Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

by Gina Ardito

Meet Zoe. She's a five-month-old cocker spaniel pup, and the recent addition to our household. 

Now, bear in mind, I already have two cats and a fifteen-year-old Labrador retriever so I was not in the market for another pet. But when my daughter began working at a local animal shelter, the photos started bombarding my cell phone. "Look how cute! Don't you want one?" I resisted the beagles, the terriers, the adorable Yorkie mix named Pixel. But when she sent me a photo of a four-month-old pup named Lily Rose, my heart melted. And she knew it. After all, she was the one who bought me my favorite Disney characters on a sweater, a purse, and on DVD: Lady and the Tramp. To have my very own Lady dog? Yes, please!

I should probably mention that this same daughter swindled me into getting the Labrador fifteen years ago by naming her Kismet (after my historical series). So you think I'd be prepared this time. But when I got my first look at that little puppy face, I was hooked. Look at her. How could you not fall in love?

Lily Rose came home and became Zoe.

Yes, it's tough having a "toddler" in the house again. She chews shoes and ChapSticks and anything made of plastic. She has accidents. She climbs up onto the kitchen table and lays there like a centerpiece. She walks across my keyboard and bites my pen when I'm writing. She can be deadly when she has gas.

But whenever I come home, she races to the door and her whole body wriggles when she wags her tail to greet me. At night, she curls up next to me, her head on my thigh, and she sleeps. And oh, how she makes me laugh! She barks at her reflection in my mirrored closet doors. She chases leaves blowing in the wind and pounces on them. She gives me lots of puppy kisses. We go for walks, and she waits for everyone who passes us to stop and tell her she's pretty. If they don't, she'll harass them 'til they do. She brings me her toys, and we play until she's exhausted or the toy's destroyed--whichever comes first.

Her antics often bring a smile when I'm stressed or down. In short, she makes me happy. Charles M. Schultz was right. Happiness is a warm puppy.

I don't know why she was dropped in a shelter, but I'm glad she was. Because now, she's mine. 

All pets are an investment of time, money, and energy. You have to be sure you're ready before you take one on. But the value they bring to your lives can be well worth it. 


  1. She's adorable, Gina - and very lucky to have found the perfect home. Hope you enjoy many years together.

  2. You've got me ready to head for the nearest shelter. Dogs really are wonderful even if they're a big commitment.

    1. True. I hope you'll do it, Deborah and find your own little furball to love!

  3. Congratulations on your new little Lady!

    We adopted a Jack Russell terrier mix last summer. We named her Zooey, too (spelling it like Zooey Deschanel). Sometimes I call her "Destructo" instead. Nothing in the backyard is safe!

    1. Ha! Zoe's full name is "Zoe Poochanell," a take on Zooey. Great minds...