When I first meet Peggy the pup, she’s curled up on her owner’s shoulder.
“She so sweet!” I gush.
“She’s half asleep,” her owner replies sagaciously.
We negotiate and I agree to go over during the day to let Peggy out and play with her while her owners are at work. I’ve never had my own dog, but I love them and Peggy is a cute with huge eyes and black and white coloring. I am firmly convinced that we are going to be best friends. After all, that’s what happens in all the Disney movies I’ve ever seen.
So I go over and take her out of her pen and she licks me in gratitude.
Good start, I think, and show her a sock. “Want to play tug of war?”
Peggy cocks her head at me, her large dark eyes glistening. She’s only a few weeks old and her teeth are brand new. She’s dying to try them out on everything.
She nips at my fingers, but I pull them out of the way in time. “No, Peggy. We don't bite Arney. We bite the sock.”
She looks at the sock, she looks at my fingers, and then she looks at me. I wave the sock and she jumps for it. We play tug of war for a few moments, but it quickly turns into a battle of wits. She tugs on the sock, let’s go, grabs again, and repeats. As she’s lulling me into a sense of security, she jumps higher until she is within an inch of my finger.
I’m not accustomed to puppy mind games. It’s not until she actually bites at my hand that I realize what she’s doing.
“Hey!” I shout. “No biting!”
As I chastise her, she runs in a circle and barks. When we play tug of war with a rawhide, she employs the same trick and grabs for my fingers again.
I decide that a little cold shoulder is needed, so I stand and walk a few steps away. I am gratified when she comes running and starts sniffing at my sandals. I am less gratified when she starts biting my toes.
“Peggy!” I wail and jump back.
We spend an hour like this, Peggy chewing, me protesting, Peggy trying to bite me in reply. When I open my laptop, she tries to eat the keyboard. As I type, she chews on the wristwatch I’m wearing. I put her off and she goes for the belt loop on my shorts instead. When I put her on the floor, she starts chewing on her owner’s slipper. I pull it away and she starts chewing on my sandal again. When I try to pet her, she rolls around and tries to catch me with her powerful little jaws.
Eventually, I have to go home, so I pick her up and swiftly put her in her pen. She tries to grab a finger, but her aim is so far off the mark that I laugh.
“Hah! Thought you had me there, didn’t you?”
I grab her dish and head upstairs to fill it with water. It’s been a long hour and I’m tired. I want to sit in a place where the occupants aren’t trying to eat me. As I go, thought, I hear a funny sound – a hiccupping, sad little puppy bark. When I come back with the water, Peggy is standing on her hind legs, looking at me mournfully. She rubs against my arm as I lower the dish into her pen.
“You’re leaving?” she seems to say.
I hasten to reassure her. “I’ll be back tomorrow, Peggy.”
I’m a sucker for puppy eyes, so I stroke her and croon, “Poor little thing.”
She looks up at me adoringly – and almost gets my thumb this time.
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