A Furry New Family Member

Over the holidays I was introduced to a new member of the family. My aunt and her boyfriend adopted an energetic ball-of-fluff named Elmo, an Old English Sheepdog whose size and propensity for lying in laps do not match, and he has already caused his share of laughs with his sheepdog shenanigans.


At just under six months old, Elmo can already stand up on his hind legs and place his front paws on my aunt’s shoulders. Sprouting up seemingly overnight, he has not yet mastered control over his body, his gangly limbs often tripping over themselves as he comes barreling through the house, reminiscent of a teenage boy still growing into his body. You could say that Elmo is in his awkward stage.


But the best thing about Elmo is his exuberance for life and his love for absolutely anyone and anything that he can find to play with: toys, people, other dogs, shadows on the ground. On Christmas, it just so happened that the thing Elmo found to play with was my barely four feet tall, nine-year-old little sister.


We entered the house and greeted family that we hadn’t seen in a while, unsuspectingly making our way to the kitchen. Distracted by the smell of food wafting in, we didn’t hear the thud coming from behind us.


My sister turned around to see a giant mirage of scruffy white hair come running right toward her. Excited to meet new friends, Elmo thought nothing of my sister’s size and immediately put his paws on her chest, causing both of them to tumble to the kitchen floor. Not realizing that he’d just done something wrong, he continued to lay right on top of her, licking her face in greeting.


While Elmo absolutely loves anything that will give him attention, he is afraid of the smallest, strangest things–like hockey pucks.


My aunt’s boyfriend likes to bring Elmo to work with him at the ice rink. Imagine, if you will, the same massive mess of fur that tackled a nine-year-old to the ground slipping and sliding around the ice like an old school cartoon. He looks like a deer that still hasn’t learned to walk.


What makes the image even funnier is when a hockey puck is hit across the ice. Even though the hockey puck is smaller than some bones that he chews on, Elmo still attempts to jump into the air, away from the terrifying black circle, a barreling elephant scared of a small mouse. The ice, however, makes jumping a little hard. Elmo will slip and fall around the hockey rink, trying to run but never gaining enough traction. At the first glimpse of his owner, he will jump right into his arms.


There is no doubt that Elmo the sheepdog is going to be a handful as he continues to grow into the size of a small horse, but he’s already the happiest, and funniest, dog I’ve ever met.


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