The Big Ball of Happy – a.k.a. Logan – arrived quietly enough. In fact, we thought he was mute. We were so used to hearing the craziness of Zeta barking at everything that we simply couldn’t understand how a puppy with so much energy was so silent!
That Dexter was lonely without his big sister did not mean he had any interest in getting a younger brother. But Hubby needed a new companion. He found one via Craig’s List. “Arfus” was young puppy that had been adopted as a therapy dog for a family with an Autistic son. Great plan, except that they found out rather quickly that said son was allergic to dogs. So sad for that young boy!
Quick side note (read: rant). How people name their animals? Arfus?? No way. That was not going to stand, and he was renamed Logan about five minutes after he got in the car. I had a cat once that came to me named “Christabell. Seriously, Christabell? At a minimum, he needed a boy’s name. He was renamed Bubba, also known as “Bub-butthead,” because… well, because he was a butthead. Zeta got her name because that’s the last letter in the Spanish alphabet, and I thought she was “the last damned animal we need in the house.” Famous last words! As I noted many chapters ago, Dexter was named after Cary Grant’s character in Philadelphia Story – C.K. Dexter Haven. My current sweetie Gabby was named after a favorite character I played on stage (Hedda Gabbler). Maybe not great names, but they were at least literary and definitely better than ARFUS for crying out loud!
Logan is half Red Heeler and half Chocolate Lab. Not that you’d know there was any Chocolab in him. He came to us nearly all white, with red ears and a few spots. He’s turned into an exceptionally handsome boy, with long, wolf-like legs and a multitude of spots all over. If you squint real hard you can see that he is shaped, like a lab and has a lab head and face. Like a lab he is open and friendly, kind and sensitive. But like I say, he was quiet – very UNLIKE a lab. But that did NOT mean he was sedate. In fact, even for a PUPPY he was energetic. Perhaps I’d forgotten just how much work a puppy could be? Back on the up-every-two-hours cycle, hiding the valuables, and lots and lots of play time.
Early on, my brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to let the pups stay with them while we went out of town. It’s almost impossible to dislike Logan, but when we returned I thought I heard some sort of tone in my brother’s voice when he called Logan a “Big Ball of Happy.”
Dexter was not amused. He was grieving his sister. He was an “older” dog (having just turned seven) and didn’t expend a ton of energy. He had no interest in fighting for food, or toys, or more importantly attention.
But puppies are good for the soul, and The Big Ball of Happy took our collective minds off of the Season of Loss. Unfortunately, the Season had continued. In fact, just a couple of weeks after Zeta passed, I lost a dear member of my family. An uncle who in many ways served as my father figure throughout my life passed quite suddenly after seemingly winning a battle against lung cancer. It was another devastating blow.
So the manic energy of a puppy was a welcome relief from the grief that weighed heavily on my heart. Annoying, often exhausting, but helpful.
It took weeks for Dexter to accept Logan into his pack. He was five times bigger than this upstart kid vying for everyone’s love, and he let Logan know it. Just one gigantic paw on Logan’s head would stop Logan’s mania, if only for a moment. But Logan was originally meant to be a therapy dog, and his sweet, kind soul was so overwhelming that eventually even Dexter succumbed to his charms. They became buddies.
In fact, eventually we even caught Dexter playing with Logan. This was not something he had done much in his adult life and so it was a joyous moment when we caught him frolicking the first time! Letting Logan bounce off of him, hopping around, just generally looking like he was having fun…. it was a wonderful thing to see.
Not a great video, but here’s proof that a big, structurally-challenged dog in the throes of grief can do a little jig with his new best friend:
So, for a few weeks we settled into a new normal – one filled with the joyous insanity of puppy-dom. All of us healed a little bit, our grief held at bay by the Big Ball of Happy.
And then the bottom completely dropped out.