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Running with the big dogs
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It had been a long time since I had a puppy and I forgot how much work they are. Middle of the night feedings and potty outings, crying incessantly. I think comparing them to a newborn would be reasonable.

I was on night five of no sleep - Angel the parking lot pup would wake me up at 1 a.m., wanting to play after sleeping all day. I was exhausted.

If she wasn't waking me up to play in the middle of the night, she was having a fit about being in the crate.

"The beagle was easier to train than you," I mumbled one night at around 2 a.m. A harsh reality, but the truth hurts.

Angel promptly gave me a puppy breath kiss.

I thought I was going to lose my mind. Maybe I was just too old for this. Cole wasn't this much work as a newborn and heck, let's face it, thanks to Pampers, a baby doesn't have to go outside in the dark to potty in the middle of the night.

I was sleep deprived, exhausted and wondering if I had forgotten everything about raising a puppy.

The evil beagle had loved her crate, often seeking its solace when company came over she didn't like. She even was known to pull the door shut when it was someone she was particularly un-fond of.

But Angel hated the crate, screaming the whole night through. The only time she was not whining, crying and screaming - yes, screaming - was when I put her in the bed with me, only to find her attacking my head initiating play in the early morning hours.

"She's an angel by day, a little devil by night," I told Mama. "I haven't slept in nearly a week, Mama. If it weren't for venti breve lattes, I would not be able to function."

Mama didn't feel much sympathy for me. She thought I had a cute little adorable puppy and should have known better about the fact I would not sleep for a few months.

"Didn't Pumpkin keep you up?" she asked. "And Pepper?"

"Pumpkin did, until I fell on her in the rain. Pepper surprisingly enough was great at night. She wanted everyone to go to bed and leave her alone."

Mama had bunked with Pepper before and knew the Evil Beagle meant business about bed time. "Can you put a clock wrapped in a towel in there with her?" Mama suggested.

No, that would not work. Nothing worked.

I had come to dread bedtime. I would have rather squeezed into the crate with her to keep her from crying all night.

Then something miraculously happened on night six.

Angel fell asleep on one of the big dog's beds, her tiny little body stretched out on the pillow all puppified cuteness.

"Should we wake her?" I asked Cole.

Cole watched her for a quick moment.

"No, let's leave her there," he said.

Would she be OK? I wondered. What would she do if she woke up? What would the big dogs do? Would she sleep out there all night?

I went to bed, not sleeping fully, anticipating a puppy whine in the middle of the night.


Until Pumpkin woke me at 5 a.m. letting me know the puppy was ready to go out.

Angel rolled off the doggie bed, tail curled up like a victory flag and weeble wobbled her cute little self to me, so proud she had slept on the pillow all night. Out we went, retreating inside to get some water and breakfast.

And I had something that kind of resembled a nights rest.

When the big dogs were ready to go out, she ran behind them, or she let us know she needed to go out by scratching the mudroom door. It was clear she was already potty trained and even learned how to sit and shake.

The evil beagle barked at her and after Angel ducked behind my feet, she bravely hoisted her tail in the air and approached the hound with triumphant defiance. Her cute approach made Pepper stop barking. It was clear Angel was quite proud of herself.

"How's Angel doing?" Mama asked later.

I gave her the recap of Angel's accomplishments, not neglecting to point how smart she is.

"Well, you know what they say, if you can't run with the big dogs, you gotta stay on the porch," Mama said, a laugh growing.

At 7 weeks old and probably barely weighing a pound, Angel was not only running with the big dogs she was holding her own. And I, I was finally getting to sleep through the night.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the recently e-published novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."