(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

Ever wonder how that puppy thing is working out for me? Did getting a puppy allow me to feel confident to solve not only my problems, but also those of the world outside my home? Maybe not, but the puppy solution has had a lot of benefits for me.

I realize that you have not heard me at my happiest lately. It’s true. And maybe that’s almost totally tied to the fact that a Trina restricted in her movements is one cranky Trina. All problems appear bigger from the lens I can reach just sitting on my butt!

As Marge in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure told Pee Wee, “Everyone I know has a big but.”

So instead of those buts, I want to talk about what’s really working. And that’s adopting our puppy Furgus and rescue dog Sam in the same week.

As much as I understand that my road trip to get Furgus likely is what stopped me in my literal tracks with the hip/back injury, I am pretty sure that I was heading toward that injury sooner or later. On good days I’ve realized that it’s positive that I became aware of the imbalances before I permanently damaged my hips or lumbar. I still have time to realign as well as adjust my gait—I have been able to do consistent short runs/jogs that always make my injury site feel better, whether right afterwards or later in the day. And that helps me to have more energy to share with my dogs.

Yes, dogs—puppies, especially—are a lot of work. We’ve had too many vet visits already. And the group and individual training sessions, as well as our own training, take a lot of time and effort.

Then there are the rugs and floors . . . the dogs don’t need to be brushed much because they roll off their extra hair as they wrestle. The daily puppy smack-downs between Furgus and Sam leave an incredible amount of hair, especially on the rugs.

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

After that relatively brief eight week period this spring when I appreciated how little hair and dirt follow a 15-pound old dachshund—even a long-haired one—I still would tell you the mess and chaos of adding our English Springer Spaniels is worth it just to live in the presence of their happy natures.

Furgus, especially, is an optimist. He is the only dog we’ve ever had who has no trauma in his/her background. Duncan had open-heart surgery and lived in the hospital until he came home with Sherman. Chelsea was chained in her back yard and quite likely beaten. Fordham had been through three other homes before he made us his forever family. And, Sam? We don’t know. He left his previous family after six months and who knows what happened before then.

Furgus acts with the certainty that he is loved and that life will be good. As frustrating as that can be when I am struggling to instill who the real boss is, it is refreshing. He can’t imagine why a person or dog wouldn’t want to be around him. When he got his first ear infection, his howls at the vet’s seemed to be saying he didn’t think this sort of thing could happen to him.

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

And Sam. Sam is cautious until we open our arms and then he runs full force into our love. We have encountered a couple surprising frustrations with Sam, but his essentially gentle spirit is well worth nurturing into trust. His joyful willingness to go along with all of Furgus’ puppy-like actions—and that’s saying a lot—demonstrates a pure acceptance of others’ foibles that he also shares towards us.

No, getting these puppies has been the exact right salve we need for healing from our previous losses, even though they add to our workloads.

I am happier for having them as part of our family. They’ve been here with me during some pretty dark storms and they love me anyway. How much more will we enjoy our time together when they discover the runs and long hikes in our shared future.

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

Oh no, in a year that so far has provided more loss than gain, my biggest gains have come from Furgus and Sam. While it’s true that puppies can’t end the effects of the U.S. budget crisis or even heal my hip faster, what they can do is allow me to grab my happiness minute to minute throughout each day, one or two close encounters of the canine kind at a time.