The cure for loneliness

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By Becky Cassell, Editor

My husband and kids say Maggie is lonely. Just exactly how they know this, I haven't a clue since Maggie can't talk.

Maggie is our 5-month-old border collie/Labrador mix puppy. We saved her from the doggie death chamber just before Christmas and we made room in our home and our hearts for her. But now, they assure me, she is terribly lonely.

It doesn't matter that there are two adults, three children and three cats to keep her company. The only thing, they say, that will make her "un-lonely" is another puppy. And, alas, they've found the perfect one.

Friends of ours in Illinois have Labradors. And their chocolate Lab, Libby, has had puppies. In fact, she had sooo many puppies, that for some reason they have to give one away ... to us.

It doesn't matter that Libby had just five puppies, and that's not considered a large litter for Labradors. No. She simply had one too many. And we would be saviors for taking her off their hands.

Actually, I think this is something that was cooked up behind my back last year when we were there for a visit. For some reason, my husband and kids knew all about Libby's impending pregnancy and the fact that we might have enough room for one of her pups.

The puppies were born six weeks ago. Throughout the hours of Libby's labor, our friends sooo helpfully sent text messages about her progress and photos of the babies.

Each week since then, we've been inundated with photographs of the puppies' progress. For some reason, though, there have been more photos of one certain yellow pup. And the photographer has gotten quite adept at taking the "irresistible puppy picture."

Apparently, the word has been passed along that Mom is a sucker for babies.

In the past couple of weeks, there's been talk of the best puppy names. Of course, since they're not our dogs, I didn't think we needed to get involved. But there were such hideous names suggested (on purpose perhaps?) that I had to add my two-cents' worth.

But, no, I said, we don't need another dog. That became my oft-repeated mantra. But I don't think anyone paid any attention to me.

Now, with each new batch of photos, it's gotten to the point that I've actually said, "Well, if we ever decided we needed another dog, she's a cutie."

I can't believe I said that out loud.

I've been informed that Brandy ... um, yes, well ... we decided she looks like a "Brandy" ... is a good-natured little girl who plays well with the others.

And then, just last weekend, another friend brought her own puppy to our house where it was pointed out to me how well Maggie got along with him.

And how lonely she was after he went home.

IF we ever decide we need another dog, I suppose Brandy would be the one I'd want.