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Ain't life just grand when you're a dog?

So here's what happened to me last week.

I was walking into the Provo Public Library where my mother was being honored by the Chamber of Commerce for her community service, when I realized I had this huge HOLE in the backside of my slacks. The kind that definitely shows your underwear and everything.

YIKES! I WAS IN PUBLIC! AND I HAD A HOLE IN MY PANTS! AND MY UNDERWEAR WAS SHOWING! Now I can totally promise you that one of the things you don't want when your mother is being honored by the Chamber of Commerce is to have your underwear showing. And, quite frankly, your mother (although she loves you unconditionally because HELLO! SHE'S YOUR MOTHER!) doesn't want you to have your underwear showing either.

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

Answer: We have a new puppy at our house. One who sneaks into my closet and chews up my personal belongings, including slacks that I didn't hang up (technically speaking) because I bought them at Chico's, a store that specializes in selling stretchy flowing clothes for middle-age women who don't like to iron.

When we put our old dog down this summer — he was almost 17! — I told the family we weren't getting another animal any time soon. Why? A couple of reasons, I suppose. Partly because I'm too busy these days (who said life got simpler when the kids started leaving home?). Partly because I didn't want one more thing in my life I'd have to part with eventually. And partly because I wanted the memory of the old dog to linger with us.

I worried that a new puppy would make us forget. And I didn't want us to forget.

But after a month of living completely dog-less for the first time in over two decades, I told my husband I'd had a change of heart. I wanted a dog and I wanted one now. So he found us a long-eared puppy, and he fetched her home.

Now here's the thing. I shouldn't have worried that I'd forget our old dog, because actually what puppies do is remind you of all the GREAT things about old dogs.

FOR INSTANCE:

Old dogs don't chew holes in your pants because they don't have any teeth left.

Old dogs stay off the living room couch because (yawn) it's just too much bother to jump up on it. It's also too much bother for them to jump up on your mother-in-law (who's a little nervous around dogs, even though she's a good sport!) whenever she walks through the front door.

Old dogs don't drop tennis balls on your bare feet so you'll play fetch with them. They don't harass you to take them for walks to the Sinclair station on South Temple where the employees will give them free Milk Bones. Old dogs are just satisfied with a happy pat on the head and a kind word. Which they may or may not hear. But, oh well!

Old dogs know your habits and you know theirs, which makes for a mutually satisfying friendship. Being with an old dog is like sitting in front of a fire's afterglow on a winter's night and enjoying its warmth.

On the other hand — and it's a BIG other hand — who can resist the eager enthusiasm of a puppy discovering that the world is full of garbage cans to topple! Cats to corner! Balls to chase! Food to steal! Faces to lick! PANTS TO GNAW ON!

Ain't life grand when you're young and also a dog?

Anyway, we are delighted with the new puppy, especially now that she's going to Puppy Cotillion once a week where she is learning some manners, including how not to chew on pants, even when they're on the floor.

Meanwhile, we are happy with who she is. And, of course, for whom she makes us remember.


E-mail: acannon@desnews.com