Columbia Star

Empty nest will have to wait




The wife and I were kind of looking forward to becoming empty nesters. I’m not talking about kicking our three children out of the house ( Two of the three are already in college, and our son has a couple more years in high school).

I’m talking about our four-legged children.

We’ve had at least one dog, usually two, in our house for nearly three decades…and that doesn’t count the dogs we grew up with.

We’ve been through multiple puppy stages and several old dog stages, which are equally challenging.

Our most recent two dogs were in that later stage of life. In fact, we lost our 14-year-old Bassett Hound, Wags, over the summer. Our 12-year-old Cocker Spaniel, Daisy, is still hanging in there. Even with the challenges that come with senior pups, our Daisy is extremely low maintenance. She sleeps most of the time and doesn’t require anything other than the occasional butt rub and regular quick trips to the back yard to do her business.

We really had the best of both worlds with Daisy…we still had a dog, but there wasn’t a whole lot of work involved.

But then we got Keeta the Akita.

Keeta was my mom’s dog. We adopted her after my mom passed away earlier last summer.

Like my mom, Keeta is one of a kind. She was basically raised like a grandchild for nearly five years…very sweet but spoiled rotten.

So in one quick swoop, my wife and I went from essentially empty nesters to full-fledged doggy parents again. Needless to say, it’s been an adjustment and at times quite entertaining.

This incredibly powerful looking dog has turned out to be a world class goofball.

The proud and imposing Akita was originally bred to perform such daunting tasks as hunting bear and boar, but apparently it was not bred to walk on hardwood floors. Keeta gleefully slips and stumbles through our house like an old man in a pair of loafers trying to chase a hockey player across a frozen pond.

However, slippery floors do not stop her from bouncing. It’s like we’ve inherited Tigger.

Boing! Boing! Boing! The wonderful thing about Keetas is Keetas are wonderful things! Once the pain from the inevitable collisions subsides, I have to say it’s a heck of a greeting when a 100-pound ball of fur, muscle, and teeth slides and bounces her way into my midsection just to say hello.

There’s no doubt Keeta is friendly, but I haven’t figured out if she’s brilliant or just plain crazy yet.

For example, she’s assigned value to leashes in different locations.

Like most dogs, if you waive a leash at her inside the house, she goes nuts (in a good way) because she thinks—rightfully so—she’s going for a walk. But, if I grab a leash in the back yard while she’s refusing to go off the back porch to go potty, she acts like I’ve got a whip or a cattle prod, and I’m about to ruin her day. Her mood completely changes, and she immediately stops the giddy mischievous routine and switches to an all business soldier… doody bound…if you know what I mean.

I have no clue how she made the distinction, but I will say it’s convenient. Crazy or not, it does speed up the potty process, especially when it’s cold and rainy out.

It’s a safe bet Keeta will never be as low maintenance as Daisy, but that’s just fine. If my mid-section can survive the greetings, I’ll happily put off our empty nest.

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