Oh she’s pretty adorable no doubt about it. I haven’t written in a while becasue she’s so adorable. She starts being adorable at some pretty interesting times. 3 a.m. , the first night, missing her familiar digs, no doubt. The next night we made it till 4 a.m., then 4;45 a.m., 5 a.m. and the last couple of mornings she has made it to 6:08 a.m. I’ll take it! One of the things I wanted to learn from our little puppy was to get up early again. When I first retired I found I could not sleep later than I’d been used to when I was working and after all those years of dragging myself out of bed in the dark and rushing out of the house to go to work I really wanted to sleep in. Well I finally got used to it, and now I want to get back to being an early riser. What better things to train yourself than a new puppy. Sausi the Puppy is up for the task. I wake up at the slightest whimper- we keep her crated next to our bed and you really want to take care of little things. They’re so little and cute and soft. They smell like puppies. I bounce out of bed and get dressed and then open the crate door and pick her up squirming and licking and just delighted to see me. We head down stairs. I keep her in one hand down the stairs, then cuddle her as we head out. Once we’re in the yard I put her down and say, “Pee, Sausi” and she pees. And I praise her and we start our tour of the yard. We have about a two acre field which I’m filling up with stuff, so we take the tour. She is starting to poop in the woods off to the left as we walk along toward the shipping container corner. And she’ll pee again a time or two. We walk around the back where I have a couple of boats, a boat trailer, a few piles of lumber, stuff from our barn in Connecticut that I couldn’t fit in the shipping container, my little outdoor dojo. If it’s dry I will sit on my weight bench and let her explore while I just take in the morning. We planted some fruit trees last week, Sausi and I, so we look at those.
I look at the deck for the barn I am starting. I look at the dory I’m about done with, and the dingy, and the catboat I have to start on. It looks good to me.
Sausi explores. She chews. I like it outside because she can chew about anything. In the house you can chase her. No, not the couch. No not my toes. No not the table cloth. I hate to tell her no because she doesn’t understand yet. I’m trying to be kind all the time and when she attacks your feet it is hard. I pick her up and say, “Did you temporarily forget that we don’t attack our daddy?” I put her down and try to distract her with a rope or a rag or a ball. I will pick her up four or five times sometimes. I feel like a character in a Randall Jared story I read a long time ago about a man newly hired on as foreman of a ranch and the crew is giving him an awful hard time and he just keep being gentle, but strong and eventually wears them all down to where they respect him, and he hadn’t had to be a bastard. I often wonder what would happen if we were all more gentle, but strong. Can the world work without violence? Walk softly but carry a big stick? I did swat Sausi one afternoon. I was really tired from having been up extra early and I was working on a baot ans Suzy just kept yelling. “No.” Sauzi, no!” so many times I couldn’t take it. I walked over and yelled “Sausi!” and swatted her little fanny. She retreated instantly to her little safe spot in the lawn under the newer bathtub we intend to install one of these day and curled up. I worried for an hour over whether I’d ruined our pup. When I finished painting I went over to cuddle and talk. She licked me and was happy. I think about how many abused women, and men, too, there are in the world who get hit and then cuddled. It gets confusing. Love and violence?, Conditional love. Love with yelling? I don’t want that. I want to try kindness.
I hit our son once. He was just a little kid- two maybe and was being a pisser. We put him on the stair for a time out and he didn’t stop. I was tired, of course. Parenting isn’t easy. If you could get enough sleep it still wouldn’t be easy, but you never get enough sleep when they’re little. I said to him, “Do I have to get firm with you?” You know, the big man threatening a kid who weighs about ten percent of what I did.
He said, and I give him credit for this, “Yes.”
So I swatted his fanny. One quick shot. On the diaper. But it startled the hell out of him. He sat in his time out nicely after that. I was about sick over it. I swore I would never hit him again. And I haven’t, except one day when he was getting his green belt in Kung Fu and I already had my green belt at Tae Kwan Do and we were sparring. We each got in a hit or two. He got me good in the shoulder or neck or something and asked if I was alright. I was. I was also impressed. Kindness and gentleness are important strengths. We have damn few examples of that going around these days.
We’ll try to do right by our puppy. Little Sausi, the sassy Aussie from Sausalito.