St. Valentine's Day (Toy) Massacre

(Flickr / Joel Kramer, CC BY 2.0)

"I'm raising a felon. He's only 7 months old but he's already perfected the art of stealing."

I responded to friend Mimi, "Sounds like you have a new dog, but the last you told me, you weren't ready for another dog after beloved Dekie passed away."

"Yes, for sure that's correct. We felt we just weren't ready for a dog so soon. But my husband was at work using newspapers to wrap something, and he happened to see an ad for Golden Pyrenees puppies. The picture in the ad was adorable, so he phoned the number. Within a few minutes he received pictures of the two male puppies that were in the litter. Then he texted one of those to me with the message, 'How about him for our new dog? The breeders call him Goliath but we can do better than that.' So immediately I texted back, 'Hurry up and bring him home — I'm ready.' And that's the story of how we now have Jade," a proud Mimi tells me as she shows me Jade's picture on her phone.

"You're smiling from ear to ear," I say, "and congratulations."

Mimi continued, "Jade is the sweetest dog, but he's definitely a puppy, so that means we're starting at the beginning with training and obedience. That's going OK, but Jade is simply a felon. You see, the neighbors and we have an adjoining yard with a fence around the perimeter, so we call it a compound. They have an older female dog, Lula, who tolerates Jade but doesn't have much energy to keep up with him. Jade figured out which toys are her favorites, maybe because they have the strongest scents, and he steals those toys. He taunts Lula while grabbing those toys and he brings them to our back porch. Jade now has a huge pile of toys on our porch. Some toys are intact but others are chewed to death."

I offer, "Well, you could always gather up Lula's toys from your porch, put them in a box, and Jade could give it all back to Lula as a gift."

"Now that's a great idea!" Mimi responded. "I think I'll put hearts all over the box and have Jade ask Lula to be his Valentine. You know, puppy love."

[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati.]

Get GSR right in your inbox! Sign up for our eNewsletter.