The day after Thanksgiving — bedeviled by too much turkey and a savvy Internet search conducted by my 25-year-old son (home from Chicago where he works in the indie music business — yes, insanity runs in the family) — we: mother, father, first-born — adopted a baby girl. She was eight pounds, five ounces on the vet’s scale, and we named her Delilah. We watched her with her brothers and sisters, murmered our thanks to her robust parents, oogie-woogied with delight over her big, precious feet, and drove back to Pasadena with our eight-week-old boxer puppy. She’s gorgeous, smells like heaven, has a set of baby teeth like a starving crocodile, and here’s the part where my humiliation nearly overwhelms me: She has a nanny. Make that a nanny and a manny, because mommy must have been off her freaking rocker to think this was going to be manageable without help. I’m a sensible girl, but really, what in the Sam Hill was I thinking?
I’ve had animals all my life. The six months between the passing of our darling dog Emmett at almost fifteen and the arrival of Delilah was the first time I’ve lived without an animal or four in my home. But good gods — I’d forgotten the craziness of training a young, teething puppy. As my son whispered earnestly before winging his way back to Chicago and out of harm’s way, leaving me exhausted and deranged, “She’s so little, Mom… she doesn’t know a single thing.” Yeah, you got that right.
My attempt to crate train my other dogs circa 1993 consisted of my young son and I crouched in the stairwell crying while listening to the puppies cry for three minutes in the crate, and then bringing them upstairs to sleep with him and taking the crate out to the garage. Crate training is a fine idea, but I can’t quite seem to get the part where she hangs out in the crate while I take off to swim, or go up to my office to work on my book, or do any damn thing that does not have me at her urinary, excretory and “I just wanna play” beck and call. Enter the nanny or the manny, depending on who’s scheduled to work that day. I know life will improve immensely when she’s finished her vaccinations and can go out into the world of walks and sniffs and generally be a girl about town. My husband and I can’t wait to get her down to our old stomping ground in the Arroyo — this house- and yard-bound business is nuts.
— Jill Ganon