How Much is that Doggie in the Picture?

On September 19, 2017

Puppies in a litter.

Online again staring at pictures of puppies. I bounce from one website to another—from shelters to breeders, to private sellers, beginning in my home state of California then beyond. Google offers up puppies of every color, size, breed and cross-breed, each with their own unique traits and temperaments. Years ago, I had a Maltese, Tashi Delek, a book present to myself following the publication of The Tibetan Book of Elders. Since then, I learned that many breeders have found that crossing Maltese with other breeds strengthened the line and eliminated certain health problems. I pore over pictures of various Maltese mixes: Shih tzu, Bichon Frise, Yorkie, Poodle…I stop at a stunner, a photo of Maltipoo puppies, six of them lined up like a shelf of stuffed animals in a toy store. My heart skips a beat. I read on. It’s explained that these puppies are first generation crosses from pedigreed bloodlines with flawless health histories. Each are sooo insanely adorable it’s not fair.

I scroll down to the reviews of people who had adopted these adorables over the past few years and contacted those who were willing to talk about their experience, explaining that I was really just window shopping. People raved and gushed and sent me recent pictures of their pups. I was sorry I asked. Adorables don’t come cheap, I learn; on top of that, there’s the shipping cost, plus the care and feeding and training and all the puppy paraphernalia. Out of my price range at the moment.

My stepdaughter Debbie, herself an animal lover, had been following my puppy dreams, looking at the pictures I kept sending and reading the descriptions. Little did I know that all along she had been conspiring with my three sons. Then right around Mother’s Day, the call came and the three of them were on the line. Suddenly it was Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Next Birthday, and Happy Everything Forever! In a few months, a new litter would be ready and one of those insanely adorable doggies in the picture would be mine!

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