need a dog " thing. I wouldn't miss it for the world. There's nothing like unconditional love from a shelter puppy..


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