This particular puppy though, is no newborn bundle of fur. Still definitely a puppy, slightly gangly, sometimes awkward and unfailingly enthusiastic; but no longer a baby.
No longer carefree either. This puppy has been hurt in the past and there are scars to show for it. My puppy is loved and treated gently now. He responds with a desperate eagerness to please, rarely but randomly punctuated by a sudden cowering or an unexpected snap of anger. I feel a flare of indignation at each past hurt which left such a mark.
I must be patient with my puppy, persistent and kind. Rewarding good behaviour, quietly discouraging the bad. Giving love, always giving love.
This puppy is not just for Christmas. He is my rescue puppy to keep.