Sometimes, enjoying a puppy is hard.
When I see chewed up socks, a piddle puddle in the middle of the kitchen floor, or a book that I was reading face down in the corner of my bedroom with pages missing from it, I start thinking about why in the world I got a puppy.
Moss, like most border collie puppies, is busy. Very busy. He can be naughty, he can be bad, and he can be downright awful.
He can also be cute as a bug. He loves to play, and I love to watch him play. I find toys for him, and I play tug and fetch and other games with the little 10-week-old terror.
But I don't like puppies. I keep telling myself that, and yet I keep enjoying the little dog more and more every day.
I'm not sure why I am enjoying Moss so much. I have had a lot of puppies over the years, and I can't remember the last time I had this much fun with a little pup. It sure wasn't Len or Peg, and even Jan wasn't as much fun as Moss is.
But I can't figure out why. Maybe it's because Moss is cuter than my other border collies were. Moss has a lot of hair, and that one blue eye gives him personality.
I think it's more than that.
This year has been really tough for me. I have been sick, and have spent time in the hospital, and I am still battling health problems. I lost my little rock, Kate, a couple of months ago, and that really hit me hard.
Len and Peg and Jan love me, I'm sure, but they put themselves first. Peg and Jan exist to run, and Lenny's goal in life is to hassle cats. They think of me as the one who can open doors, and the one who brings home big bags of tasty dog food and treats.
But to Moss, I am fun. I play toys with him, and I throw sticks and balls for him. He is so, so happy to see me in the afternoons when I get home that it humbles me.
Lenny, on the other hand, usually gives me a look like 'where have you been, I need to hassle some cats.' Peg and Jan yap until I let them out to run, and then I cease to exist for a while to them. Until they are ready to come back in and get their nightly treats.
I love my dogs, all of them. I laugh at Lenny, and enjoy watching Peg and Jan run like greyhounds. I miss them when I'm away from them, and they are a huge part of my life.
But for the first time in a long time, I'm enjoying a puppy. The bad things -- the chewing, the piddling, the biting -- pale in the comparison to the trust, love and happiness that I see in Moss' eyes when I get home.
I hope that the little guy doesn't grow up too fast. I'm having too much fun.
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.