Thursday, February 19, 2009

Puppy Love

Her name is Zora. I met her on her first day in her new city home. She was in her travel crate, laying on a blanket, surrounded by toys. At only eight weeks old, all these new sights and sounds were pretty scary. She stuck her head, then a foot, outside her crate, and then backed in again. She did this several times, whimpering her puppy anxiety. I got down on my knees and talked to her. She was one of the cutest pups I've ever seen, with huge feet and floppy ears, which she will one day grow into. The consultation with my new client, Zora's Mom, was longer than usual, since I was captivated by Zora. After all, what's more fun than being around a baby animal?

Two days later, I returned for my first visit to walk and play with Zora. She was simply tuckered out from the adjustment, and the first day without her Mom. She snuggled into my lap and napped. I served as a human heating pad, I suppose. It gave her comfort, and I was glad to provide it. Over the next several days, she was slowly introduced to the busy streets outside her 12th floor apartment. She's reluctant to venture beyond her own home, and it's a comical sight as she is half coaxed, half dragged outdoors. At first, we ventured only as far as the nearest tree. The next day, another tree, another block.

Now it is week two, and Zora is nine weeks old. She is still fearful of being outside, with all the city noises of the Pearl. Today we actually got a half mile walk in, and on the way we found trees without metal grills covering the soil. So Zora got to stand on the earth, as she sniffed. Her puppy cuteness draws attention everywhere we go.

In the coming weeks, surely her courage will emerge, for she is a Great Dane. She will grow into those floppy ears (which will remain uncropped, thank goodness) and big feet. She will stand tall, and people will still stop and stare. She will evolve into an elegant, canine beauty.

I feel blessed to watch her grow, and to get paid to do what I love. Zora is one of those special animals who has already wiggled her way into my heart. She gets my vote for Cutest Puppy in the Pearl.