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Small Talk: Puppies are cute, cleanup not so much

Oooh, little, fluffy puppies. Is there anything cuter?

There is not, if you can pet them and leave, or just watch them, or even adopt one and take it home.

But I have been given a fearful look into the abyss that is caring for a litter of puppies and their reluctant mom. It’s a scary, if cuddly, place to be.

My daughter, who dwells with us, got a call from a local shelter asking if she could foster a mother and eight puppies for two weeks.

My daughter has the softest heart in the world, and said yes, before discussing it with the rest of the household. The rest of the household was not entirely thrilled.

It has been hilarious watching this poor, grateful mother dog gleefully hand over the babysitting chore. The pups are about five weeks now and are almost weaned. Mom is clearly done.

The eight little niblets, not so much. Mom just walks away when she’s had enough, but much shrieking and whining follows.

The real challenge, however, is the cleanup. As expected, puppies have no control over anything. Times that by eight, it’s a constantly moving cloud of puppyness.

There is no directing it. You can’t get to the cleanup site fast enough to prevent at least four of them from walking and/or rolling through it.

Portions of my floors are pretty much a toxic-waste zone now, despite constantly wiping things up and putting down paper. It is very much like sweeping the Sahara Desert.

And we have a week to go.

I wildly tried to keep up and clean up at first, but soon adjusted my attitude. You just put on your mommy hat and do what you can. My daughter has gotten quite skilled at washing puppies in the sink, while they howl like you are poking them with hot branding irons.

But when she lets them out into the backyard to frolic, you will experience a cuteness overload that makes much of the scut work bearable. When a pair of fat, fuzzy, floppy-eared pups climb into your lap and want to snuggle and chew on your buttons, who among us can say no?

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer looking to book a flame-thrower for the post-puppy cleanup. Contact her at [email protected].