Little Who Two
My five year-old loves his position as the baby of the family, but since Roscoe came, is glorying in finally being bigger than someone. "We could call him Little Who Two," he suggested, on the night the Christmas puppy arrived. Little Who One has scarcely put him down since. In spite of Roscoe growing at an alarming rate of 100 per cent a week, he lugs him everywhere: to the food dish, to the chew toys, to bed. He runs a kind of frantic interference between the puppy and Lucy, our calico cat, who is so far unamused, and has left strategically placed poops telegraphing her deep displeasure.
Our dautweiler, Fanny, is mostly an outdoor dog, with a fenced yard, a heated shelter and a daily walk. She is not a good family pet, but I don't feel like I can make her anyone else's problem either. I have a foolish hope that the puppy might calibrate her pack instincts, and integrate her more into our lives.
"Santa's bringing you a baby," I told her, on our walks leading up to Christmas. She wagged her tail.
On Christmas morning, and most days since, I let her and Roscoe have a little supervised bonding time. Roscoe is way more into Fanny than she is into him.
"Why do you keep bringing me this dog?" she seems to say, jumping up on me with a slightly panicked grin and crazy eyes.
So much for an adoptive mother for Roscoe. A deranged aunt, maybe.
Patrick, whose big idea this was, is staying true to his word that he would be the primary caregiver. "Your dog needs to go out," I say, and off he goes into the cold pre-dawn without a word. "Your dog left you a little something on your office floor," I tell him, and he duly gets up and fetches the paper towels. The boys help too. It's nice. I feel like a father from the fifties. There's nothing for me to do but chuck the puppy under the chin when he's looking cute.