Kate’s new puppy was only ten weeks old when it took its first steps in the apartment. This new member of the family fascinated Jack. The closest to an animal he had gotten so far was seeing the cat Sammie used to watch whenever her parents were out of town.
Sure, he had seen dogs out in the park and sometimes he would spot bunnies in the window of a pet shop if he and Jeff would happen to walk by on their way home from kindergarten, but he had never really played with an animal (Sammie‘s cat usually just hid under the dresser, apparently afraid Jack would pull her tail).
Jack quickly realized that the puppy was a peculiar little thing. It ran around with its tongue hanging outside its mouth, and pawing at everything it could find, even Jack’s toys. The first day it whimpered a lot and peed on the carpet. This was really odd behavior in Jack’s eyes.
Kate and Jack spent a lot of days by themselves while Jeff was working with the band in the studio. Sometimes Kate’s friend Fred would come over and help Kate with the puppy, but that often ended with Kate and Fred arguing over the best way to train it, while Jack and the puppy watched cartoons.
Kate wanted to teach it tricks, she told him. Apparently the dog could sit and bark and lie down and even catch things you threw at it. While Kate was tidying up in his room, Jack tried to throw a grape at the puppy to see if this was true. The grape bounced off the puppy's head and then it sniffed at it (as soon as it figured out where it had gone) and then it just ate it. Jack was unimpressed.
Then he got an idea.
One day, after Fred refused to come over anymore, Jack found Kate in the living room, pointing a finger sternly at the puppy. The puppy, happy as usual, did not seem to understand that Kate was angry. Of course, even Jack had trouble knowing when Kate was angry.
Jack sat down on the couch next to them. “What did it do?” he asked curiously.
“Bad puppy!” Kate repeated crossly. “He chewed on a very important shoe. Very important!”
Sure enough, Jack saw a worn pink shoe under the coffee table. “It‘s hungry.”
Kate sighed and leaned back from the puppy. “He ate his kibble. But he doesn‘t want his chew toys either. I don‘t know, maybe I‘m not cut out to have a puppy. I can‘t even teach him any tricks.”
Jack frowned. Even though the puppy and its whereabouts was not that intriguing, he still rather liked having it around. As long as the puppy did not chew on him with its sharp teeth, Jack did not mind.
Afraid that Kate might return it to the store (he already knew that Jeff was less pleased about the thing than Kate - Jeff called it a ‘chick dog‘ just because it was small enough to fit in one of Kate‘s larger bags), Jack decided to help.
“Maybe I can show it what to do. Maybe it doesn‘t understand?”
Kate tilted her head to the side and observed as the playful puppy tried to crawl under the couch, still with its tail wagging from side to side like a pendulum. This looked funny, so Jack giggled.
“It‘s not an ‘it‘, Jack. It‘s a boy puppy.”
“It don‘t have a name,” Jack pointed out, unsure how to tell if it was a he or she when the thing was nameless.
Kate grabbed the puppy, dragged him out from under the couch and turned him around. “I know. Listen, puppy. Sit!”
The puppy panted stupidly. Then he scratched his butt a little, and tried to escape. “Come back here!” Kate called out and grabbed him again.
“Dad says you have to give him a candy. He won‘t do it if you don‘t give him candy.”
Kate placed the puppy in Jack’s lap and went to get some treats. The puppy completely freaked out when he realized what it was. Jack held the squirming bundle up in the air, and the puppy’s legs peddled the air as if he was swimming.
Kate tried again. “Sit!”
The puppy lounged for the treat and almost ploughed right into the entertainment center unit. Jack shook his head with defeat. “Kate, you have to show him.”
Kate considered this for a second, before lifting Jack to the floor next to the now rabidly excited puppy. She held out another dog treat to Jack. “Sit!”
Jack rolled his eyes. “I‘m not eating dog food,” he said wrongfully.
Kate slumped together against the armchair with a theatrical moan. The puppy immediately ran over and tried to gnaw the treat out of her closed hand. “You guys are killing me,” she whined. Jack snickered a little. Kate was always funny.
“Fine,” she decided after saving her fingers from being eaten. Jack and the puppy watched as she went to the kitchen. Jack knew that Jeff and Kate hid candy in one of the cupboards, he just didn’t know which one.
So Kate came back with some of the candy she had saved for Friday evening, when Jeff would be home and they would all watch a movie and eat snacks. The training commenced. Jack would carefully show the puppy what ‘sit’ meant, and then he would get a candy.
The puppy didn’t learn anything, but when all the dog treats and candy bits were out, and Kate had finally given up and collapsed in an exhausted heap on the floor, Jack took the puppy aside and gave him a hug. “You‘re my best friend,” he explained happily.
The puppy licked his face and then they ran off to play.