Getting a Shih Tzu

It was nearly ten years ago that my Labrador named Cliff crawled under the dining-room table and died. He’d suffered internal bleeding from a tumor. Now he’s finally been replaced, in a manner of speaking.

Marbles is the name my kids gave to the dog we got a week ago. He’s a four-year old Shih Tzu, which is a small furry lapdog of Chinese origin. It’s about as far from a large, energetic hunting dog as you can get.

Marbles gets washed in the sink.

Marbles gets washed in the sink.

This wasn’t my idea. We already had such a zoo at my house that getting a dog too must make us seem a little weird. As I was out on the street walking Marbles I told our neighbor, Bob, that the dog was learning to get along with our two cats, a rabbit and the five chickens we keep outside.

“Just don’t get a snake!” he said, kidding.

“We already have one,” I said, not kidding. I forgot to tell him about the Hognose snake and the Betta Fish.

This said, Marbles is a pretty good dog. He’s housebroken, affectionate, and astoundingly calm. My 8-year-old daughter picks him up and totes him around the house with no complaints from the dog. He has a high-pitched yap but rarely uses it.

He’s also decided I’m his favorite, probably because I’m an adult and I’ve had the week off. He follows me everywhere as I wander around the house or go outside.

People joke about having a dog, as if it’s the cliché culmination of domestic bliss. Now that I have a wife, two kids and a dog I guess I’m also housebroken, though in a different sense.

Right now, Marbles is lying at my feet as I type at a computer, woofing quietly while having a dog dream. I just hope this is it when it comes to buying animals.

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