One weekend, they take me to meet my “grandparents.” We take a 20 minute drive and they lead me into a house that smells like Dad. A small woman, about Mom’s size, greets me.
There’s also a large man who is surprisingly gentle with me.
I like them.
Mom leads me across an expanse of wood and tile floor.
Really? Do I have to? You know I’m scared of this…
“Oh, what’s wrong?”
“She’s afraid of the floor. It’s OK, we’ll get her across.”
“Come on, Gracie. Come on, baby girl!”
Ohh… OK… I guess…
I make it to a large carpeted room. There are couches and a TV, but a lot of open space in the center of the room. I like it!
“We got some presents for Gracie.”
“Aww, thank you. You didn’t have to.”
The woman opens a bag and pulls out a soft toy, a ball, and a bone shaped rubbery thing that squeaks. She shows them to me. I sniff them.
“She doesn’t know how to play yet.”
“She doesn’t? How come?”
“They don’t have toys at the track.”
“Oh, that is terrible!”
“Hey, let’s try this.”
Mom takes the soft toy, which is long and narrow, squeaks it, and tosses it. Instinct kicks in and I jump up, pounce on it, and bite it. They all laugh.
Do you like that? I can do more… Like this!
I pounce and bite the toy a few more times. They laugh each time. Then I find a comfy spot and curl up.
But there’s someone else there. A small male person. He looks like a child and behaves like one. But I sense he is full-grown, although stunted. There is something wrong, but he is not sick. He is afraid of me. I try to sniff at him.
“Stop that. Stay right there.”
A strange voice, unlike any other human voice I’ve heard.
“It’s OK, Jason. She won’t hurt you.”
I get the hint. He’s very strongly rejecting my advances. I walk away and lie down again.
“See? She’s a nice dog. Why don’t you pet her?”
“Pshh. Nice dog. You pet her for me.”
They all laugh.
We spend a pleasant evening together. We eat and watch TV and I play a little. This is a good life.
* * * * *
In time, I learn that the other people, the ones that are Mom’s relatives, are my “grandparents” too. The high voice woman is “Grandma” and the man with hair on his face is “Grandpa.” I learn that “Grandma,” despite her annoying voice (she only talks that way to me), loves me a lot and always gives me treats. So I deal with the annoying voice. It’s the love that matters.
Mom takes me to her parents’ home frequently, and I grow accustomed to the house and my “grandparents” habits.
Mom and Dad occasionally have guests at their home. Each human that they introduce me to is kind to me. Some are very happy to meet me and lavish attention on me. Others are less enthusiastic. But they are all kind. I never have a reason to be afraid in my new home.
Eventually I meet many friends and relatives of Mom and Dad. My favorite is a little boy, one of Dad’s relatives.
His name is Noah. He smells like Dad. He’s small and very energetic. The first time I meet him, he comes to my home with his parents, who are very kind and gentle people.
He hides behind his father and looks at me. I wag my tail and sniff in his direction.
Hello, little boy! I’m friendly. I won’t hurt you, I promise!
He steps out from behind his father and tentatively reaches out his hand. I sniff it and wag my tail some more. A huge smile spreads over his face.
“Hi doggy! Hi sweetie-baby!”
He pets me, stroking my head and neck. I sniff him some more and he giggles. I’m in love.
Noah comes to visit fairly often, with and without his parents. He even sleeps over. Mom loves him a lot – the way a mother loves her child. She watches Noah and I together. When she has to leave the room she tells Dad to watch us.
“I don’t think they’d hurt each other, but just to be safe…”
Mom, I’d never hurt him! He’s my friend. I love him.
He can tell me to do anything and I’ll do it for him. He laughs when I try to pounce on his toys. He gives me treats and hugs me. It’s wonderful. I’ve never spent time with a child before. Children are another wonderful thing I’m learning about in my new life. They are so full of life and joy.
When spring comes, we go to the park with Noah. This is the most fun of all. We run and play in the grass under the sunshine. We race, and Dad and I let Noah “win” the race. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t told you about SNOW.