I’ve been trying to think of ways to write about my new Shih-Tzu puppies, littermates Hyphen (boy) and Sash (girl), without being one of those annoying bloggers going e-googly over his pets, but in reality it’s hard to figure out what I even want to say. It’s difficult to put into words how it feels to suddenly be caring for something tiny and only recently alive, so utterly dependent and so fiercely stubborn. When they lie on their backs and kick like babies as we stroke their fat little bellies, it elicits an unexpectedly paternal feeling. I feel like a mother dog with her ears pricked up whenever they yelp (usually while roughhousing) or do something they shouldn’t. Or do exactly what they're supposed to...GOOD BOY! GOOD GIRL! [Insert stock footage of hand offering treat.]
I have noticed there are a lot of lessons to be learned from this brand-new experience (today was their ninth DAY with us), many metaphors. They’re teaching me about time-management, about what really matters to me (not only them, but their pressing needs have helped to push some driftwood aside), about justice (try refereeing) and about simple joy.
Pictures I’ve taken of them suggest different things for me—one, of them running like nothing else in life matters, called to mind the movement to free Tibet since their breed originates in that oppressed country.
But as far as metaphors go, the most important thing I’ve had to figure out pretty quickly is that whatever the puppies might mean to me on a deeper level, regardless of what they’ll bring to my life over time, puppies make lousy metaphors because there is no time to ponder when one is hungry, barking, in distress or searching for a far-away, inappropriate place to poop.