She was just what my mother wanted, but she was also very tiny. I was in high school and in my excitement to fulfill my mother's Christmas wish I didn't stop to ask questions, such as, "Is this puppy weaned from her mama?" I was unaware most people with knowledge of dogs agree there is a six week minimum age before a puppy should leave her mother. This tiny, tawny colored Cocker Spaniel puppy had been born on Thanksgiving. Now she was leaving her mama on Christmas Eve due to my hope to make my mama happy.
By the time I got home with the dog I had noticed she wasn't very energetic. But my father saw me in the driveway, knew something was rotten in Denmark and told me to go in to speak with my mother. The die was cast. As I handed mom her dog I wondered if this was going to be her best gift yet or her worst. I explained my reservations about the puppy while mom whipped up some good home cooking, puppy gruel. To our surprise the puppy, soon to be given the moniker Honey, ate and ate and ate. Soon her tummy bulged and she scampered into the living room to fall asleep between two of my father's enormous boots.
She turned out to be one of moms best gift ever, and a blessing in our life for nearly ten years. But I learned the tremendous responsibility of caring for an animal and the potential for burdening family as well as injuring an animal. I have never again given a living creature as a gift. But every time I smell puppy breath I think about our sweet girl.