Thursday, April 20, 2017

All's Quiet on the Midwestern Front

When all is quiet on the Midwestern front, I'm a nervous wreck. Back in the day, you know, before we had puppies, I craved silence. While I still love me some peace and quiet, I find that now it just makes me jumpy. Silence is not golden while raising puppies. If Bristol and Sam are in the house, I know I should be hearing something at all times.

When the puppies are eating, I hear crunching. When they are playing, I hear growling, and loud thumps and bumps when they run into furniture or hit the floor. When they are moving from room to room, I hear dog tags jingling. Even when they're sleeping, it's not quiet. Bristol snores loud enough for the both of them. There should never, ever be silence at Chez Bennorth when puppies are present.

Hard to believe this pup is loud, even when he sleeps, isn't it?
Maybe not.

So when I hear nothing, I panic a little. Whenever I realize I haven't heard a sound, I no longer breathe a sigh of relief, and relax into the quiet. No, I become hyper-alert, straining my ears to determine where the puppies are, and what they are doing. If the house is silent, it is rarely because they are sleeping peacefully because seriously, the snoring of the big, grey galoot is loud. So I am pretty certain I will find them on the no-no furniture, or in the only room we don't want them to enter, getting into some sort of trouble. 

What could they possibly do? Let me tell you. Destroy Chuck's slippers. Eat houseplants. Scatter dirt from said houseplants. Jump on our queen-sized air mattress. (Could they also pop it? Chuck wonders.) Jump up on the bay window. Use your imagination. I do. 

Bristol is a big bruiser, and there isn't a cardboard box big enough to stop him from getting where he wants to go, and he generally wants to go into our makeshift bedroom, formerly known as the family room. That wouldn't be such a big deal, but that is the room the puppies nearly destroyed on the fateful day of the THE GREAT ESCAPE. I just don't want a repeat performance of a shredded houseplant, chewed up slippers, things knocked over, and puppy accidents galore. So we work very hard to keep them out of there, but so far, without much success.

Before you suggest baby gates, let me tell you one thing I love about our house. We have an open floor plan. I'm going to tell you something I hate about our house, too. That dang open floor plan. It makes it tough to close off any area to marauding puppies. But we've tried.

We have lined up a couch and an end table to blockade the open space between the kitchen and our new bedroom. There is a gap, though, and we keep trying to figure out how to make it puppy-proof. 

We've used the boxes that contained their dog crates, reinforced with a heavy container of puppy kibble. I've booby-trapped the box so that their metal food bowls will clatter to the ground when they push the box aside to sneak through. In an ideal world, that should work, right? They are tricky. The bowls have only fallen once, and I've caught them in there too many times to count. 

We have an elaborate system of boxes all over the house to keep the pups where we want them. Boxes used to block the hallway, but that set-up became obsolete within a few weeks of the puppies' arrival. They just nosed their way through the boxes and chair. 

Chuck has placed huge cardboard boxes on the furniture we are keeping off-limits to canines. "I love what you've done with the place," I told him. He just grinned. I can't fault him for trying. My big dilemma is where to hide our supply of huge boxes when company comes to visit. First world problems...

The sound of silence only means trouble right now. One day, there's that phrase again, I won't have to worry about their destroying furniture or rooms, but for now, I will choose puppy noises over silence, because when all is quiet on this Midwestern front, I know I have to find Bristol and Sam fast before they do something I'll regret. Prevention is key!

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