Norman Visits

Late last year I had the brainstorm that what we really needed in our lives was a dog. Our first grandchild had arrived six months earlier, and it had been nine years since our beloved King Charles Cavalier, Toby, had passed; and now was the time I thought.

Norman arrived in November, about a month old, a beautiful brown, orange, and white cavalier. My daughters arranged for the purchase, and I arranged the financing while the mermaid and I were away on a trip. When we came home, we launched the surprise. Love quickly turned into, “what the hell are we going to do with the dog?” I had to admit I overreached on this one. A six-month trial proved that babies crawling and puppies teething don’t go well together. So, we found a new home for Norman, one with loving new parents who agreed that we could be Norman’s grandparents and watch him when they went on vacation.

Well, that day finally arrived, and we were overjoyed to see the little munchkin dog again. He remembered us, and his first love, my little mermaid. We introduced Norman back to baby Rowan, who is now running around giving orders, speaking in mermaid tongues, and generally being hilarious. They immediately took to each other, one chasing the other, then reversing and the other chasing the one. There was licking, giggling and more order giving. Turns out six months makes a difference with puppies and babies. My timing was a little off initially, but my heart was in the right spot. These two were fast friends. Our time together was short, only a week, but hopefully this will become a regular thing.

Norman’s new parents have done a terrific job. He is well trained, something I could never do. He listens, sits patiently and is just a beautiful little dog. What can I say, I’m a proud dog-grandparent! When everyone went to bed, Norman and I stayed up to watch baseball and Netflix; we both root for the Yankees and we like the same shows. We took long walks on the beach along the top of the dunes. He reminded me why I love Fall with its blooming goldenrods, which attract butterflies, finches, and bees. He walks along as I peer out over the Atlantic and watch the waves roll gently in as he tugs at the leash in with youthful enthusiasm. Pure joy, dogs are really man’s (and woman’s) best friend!

When I was a young boy reading Jack London’s White Fang or Call of the Wild, or even Old Yeller, I always wanted a dog, but two things stood in my way. One, we lived in a four room “railroad apartment,” and two, I was afraid of dogs! Turns out the second one was harder to overcome than the first. My mom had dogs, but they were hers, not the family’s. The first was a black poodle, not exactly the “wolf” I had envisioned. The second was a West Highland terrier, and he was too much wolf for me to handle, as terriers are really bold and aggressive and I was a scaredy-cat! When our family got Toby, my oldest daughter rightfully noted that he was more human than dog. My son treated him like the brother he never had. I was mostly ambivalent.

Norman changed all that. Our visit was a short one, but he is in my heart, I know he is with great parents, and as a dog-grandparent, I can’t wait to see him again!

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