Newest Member of the Family

May 6, 2008
By Tatiana Woessner, Lavista, NE

As I rolled out of bed, I heard the yips and yaps of a new puppy. This was the only way she knew how to signal that she needed to go outside to use the restroom. Stretching and yawning as I put on my slippers, I saw that it was half past five. I felt even more frustrated with every heavy step I took that brought me closer to the basement. As I reached the basement door, the small barks increased in sound and distress. Finally, I came to the bottom of the stairs and saw a small body wagging uncontrollably. I unlatched her kennel and the newest member of our family greeted me. We found an adorable yellow lab and named her Scout. Just my luck, we had decided to get a puppy in the middle of winter. Half asleep, I managed to find a winter jacket, slip on some boots, and put on some gloves. I bundled up to prepare for the long trek to the backyard through the harsh winter winds. I was not in the mood to be dealing with this fur ball right now. As I reached for the basement doorknob, my mind began to wander.
A few months before, my sisters and I had desperately begged for a puppy. We spent hours creating skits and cheers for our parents trying to persuade them we could handle getting a pet. We even set up our own mini stage in our unfinished basement and videotaped our skits with a camcorder. Some days, we even put up posters and decorations around the house as a method of persuasion. When Christmas morning came that winter, we were almost positive a puppy would be one of our gifts. The piles of presents became smaller and so did our hopes of getting a puppy. After everything had been opened, I was devastated that our convincing hadn’t been enough.
We begged our parents and continued brainstorming plans to show how much we truly wanted a pet. My parents kept constantly saying how much work it would be and how everyone in the family would need to contribute to the many needs of a puppy. A month had gone by since Christmas; my parents caved at last and the hunt for a puppy began. Finally, we found a nice family who bred yellow labs and we picked out the runt of the litter. My sisters and I were so happy and excited with the new addition and agreed to name her Scout. I loved everything about having a puppy, except doing the work.
I opened the basement door as Scout tugged on her leash and we made our way to the spot in the yard where she went to the bathroom. Before we had even taken two steps, the energetic ball of fur had already decided to turn it into a game. She pranced in circles and dug her pink nose in the snow; Scout seemed to be in puppy heaven. I found myself extremely tired, wishing I were back in my warm bed sound asleep again. After enough convincing, I finally managed to get Scout to her designated spot. The waiting game began. A gust of wind brazed my face and Scout anxiously bounced around tugging on her leash. The wind seemed to feel less cold and my body began to feel more awake. I strongly commanded Scout to, “Do your business.” The little puppy listened and I playfully congratulated her on being such a good girl.

She plopped down in the freshly fallen snow and gazed up at me with those adorable, big, brown puppy eyes. Her warm puppy smile melted my heart and I couldn’t help but entertain her for a while. I continued to play with Scout in the snow and cautiously brought her back into the house trying not to wake the rest of the family. I took an old towel and carefully wiped her tiny paws free from any excess snow. I marched back upstairs and measured out a cup of dog food. Scout shook with excitement as she began to drool in anticipation of her breakfast. After I finished my morning dog chores, I didn’t feel like going back upstairs to bed, but decided to stay up and keep an eye on Scout.
The next few days, I gladly offered to take the dog out and lend an extra hand. Scout was pampered from head to toe. I cleaned her teeth, brushed her fur, and made sure she received extra love each day. I even volunteered to walk the dog through the freshly fallen snow. Once again I bundled up in preparation for the frigid weather outside. As I grabbed for the leash, Scout bolted to my side and stared at me excitedly while wagging her tail. We headed out the front door ready to take on the cold. Scout could barely walk through the snow, but happily pranced along as she left her tiny prints behind. We came to a park behind our house and I unlatched her leash. Scout sprinted around in circles and I threw some snowballs in the air. She loved catching them as if she were chasing a tennis ball. I stared at Scout and couldn’t remember what my life had been like without a dog. I reattached her leash and we continued on our journey towards home.

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