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Puppypalooza

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Since the adult-to-kid ratio in my family is severely tilted towards the pint-size set, I often find myself on the losing end.Let me start by saying that I don’t entirely run my house like a democracy and ultimately believe the ones that pay the mortgage get final say, but I’m always open to suggestions. And that’s what got me into trouble in the first place.The trouble I’m referring to runs on four legs, has black and brown fur and comes up just past my ankle. Yes, to add to the mayhem of my new life in a blended family, I conceded to the pleas of all the kids and teens under the roof with and bought a pup. Her name is Ella, she’s a Jack Russell-Chihuahua and coincidentally born the day I left for my honeymoon on February 3. Technically, she’s my youngest son’s dog and was originally promised last year when we needed to get rid of his cat because of allergies. It was a fair compromise and he was willing to wait until this spring for his puppy.So now, in case you’ve lost count, there are seven people and two dogs living under one roof! (The second dog is a three-year-old Shih Tzu that we have joint custody of and get him every second week when we have the girls.) Even though Ella is likely no more than three pounds and by far the littlest of all creatures and humans running around the house, she’s undoubtedly the most demanding and aggressive. From the second her little eyes pop open in the morning until she falls down from exhaustion around 7p.m., she’s a whirling ball of playful energy. Her favourite toys include my coffee table, living room furniture and my slippers, her favourite pastime is chasing dust, making the older dog run for cover and whipping the kids into a frenzy of one part laughter and one part fear for their tender ankles, which she loves biting.Yep, it’s complete mayhem. Right now her and I are in a bit of a tug-of-war in determining who’s the alpha momma, but this is one battle I don’t plan on losing. She’s starting to get it that biting ankles is not acceptable, showing her teeth is not going to intimidate and there are some things best saved for outdoors. With much persistence and possibly even a few lessons at puppy school, I think she’ll get it.Truth be told, for every moment of chaos she brings, there’s harmony. My hope was the pup would get my teenage son away from the Xbox, be a good playmate for the Shih Tzu that is growing more sedentary by the moment, and get the entire family outdoors working towards a common goal of caring for the dogs and enjoying life together. So far, on all accounts, mission accomplished.There’s something about a dog that bring out the best in a family and marks the arrival of spring with a much needed burst of energy.

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