Puppies are always cute, and adding one to your household is a joy, a challenge, a commitment, and a royal pain in the behind. They do not come with instructions. But with a great deal of tenacity you can get through puppy training and get to the doggie stage unscathed.
One day, while on Main Beach boardwalk, I stopped to talk to a man named Tom with a new puppy, Bella. After the normal cooing and adoring comments, I asked him how he came across the name. He said it was the name of his favorite bartender in the old days.
"What, pray tell, were the old days?" I asked.
He answered, "Oh, I was a drunk for many years, got tired of it and quit. But I will always remember Bella the barmaid. I was in the Marines for 26 years, surrounded by hundreds of troops and retired as a master gunnery sergeant, found a neighborhood tavern populated with a lot of drunks and drank for several more years, then quit drinking. I now had money in my pocket but I got lonely."