But you can’t control Thelma. She enjoys chewing more than she enjoys peeing. In fact, chewing is her God-given talent you could say.

I am operating a barbecue grill. I’m making burgers and it’s not easy because I have a wild puppy named Thelma Lou who cannot sit still.

She is ten weeks old. Her paws are bigger than her head, her ears drag on the ground. She pees whenever the spirit moves.

And right now, she is chasing a neighborhood kid named Tyler, who is babysitting her. I’ve paid Tyler ten dollars to entertain her.

And he’s entertaining, all right. She is a speeding black-and-tan blur, only visible by high-tech slow-motion cameras. And she’s his problem right now.

I gave Tyler simple instructions:

“Make sure she goes pee pee,” I said.

This is of congressional importance because Thelma Lou has been known to get so excited she pees on me for kicks.

Anyway, I am sporting an apron my wife bought me. On the front it reads: “I like pig butts and I cannot lie.”

I’m no grill master, but I make okay hamburgers. It took me a whole year to perfect my recipe. It’s not complicated, but it takes concentration. And you can’t concentrate while babysitting a puppy.

Believe me, I tried this a few days ago. I ended up chasing the black-and-tan streak across the Southeast United States. I ran with a spatula held above my head, hollering: “Quit that!” And: “Stop chewing my wallet!” And: “Get away from that dead possum!”

But you can’t control Thelma. She enjoys chewing more than she enjoys peeing. In fact, chewing is her God-given talent you could say.

If, for instance, I were to enter Thelma in one of those TV-show talent contests, Thelma would win.

“… And thanks for watching America’s Most Talented Pets, folks. Our next contestant is Thelma Lou. Thelma will disassemble a Stradivarius cello using only her teeth, then urinate on its remains while howling ‘Moon River’ in the key of F sharp.”

Neil Diamond, eat your heart out.

She chews everything. She will gnaw on sticks, furniture, past issues of TIME Magazine, uncashed checks, human toes, beer cans, small electronic devices, large electronic devices, water bottles, pig ears, dish rags, pillows, or Senator Richard Shelby.

But, I have devised a way to stop Thelma’s anti-Christian behavior. After all, I’ve been reading dog training books until I’m purple.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that scientists unanimously agree, the most effective way of training a dog is to start drinking high-proof alcohol directly from the bottle.

No, I’m only kidding. They recommend starting with lite beer first.

Of course, that’s the modern way. Men like my Uncle Geether came from the old world. He kept cooked turkey in his pocket until grease seeped through his pants and made him look incontinent. He was a reputed dog expert.

And according to dog experts like Uncle Geether, using food to reward basic commands is the way to go. The books recommend starting with commands your puppy is ALREADY capable of.

A few commands Thelma has already mastered:

“Run far away from me, Thelma!”

Good girl.

“Jump on unsuspecting strangers, Thelma!”

Piece of cake.

“Poop in the kitchen TWICE, Thelma!”

But none of this matters right now because I don’t have to worry about my dog. Tyler is watching her while I cook. He’s riding his bike and Thelma is chasing.

I have paid him to ride in circles for thirty minutes, non-stop.

“But Mister Sean,” Tyler pointed out, “that will make me really dizzy if I just ride in circles.”

The world isn’t always fair, Tyler.

Tyler and Thelma Lou have just finished playing. Thelma sees me. Here she comes. She is running full speed. She trips on her ears. She licks me. I lift her in my arms. The smell of her puppy breath is perfect.

Her excitement is almost too much to bear.

Suddenly, my shirt is wet.

Take your ten bucks and go home, Tyler.


  1. Judy Broussard - May 16, 2018 7:36 am

    Thanks Sean,you always brighten my day.

  2. Melanie Tighe - May 16, 2018 8:59 am

    Such joy! Love this one. The puppy days go by so fast. Appreciate you sharing them Sean.

  3. Sherry - May 16, 2018 10:40 am

    I was sitting missing my crybabies do much. Now I am laughing through tears . You always know just what I need every morning..

  4. Nancy Hall - May 16, 2018 11:40 am

    Thanks for being you and writing about real life that reminds us how precious everyday life can be.

  5. tracyfridley - May 16, 2018 12:15 pm

    No words for how much I love this! Pure joy! Thank you for the perfect start to my day. ☀️

  6. Sharon R. - May 16, 2018 12:18 pm

    My son has an 8 week old golden puppy named Otis, and this sounds exactly like their relationship right now. I laughed when I read this and forwarded it onto my son. He was equally amused and sympathetic of your plight. Thanks Sean!

  7. Debbie - May 16, 2018 12:51 pm

    Thelma Lou doesn’t know how lucky she is to be loved so much. Nor does she know what joy reading about her antics brings to my morning…..glad it wasn’t my kitchen…..

  8. Dianne - May 16, 2018 1:05 pm

    Ah, the joys of potty training a new puppy. Thelma Lou is so blessed to be loved so much!!

  9. Bonnie Latino - May 16, 2018 1:19 pm

    Sean: I sent your first Thelma Lou story to my best friend and writing partner who had just lost his dog of 15 years. His baby girl was a Yorkie, named Lucy. She was his first dog—ever.

    I emailed my friend your story and he replied, “Before Lucy died I would have read Sean’s story and thought I had ‘gotten’ it. But I wouldn’t have. Not really Thank you. Thank Sean for me.”

    Bonnie Bartel Latino
    Atmore, AL

  10. Janet Mary Lee - May 16, 2018 1:46 pm

    Hope a hamburg has her name on it! One of my pups chewed my rocker I rocked my two legged kids in, and chewed the head off a turtle foot stool from my Grandma, high in sentimental value. They both still grace the house. Thank you for the memories! And to making new ones!! Love you guys!!

  11. Carol ann ROTHWELL - May 16, 2018 2:10 pm

    Aren’t they the most precious thing..as close to us almost as a real human baby…wait a minute. .they are our “babies” our fur babies…
    Keep on Thelma Lou…Love on your daddy.
    Cause your daddy Loves you!!
    Love ya.?!

  12. Barbara Pope - May 16, 2018 2:23 pm


  13. Edna B. - May 16, 2018 3:08 pm

    Ah Sean, you started my day off with giggles again. I love your stories about Thelma Lou. Enjoy her. You two have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  14. Jack Quanstrum - May 16, 2018 3:26 pm


  15. Linda Chipman - May 16, 2018 4:33 pm

    To me, puppy breath is one of the best smells in the world!

  16. Remy’s Mom - May 16, 2018 4:34 pm

    We are raising pups together. Two weeks apart. You made me laugh out loud. The pooping thing is no joke. Watch where you walk at all times! #teamlisamission

  17. Kay - May 16, 2018 6:36 pm

    I laughed so hard it felt good.
    13 Labradors, 1 old man, a spring chick who is 3 years old. A yellow 5 month old, and 10 chocolate puppies.
    Blessings on you, I love reading your stories.

  18. Sandra Smith - May 17, 2018 12:20 am

    Whoops !
    I peed a little !!! ?

  19. Sandy - May 17, 2018 3:33 am

    Sounds similiar to my girl, Chewy. She got her name honestly within 24 hours from springing her from the Waveland, MS “pokey”. Eight years old now. My ❤️!!

  20. Shay Clark - May 27, 2018 4:48 am

    My dog peed on a leg of the pair of blue jeans Of a guy I was dying to go out with. It was our very first date. I was sure I’d never see him again. That was 41 years, one child and one grandchild ago. I can’t make this stuff up.

  21. Mary Ellen Hall - May 29, 2018 3:35 am

    Oh, how I LOVE PUPPIES!!! ?❤

  22. Steve Winfield - July 18, 2018 4:16 am

    Oscar Mayer Weiner Dog approves. He’s 2 now & still a handful. He finally caught the neighbors cat yesterday. Bad idea. He didn’t expect the cat to fight back. Stunned, embarrassed, & a little bloody. He’s content staying indoors today.

  23. Gale Smith - July 30, 2020 10:18 am

    Bet Senator Richard Shelby would love this. So would his wife, Annette Nevins
    Shelby, a local girl from Kinston, AL


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