how's the puppy?

My having a new puppy is a boon to Seattle folks, who get to

  1. appear to be friendly while
  2. slavishly avoiding any semblance of actual human engagement

"How's the puppy?" they ask. This greeting will be the sum of our conversation.

How do you answer that question? Fredo is a puppy. He eats. He craps. He plays. He occasionally chews something he shouldn't or goes #1 in the house. Man, is that ever spine-tingling stuff. Alert the media. In fact, you're on to me. I only got Fredo for the anecdotes.

On a couple of occasions, someone has drilled deeper by asking the question "How are the dogs getting along?" When I say they adore one another, the person instantly loses interest, very much like I do when a woman says she has kids. I'm not sure what these people are panning for, but it ain't gold.