Pets? I’ve had a few.
Goldfish. Budgies. Guinea pigs. Even had a goose named ‘Waddles’ for a while.
Recently, the stars aligned so perfectly their luminous night sky memo could barely be ignored. It was time to bring new life into the realm. Not just any life but one born in a fur tuxedo and full of velvety mischief. Cute on a whole new level, in other words. And with hedgehog paws to boot!
This… ladies and gentlemen… is ‘Teddy’.
I’ll admit I’ve partaken of the odd bit of tut-tutting in the past, aimed at bloggers who go on – all Facebook–like – about their pets. Possibly you know the type I mean.
These well-intentioned, overly-smitten urban campers insist on regularly treating their readers to out-of-focus, ho-hum couch ‘n kitchen shots of their adored truffles – with the requisite accompanying ‘hilarious’ tales – with all the gushing enthusiasm of a tabloid journalist spilling forth the latest thread-bare Kadashians scoop.
Did somebody say ‘gushing’ ? Yes they did.
So what’s my excuse?
Well, there’s two, actually. First is, this is a once-off. Really. You won’t hear about ‘Teddy’ again. Not for some time at least. Possibly not until Disney make a sequel to its 2008 canine movie BOLT. And who knows when, if ever, that’ll be. (Ok, I could have said a sequel to TURNER & HOOCH but would anyone besides myself and Tom Hanks know what I was talking about?)
Second, this is no ordinary dog. No ordinary puppy. This is TEDDY. The one and only. (Ok, he may have come from a litter of 13 but like a little doggy snowflake, there’s still just the one ‘Teddy’. Right?)
If you knew of the circumstances that were behind the decision to welcome him into our home – as a few people do – you’d understand – in a ‘circle of life’ kind of way, why he’s so special. That’s a story for another day.
OPERATION PUPPY HUNT kicked off, like 9 out of 10 things seem to these days, with a Google search. Many Google searches, in fact. We wanted a child-friendly breed of dog that didn’t shed hair. Cavoodles tick both those applicant boxes.
Next it was off to a number of pet shops. We eventually linked up with a private reputable breeder – a friend of a friend. It was a long drive from our house and when we eventually returned home empty handed one weekend after somehow getting lost (GPS didn’t count on multi road closures encircling the residence we were aiming for) we wondered if the whole thing wasn’t meant to be.
Encouraged not to give up by some very supportive folk at my work place, we tried again a fortnight later. This time we landed smack bang in the middle of puppy heaven. The one we would eventually name ‘Teddy’ was definitely the shy guy of the litter. But we liked that.
Driving home with him squirreled away in his back seat basinet reminded me so much of the day, twelve years ago, we brought home our daughter from hospital. On both those occasions my driving assumed an extra edge of precaution – several, actually – like I was an armored car security guard delivering a kings-ransom payroll.
In the car on the journey home we tossed around names. A lot of names. And not just in English. Maybe not quite to the hilarity of this scene from BEETHOVEN (1992) but for certain more fulfilling than the usual game of road-trip ‘I spy’.
Boiling that overblown brainstorming session down to just four names, we were left to family-vote on – ‘FLAPJACK’ – (I kid you not) – the Top Gun 2 inspired ‘MAVERICK’ – slightly posh and butler-ish sounding ‘BENTLY’ and of course what turned out to be the eventual pageant winner – ‘TEDDY’.
A friend asked me if we’d named the newest addition to our family after NRL footballer James ‘Teddy’ Tedesco. I replied, “Actually, I was thinking a little more presidential.“
Life has got that much more cuddly and interesting now thanks to the Ted factor. With a 5 star heart-tugging (not to mention emotionally manipulative) head-tilt and a tail that spins like a Cessna Skyhawk’s propeller, joy is ours for the taking.
I can’t start my day now without my two scoops of Teddy. As a matter of fact, he insists on it.
But there’s work involved. To say I and everyone else in my household are on a learning curve re puppy behavior would be playing understating love ladders with the truth.
So I’m doing what I usually do when I want to learn about a topic. I read. HERE – HERE – HERE – HERE and by golly, even HERE. And as is fairly well known around these parts, I’m not above including the odd cartoon as a source of wisdom either…
Sometimes going old skool helps too –
Oh, with all this chatter, I almost forgot to show you this…
Yep, that’s him! You might say ‘ol Teddy is coming on in leaps and bounds. Below is him again, in the slightly more artsy ‘reflective surfaces’ French Cinema version –
And since this site likes to think of itself as having at least some vague links to all things literary, here’s a curated list, for no other reason than it looks kind of attractively ‘shop-like’ when placed together, of some great doggy novels and non-fiction –
Thought we’d finished? Can’t do that without these two musical ‘Teddy’ dedications.
The first one, below, has been placed at the end of this post since I’m pretty sure had it gone at the beginning, a sizeable portion of the readership of this blog would have pulled up stumps and ceased reading in protest. Something I usually like to avoid, if possible.
For a smidgen of context. bear in mind SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK has made no secret of it’s life-long like of the band KISS. Their September Brisbane concert is marked on the calendar in yellow highlighter. Teddy, this song, which oddly I regularly have belting out at the gym at 5am, is for you.
For everyone else… I simply ask you to draw on all your reserves of stamina and will-power to endure this slab of 80’s-fashion-emblazed buffoonary up to (and, and for the very brave, including) the first chorus. That kicks in around the 45 second mark. Make it to there and you’re welcome to hit the kill switch for all you’re worth anytime after.