I can’t say I automatically loved him at first sight because I already had one dog, Jewel, and she and I were a team. We liked out lives together. While I was at work, she made herself busy harassing the cats and ripping up the occasional magazine. Breakfast, work, a walk in the neighborhood when I got home, followed by me throwing the ball and her not bringing it back. Then dinner, and snuggle time on the couch while watching tv, followed by bed. She had her own side of the bed. She had her own pillow. Bring a puppy into this? Why ruin a good thing?
But puppies open their eyes and get bigger and morph into fat little clumsy balls of silky, soft fur. He no longer had elf ears. In fact, his ears were getting quite long – and his paws were getting big. And because he had a crooked tail, he couldn’t be a show dog. Finally, this one, the smallest of his brothers, climbed over all of them to get to my lap. When you are that little it’s practically climbing Mt. Erebor. I was smitten.
So I would be getting a puppy for the first in my life. All my other dogs have been rescues because I am what’s know in the business as a “foster failure”. And with the new puppy came the inevitable argument with my mum about what to name him. It was the “royalty”litter. The puppies were supposed to be named after royalty. Thorin? What kind of name is that? If you take him to obedience or rally or agility, no one will know who “Thorin” is. Bonus: the breeder watched The Hobbit and named his brother Kili and Fili ( sadly Kili died).
Fast forward to June. It turns out that one of my mother’s friends from the local dog club once raised and showed Irish Wolfhounds. Her kennel name? Oakenshield. Ha! Ringers are everywhere! There are geeks my mother’s age who know exactly who Thorin is! Besides. I already have a dog named Jewel, and Thorin has fabulous long dark hair. This puppy has long dark eats and his fur is coming in gray. It was meant to be.
As it turned out, he was a blessing in disguise because the first night I took him out into this yard for one last piddle before bedtime, there was a man hiding in the shadows in the honeysuckle. I couldn’t see him because the floodlights were in my eyes, but he saw the three of us coming, jumped the fence, and took off running.
This was Thorin’s first night in his new home- sadly confined to a small elvish prison to keep him from chewing up pillows and electrical wires. He watched his namesake for quite a while.
We’ve had lots of firsts: The first time he tried to hump Jewel at three months old. The first time Jewel pinned him belly-up for being a relentless heathen brat – and sent him squealing between my legs for safety. The first time climbing the stairs without help, and first time leaping into the comfy chair. The first time making it onto the couch, and the first time lifting a leg to pee. The first time gong to the vet’s office and the first time shamelessly flirting with the office staff.
On Monday we celebrated the first time he was tall enough to reach something on the counter and rip it to shreds, although he tells me there were elves on the counter and he had to fight them off.
Today Thorin is seven months old. His feathers are coming in gray and he can almost put both paws on my shoulders when he jumps up (which he’s not allowed to do, but, damn! He’s so handsome!)
Happy birthday, Thorin Oakenpuppy.