Everywhere we go, members of our family get the same question: "How's your puppy?"
Several weeks ago, I wrote a column about our little dog, Boise, who at the time was literally on life support.
"Is he still alive?" people ask.
The short answer is yes. With lots of love and good vet care, 4-month-old Boise made it. He apparently had an allergic reaction, perhaps to a bee sting, and suffered life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Now, he is so darn alive that I'm thinking of entering him in a steeplechase. He runs across the room, leaps and lands in my lap.
Every time we leave the house, Boise winds up sitting on top of his crate, which we thought was some sort of magic trick until we saw him do the canine version of the Fosbury flop.
Boise is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a miniature poodle. These mixes -- or hybrids -- are called Cavapoos, and they are bred intentionally to be smart and hypoallergenic.
At first, I resisted this breed.
"I'm not having a dog with 'poo' in its name," I announced one day in my hard-daddy voice.
I didn't want a Cavapoo, a Cockapoo or even a plain vanilla poodle which, using this nomenclature would technically be a Poo-Poo. Unfortunately, hard-daddy-person almost never wins an argument at our house. People just ignore him and do as they please.
So I've learned to go with the flow. Actually, now I catch myself talking baby-talk to this animal. OK, I coo at the poo.
Boise, as I explained in the earlier column, owes his name to Boise State University. My 11-year-old son is a huge Boise State football fan.
A few days after the column about Boise's illness ran, a package was lashed to our mailbox. Inside was a get-well card penned by Dr. Bob Kustra, president of Boise State University, along with a Boise State leash, a Boise State throw blanket and tiny piece of the Bronco's trademark blue stadium turf. (I'll make a commensurate gift to charity so as not to run afoul of our ethics policy at the Times Free Press.)
An administrator in Idaho explained to me that folks at the university had read the previous column online and were greatly concerned about little Boise. I was never good at gratitude until I had kids. Now if somebody does something nice for my children -- or, by extension, their dog -- I get all weepy.
Of course, there were some folks who took the opportunity to scold me via e-mail for not, in their view, doing proper due diligence in the acquisition of Boise. Apparently, I forgot to ask for a UL-listed, bee-sting-resistant puppy.
Actually, like most decisions at our house, I probably overanalyzed whether it was a good idea to get a dog. Yet in just a few short weeks, Boise has become a cherished part of our family.
For my older son, who is a few weeks away from starting middle school, Boise is a reliable friend who is completely loyal.
For my younger son, a rising first grader, he's an animated teddy bear.
For my wife, he's a cuddle buddy.
Boise's only problem now are his OC owners -- all of us -- who insist on taking him outdoors every 10 minutes.
My gosh, the poor dog thinks his name is "Go potty."
Contact Mark Kennedy at email@example.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.
Mark Kennedy is the editor of the Times Free Press opinion pages and writes the Sunday “Life Stories” column. He also writes a Saturday automotive column, “Test Drive,” for the Business section. For 13 years, Kennedy was features editor of the newspaper, and before that he was the newspaper’s first Sunday editor. The Times Free Press Life section won the state press award for Best Community Lifestyles four times during his tenure. Before Chattanooga’s newspapers ...