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Harris Blackwood: Making furry additions to the family
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When our dog died a couple of years ago, we left the ranks of dog owners.

Now, a little time has passed and we have decided to add not one, but two puppies to our lives. They will come to live with us later this month.

Our previous dog, Buttons, was 17 when she died. But she was an old soul for years before that. She didn’t like to play with dog toys and didn’t like to be touched.

I took her outside and she did her business and went right back to the steps. No excessive wandering around for Buttons.

In her latter years, she became blind and deaf. She would sniff around when we came home and seemed content to know we were there. Upon determining we were back, she went to her bed and laid down.

She was very unusual. I hope the new dogs are much different.

I want a dog that is all excited when I get home. I want to scratch him behind his ears and rub his back. We’ll play toss with some kind of chew toy and it will be lots of fun.

Buttons was content with a padded bed and slept a lot. She got a little chunky at one time and we put her on some kind of diet dog food our veterinarian, Jane White, recommended.

In her latter days, we put down absorbent pads because she sometimes forgot the whole idea of going outside to do her business. That was her life.

This weekend, we went to one of those big-box pet stores. Good lord, I didn’t know there was so much stuff for dogs. The pet industry says Americans spend somewhere north of $60 billion on pets. I saw several hundred thousand dollars worth in one place.

When I was a kid, we bought our dogs some canned dog food. It was about a dime a can. Bear in mind, this was 50 years ago.

Now, I’ve never seen so many foods for dogs. They have food with salmon and rice, lamb and rice, and several variations on chicken. Dog foods come in big bags, little cans and tiny pouches. Some has to be kept in the refrigerator.

This stuff is not cheap. One 20-pound bag of some fru-fru food cost $80. That’s $4 a pound. You can buy ground beef in the human meat department for that much.

Also in good supply is a number of little outfits to dress your dog as a superhero or fairy princess. Let me help you folks out, little dogs don’t know a superhero from a fairy princess.

If the little new Blackwood pups are cold, I will not get them a sweater. I hope they come equipped with a built-in coat. They also will not dress up as elves, pumpkins or hobgoblins.

They also sell little rubber boots for dogs. God made dogs with claws and feet that eliminate the need for shoes.

Toys for puppies are not cheap either. I hope they like the one or two I pick out for them.

Despite my overwhelming reaction to the assortment of dog accessories, I’m looking forward to my new pups. I’m sure there is a column to follow.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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