It is a sunny October afternoon, and sun filters through the picture windows that make up the north facing wall of the great room.
I find the Furry One in his usual spot on the plush sofa. He lounges on his side, his head and a paw dangling off the edge. His eyes are closed, but when he senses my approach, they pop open, and he is alert.
We both turn our heads toward the foyer when we hear the approaching sounds of scampering feet and joyful yips, followed by a fruitless chorus of no-no’s.
Furry pushes his slightly overweight body to a sitting position, leans back into the couch and heaves a weary sigh, “Puppies,” he declares with a droop of his shiny black fur covered head.
I have come today to interview Furry about the turmoil that entered his life last month when his family returned home with a tiny white Maltese that he has come to know as The Fluffy One. He shakes his head again, and we begin.
Stiletto Momma: Tell me how it’s been.
Furry One: I haven’t had a decent nap in a month. I used to wake up, go outside, mark my territory, come back in, do a little treat-begging performance, nap for a few hours, then do it all over again. I was up to about eight solid naps a day.
Momma: Wow! That’s some professional-caliber napping. What happened?
Furry: Fluffy is what happened. *sigh*
Just then a fluffy ball with four legs zips into the room, and stops at the floor below Furry’s seat. Between frantic flips of a long flowing tail, I can just make out Fluffy’s big brown eyes and pink tongue.
Fluffy: Furry! Furry! I’m back from my walk. I’m back from my walk. Did you miss me? Did ya? Did ya? Furry?
Furry: See what I mean?
Momma: Yes. She certainly is…um…energetic.
Furry: She’s crazy!
Fluffy: What’s “crazy” mean, Furry? Furry? Furry?
Fluffy high jumps from the floor to the couch directly to Furry’s left.
Furry: Seriously, how am I supposed to take a nap with this noise going on all day. It doesn’t stop!
He stands and gingerly lowers himself to the floor.
Furry: I’m ten years old. These are my golden years. My job was to protect my boy when he was younger, but now that he’s grown up and moved to that obedience school at West Point, I’m retired. I should be able to sleep when I want to without being interrupted.
Momma: I can understand that. It’s a big change. Let’s talk about how Fluffy came to be here. She’s a shelter dog, isn’t she?
Furry: Yeah, that’s about the only good thing that’s come from this. She was a stray. Someone just dropped her off on the side of the road one day, as if that five pounds of fluff could really fend for herself. Now, THAT makes me mad. Can you imagine how scared she must have been, and all because someone didn’t realize a puppy is a lot of work or some breeder thought she was too small. I’d like to take her previous owners out to the middle of nowhere with no food and no water, and tell them, “You were cute once, but I don’t want you anymore. Good luck getting out of here alive. Bye.”
Momma: You were a shelter dog too, right?
Furry: That’s right. I was just a pup like Fluffy. That was a scary time–not knowing when I’d get another meal or a warm bed. I survived, but you have to have some street smarts to keep it together in a shelter. It’s no place for a dog like Fluffy. I mean, just look at her….
He points with his nose to the spot beside him where Fluffy is spinning in quick frantic circles.
Fluffy: Furry, look! A big hairy monster is chasing me! But don’t worry. I’m gonna get it! I’m gonna get it! I’m gonna get it this time!
Furry: That’s your tail, Fluffy. Stop it! You’re embarrassing yourself!
Momma: Have you been showing her the ropes since she got here?
Furry: *sigh* I do what I can. Oh! There she goes again! It’s the Fluffy 500. You might want to move out of the way.
I jump to a vacant recliner as Furry bounds back to the couch, then we watch as the Fluffy One sprints around the room, weaving between the furniture as fast as her little legs will carry her.
Momma: There has to be something good about Fluffy coming to your family.
Furry: Well, maybe.
He’s quiet while he thinks and watches Fluffy throw a knotted and holey sock in the air.
Furry: I do kinda like that I don’t have to be alone anymore. I don’t like it when my people leave me by myself. It’s a big house, and sometimes when it’s just me here, I think about being left alone before I had this family. At least now I have someone to lay down with when they’re away. I had a brother once, and that’s how it was back then. He was the dog who was with my family when they adopted me. I miss him since he went to the Rainbow Bridge. He used to yell at me too…a lot!
He smiles at the memory.
Momma: Why did he yell at you?
Furry: Oh, lots of reasons. Mostly it was because I was a puppy and wanted to play. I used to take that sock…
He points to Fluffy’s current plaything.
Furry: …and throw it in his face. Ha! Ha! He’d get so mad at me. First, he’d growl. Then he’d throw it right back at me, and we’d each take an end and pull and shake! That was the best time!
Momma: How long has he been gone?
Furry: Five years. That’s a long time in dog years. I remember when…What the…!
Furry has been interrupted by a flying sock flung from Fluffy’s playful antics. It lands a paw’s length away from Furry’s nose. Fluffy stops and stares tentatively at Furry.
Furry: That’s not how you do it. You don’t throw it by the end. You have to get in the middle. Then you throw it. Like this.
He lets the old blue sock fly. It meets its mark on Fluffy’s back. She turns several circles before pulling it back to the floor, then tosses it back to Furry just as he taught her. She plops her bottom to the floor and wags her tail, waiting for his reaction.
Furry: You know, you might not be so bad after all, Fluffy…That was pretty good, but I bet I can beat you in tug of war….
Yips and playful growls echo down the hall as today’s lesson in puppy tough love continues.
Love your puppies, and please adopt from your local shelter!
**This post was written for the WordPress Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: Something Different, where bloggers were challenged to write in a different style. As you can see, I traded in my usual story-teller style for that of a magazine interviewer. I’ve been pondering how best to introduce my readers to the newest addition to the family–the Fluffy One. This challenge gave me the perfect outlet, and let me flex my creativity with the story from the Furry One’s perspective. Check out the DPChallenge for more out-of-the-box posts.