Meet Calypso.

Meet Calypso because, after 12 years of living with a dog who thinks the sun rises and sets because you exist, you cannot come home to an empty house.

Meet Calypso because I believe that dogs are far, far superior to any human I have ever met.

Meet Calyspso because, hey, life is just too easy, I think I’ll get a puppy.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s wonderful, she is. She’s all of maybe nine pounds right now, and all nine of them truly believe she would simply cease to exist if I didn’t love her. At three months old, she has come to live with me and Scrubfy and assorted crabs (I haven’t seen the octopus in a while) and other saltwater creatures.

But she’s still a puppy, which means that things I haven’t had to consider in, oh, 11 years or so, I have to consider now.

Like teething. Some people would say that potty training a dog is the hardest part. I would respectfully have to disagree. Having something that’s at all related to a wolf cutting its first adult teeth in your house… that far surpasses the challenges of having to pick up the occasional pile of warm dog crap (plus, she’s tiny… there’s just not that much to pick up).

Now, when Madison was a puppy, the chewing reached paranormal heights. That dog got into things I didn’t even realize I owned. You want to know what happened to Hoffa? Madison chewed him up. It got to the point that all I had to do was call my vet, give my name, and the immediate response was “What did Madison eat now?”

So, really, this isn’t that bad. I just had always thought dalmatians were so intense as compared to other breeds of puppies that anything else would be no less effort than flossing.

Which is true, really. It’s just like flossing.

If you’re naked in front of 27 of your peers and you happen to have advanced periodontal disease.

Plus she can do weird things in her crate, which freaks me out.

Now, before you start, let me explain that she is ONLY in her crate if I have to work at the bookstore in some capacity that she can’t join me or if I have to go to class. This amounts to roughly less than 20 hours each week. The rest of the time she is with me, helping me study (she really liked Cross Creek but River of Grass, not so much) or going to the beach or the newspaper or Home Depot. You would think that, given that many, many dogs spend either eight-plus hours a day ALONE or tied to a string in the yard, she would realize how great she has it.

As it turns out, it’s never enough for some dogs.

I resorted to the crate after two nights. The first night I put her in my bathroom, carefully removing anything at puppy level. I returned home to a dog who was fine and a home not destroyed.

The second night I returned home to a dog that had somehow gotten stuck in the bathtub (she’s about 5 inches tall at this stage) after ripping up some of the floor in the bathroom.

That’s when I decided to crate her.

Day One in crate: Everything, save the horrible screaming as I leave the house, is fine. I return home, we go outside, she pees outside, licks my face, bites my nose, comes inside, gets a treat.

I feel pretty good about her training. The sooner she gets housebroken and cuts her adult teeth, the sooner I can let her have the run of the house. This is going to be so easy, I think to myself. Which, I’d like to point out, is no different than a person on a road trip thinking “We are making EXCELLENT time!”.

Day Two in crate: I come home and she is not in the crate. I put her there before I left, and I’d like to note that the crate is still shut and locked. The pan in the bottom of the crate, along with her blanket, is half out of the crate. She comes running to meet me from the bedroom.


Day Three in crate: Pretty much as the first day. I re-assembled the crate so as to make it harder for her to escape.

But then last week we went to the Keys for a few days, and I took the crate with us just to be safe. When I reassembled it I must have done something wrong, but she didn’t notice it until the second night she was back in it.

That’s when I came home to find her in her crate, but the black bottom pan outside the crate, and the crate in the fireplace and a puppy covered in soot that’s been there god knows how long.

And then tonight, where she had somehow gotten the black pan halfway across the living room, pushed her crate into the fireplace- AGAIN- and gotten about 7 inches of my living room rug into the crate with her.

I think she somehow gets out, rearranges things to her liking, and then, somehow, locks herself in the crate again.

Whatever she does, it exhausts her. She’s sleeping like, well, a puppy next to me, her little black snout up against my leg.

Dreaming up new ways to bring excitement to our lives.

I’m so lucky.

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.