Getting a new puppy is like childbirth, you don’t remember how painful it is until you go through it again, and you really should be medicated during the entire process.
Tracy Beckerman’s newest book, Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble, is the wonderfully heartwarming story that we all need right now. Tired of thinking about COVID and politics? Then get lost in this family’s adorable and rambunctious adventures of their new puppy, Riley!
Tracy is such a skillful writer that you immediately feel like you are in their home, sitting on their dog hair-covered couch, with a glass of wine watching the calamities unfold.
When a hurricane strikes and the entire family has to shelter in a hotel I was just as stressed as Tracy was (well, maybe not quite as stressed)! Add in a furball full of energy, who sees listening as an optional activity, and you know things are going to be hilarious.
Whether or not you’re a dog lover, Riley’s story will tug at your heartstrings and make you fall in love with the wonderful Beckerman family.
Right now you can get the Kindle version of the book for $2.99 and in paperback for $15.95 on Amazon. Paired with a mug and tea or cocoa, it’s the perfect pick me up for anyone experiencing the winter blues!
Please enjoy this excerpt from my new favorite book, Barking at the Moon.
“Somehow, as he was out surveying the vastness of his kingdom in our backyard, Riley got a nasty scratch on his inner thigh. We’d only just put the Great Dog Gas Attack of the New Millennium behind us when I had to take him back to the vet.
“That’s a pretty nasty cut,” said Dr. Benson as she examined Riley’s leg. We’d been there so often lately, I wondered if we could get an examination room named after Riley. I thought The Riley Room had a nice ring to it and I figured we’d already paid tenfold for the cost of the plaque.
“What do you think happened?” I said.
“There are some tiny splinters in here,” she said. “You have a wooded backyard, right?”
I nodded yes.
“I suspect he caught his thigh on a low branch or something like that. I’m going to clean it out and you’ll need to apply some ointment to it a few times a day. He’s also going to have to wear a cone so he doesn’t lick it.”
I shook my head. Riley was not a fan of the lampshade cone, so I asked Dr. Benson if there were any other options. “Well, they have these things that look like a life preserver to go around his neck,” she said. “Or you can try giving him a pair of boxer shorts to go around his bottom.”
I snorted. “What if he’s more of a briefs guy than a boxer shorts dog?”
“Whatever works,” she said. “I just think your underwear probably won’t give him enough coverage.”
“Well, it doesn’t give me enough coverage, either,” I said.
When we got home, I went into Josh’s room and took a pair of his boxer shorts from his underwear drawer. Josh and Riley were about the same size, so I thought Josh’s would be a better fit than a pair of Joel’s boxer shorts. I wrestled them onto the dog and then pulled his tail through the pee hole. Then I burst out laughing.
“Oh Riley, you’re a good sport,” I said to him as he stood there in a pair of green boxer shorts with soccer balls on them and a fading sense of dignity.
The boxer shorts were not a particularly good look for a retriever … nor, I imagined, for any dog for that matter. But I suppose, as far as dog couture goes, it was not as bad as some of the outfits other people dressed their dogs in: the puppy puffer jackets, the canine capelets, and the doggie dancewear. I knew what it was like to be a slave to fashion and suffer through trends like super low jeans and stirrup pants, but at least those were choices I made, unfortunate as they were. I don’t think any dog in his right mind would ask to wear a doggie motorcycle jacket and goggles, no matter how cool he might look on the back of a Harley.
It’s a safe bet that these dogs are probably the ones that eventually maul their owners.
The funny thing is, not only did Riley not mind the boxers, he actually seemed to like them. After I put them on him, I noticed he had a little extra bounce in his step and a swagger in his strut. The dog clearly dug his shorts.
When Josh got home from school, however, he was not quite as thrilled that his boxers were being worn by the family pet.
“What’s the problem?” I asked him when I saw him brooding. “I promise I’ll wash them before I give them back to you.”
“I’m not wearing those after the dog wore them,” he said.
“You didn’t hear him complain about wearing your used boxers, did you?” I said.
He frowned. “Yeah. Okay. Whatever. But I don’t want him wearing them in public.”
He thought for a minute. “Well, if he goes out in just boxers, he might get cited for indecent exposure.”
I laughed. “Why would he get stopped for wearing boxers when most of the time he doesn’t wear anything at all?”
“Yeah, well, how would you like it if he wore your underwear?”
“He can’t wear my underwear.”
“I don’t think he would be comfortable in a thong.”
He made a face. “Ew, Mom. TMI.”
“Look, I’m sorry Riley has to wear your boxers, but the vet said it was necessary and you are the only one in the house with boxer shorts that are the right size.”
Upon hearing his name, Riley came bounding over, his tail wagging vigorously out the hole in the shorts.
Josh couldn’t help but laugh.
“Fine, he can wear my shorts,” he said. “But could you do me one favor?”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Could you cut my name tag off them?”