Saturday, February 25, 2012

Puppy Love.

Last night as I was perusing through my Facebook site, I saw some pretty devastating news: my BFF's dog, Casey, died.  Casey has been a part of her life for 15 years and she was heartbroken.  It made me think about how close we all become to our pets.  There's this way about them that allows these four-legged creatures to become family members--which is exactly what Casey was.

I've never been a die-hard animal lover, so I won't begin now.  The pets I grew up with never attached to me, nor I with them.  They did, however, provide some pretty funny moments that I'll never forget.  One of our first dogs we had was Ty-heen  (I have no idea if I'm spelling this name right, so I'm writing out the pronunciation--and no, we didn't name the dog).  We were living in Green Bay and it was my turn to take her out for a walk around the house to go pee.  I was only 7 years old, and was quite small.  Ty-heen was a Basenji and very strong.  I remember it was freezing out, snow all around, when Ty-heen decided to run.  I planted my feet on the snow and just hung on to the leash.  She decided to do laps around the house, with me being pulled like a water skier.  As I flew past the sliding glass door, my family was in fits of laughter.

Then there was Sadie the 1st--old faithful yellow lab.  Loved Sadie.  We had her when we lived in Wisconsin, with the woods and the Yellow River in our back yard.  Sadie had the run of the land--never on a leash or anything like that.  Didn't need it out there in the middle of nowhere.  And it was quite humorous when she decided to corner a skunk into our garage--enough said about that adventure.  It smelled forever.

I can't forget about Pepper--although I would like to.  I never liked Pepper.  She was this black poodle, who was a pain in the ass.  Not a fan.  But there was that one day, when I was hating on my sisters, and good ole' Pepper decided to crap in their bed.  Pepper was pretty smart too because she then pulled the covers over her poo.  It wasn't discovered until they jumped on in and the brown covered their toes.  Their screams were hilarious!  I grew a new respect for Pepper that day, and will admit I was sad when she became sick and had to be put down.  That was a sad drive to Marshfield in our brown paneled station wagon.  Especially since the vet's office was on Pepper Street--something we hadn't noticed until that day.  Funny the things I remember.

When I moved out to Colorado in my early 20s, I went to the Denver Dumb Friends League and fell in love with a little dog.  She was a mutt, and I named her Sadie the 2nd.  What a pain in the ass she was.  Mostly because I had no real idea on how to train a dog.  She destroyed furniture, killed birds--was just a mess.  Nothing like her namesake, so eventually she had to go.

And then there was the day I was at the Aurora Mall, and saw this cute little Brittany.  My parents had one named KoKo--short for Kokopelli--and thought they'd make great friends.  After the purchase I named her Antigone Sophocles, calling her Tiggy for short.  Oh my good god almighty.  Tiggy was the most horrific animal ever.  She barked non-stop, ate my shoes, thought throw pillows were her toys to destroy.  I would come home to something new ruined every single day.  I'd have to go to work with one shoe donning bite marks.  She was Satan.  So like any good daughter, I gifted Tiggy to my parents.  She showed up on their front porch one evening, with me singing her praises.  And then the phone calls began.  They threatened to give her back to me on a daily basis.  I think the turning point for them was when Tiggy decided to eat their dry wall--literally began chewing off the walls of their home.  Yeah, not good.  She had to go.

When I lived in Green Valley, I was jogging one morning (notice it reads one morning--hasn't happened since...) and this little, cute Shih Tzu comes running over to me.  Poor thing had no collar and was shaking furiously.  I had no choice but to bring her home.  The kids fell in love, even though I said not to.  No one reported a missing dog, and there wasn't a chip in her.  Day three of having her, I can't remember what the kids were calling her, was when I saw the MISSING DOG sign on my way home from work.  I remember thinking "Oh crap," because the kids little hearts would break.  But I had to.  I called the owner, who was over in 2 seconds.  The dog went nuts upon seeing her owner, and that was proof enough for us.  Consoling the kids was another story.  So the trip to the Denver Dumb Friends League had to be made--which is how I came across Buddy Love.

I loved Buddy Love.  He was a 100 pound chocolate lab who loved me.  He was protective and sweet. He thought he was a lap dog--sitting on my lap as though he were one of the kids.  But he was lonely, so we went on back and found Sissy--another chocolate lab mix, who was cute and filled with energy.  Too much energy, turns out, and was a nightmare to contend with.  After building a dog run for the two of them, Sissy decided to break out.  She had terrible separation anxiety, along with claustrophobia, and we were afraid she'd eventually hurt herself.  The dog literally broke through a steel locked fence.  Sissy needed the farm life, where she could run free.  We found her a new owner that owned property--no enclosed space for her.   Buddy was still in need of a partner and a friend of mine had a yellow lab that was having puppies.  So the kids and I went and picked one out.  I named him Lewey (after Louis Vuitton--I was in that stage with the bags), and he became mine.   There was the time when Lewey, who was a blonde in every sense of the word, decided to jump out of a speeding car to try to catch a rabbit.  Luckily he didn't get too severely hurt, although the poor thing was quite banged up.  Buddy and Lewey were inseparable, and with the divorce even though it broke my heart, I couldn't separate them.  The kids were upset, but it wouldn't be fair.  These dogs loved each other and needed to be together.  Besides, they were both HUGE and wouldn't be okay in apartment living.

Seeing the sadness in the kids' eyes, I adopted Cooper at a PetSmart adoption day.  He was the cutest little black and white terrier (breed should really be called terror, that would be a bit more accurate).  He was great when we picked him out--listening to the commands and acting all cute.  Yeah, quite the act. Cooper became my son's dog, and he was supposed to be the trainer of him.  But you can't train stupid. Damn dog would get carsick and puke all over the car.  It was disgusting.  We couldn't take him anywhere.  And then there was the inevitable turning point when Cooper decided to get out of his kennel one night and into Brandon's paint markers.  Granted it wasn't the dog's fault, but still.  I woke up to the sounds of my son's yelling and ran into his bedroom.  The ENTIRE carpet was covered in paint, as was the dog.  The blinds on his window were chewed to the core, the white of his fur was now purple and pink and blue and green.  I wanted to kill them both.  After marching the dog to the Denver Dumb Friends League, I received the $1500.00 bill to repair the damages.  Yeah.  Not a good day.  I sure can pick them!

I went pet free for quite sometime after the Cooper Calamity, until I met and married my husband.  We were setting up house and talked about having a dog.  He wanted a German Shepard--I said HELL NO!  I'm terrified of those dogs.  He found a Dutch Shepard from a breeder--there's only about 1000 of this type of breed in the US.  I was a bit skeptical, because the breed still looks a bit scary to me.  But I agreed to go and meet this 6 month old puppy that he found.  His name was Gator.  The moment I met Gator, I will admit, I fell in love just a bit.  He looked intimidating, but was so gentle.  Plus he actually listened.  He didn't pull on the leash when we walked him.  I take zero credit when it comes to how well-behaved our Gates is.  He's a trained dog, and I love it.  There's none of the chewing on our stuff or the eating of the walls.  He doesn't crap in the house, and has never peed in it either.  He sleeps in his kennel and eats twice a day.  I didn't know this type of well-behaved, well-manner creature existed.  Our little baby Gates does have his own idiosyncrasies, which I find absolutely adorable.  For instance, he snores.  Really snores.  Between Gates and my husband, I personally get no sleep!  He sits on the corners before crossing the street and I (yes, I) taught him how to give me his paw.

Last night when I heard about Casey, my heart sunk a bit for Christine.  She's had her baby for 15 years.  And although there's times when Casey's driven her crazy, she loved that dog like none other.  I let my baby Gates onto our bed last night (a rarity for him) and hugged him just a bit harder.  Gates has been in our lives for 2 years, and I can't imagine losing him.  He's made his way into our family--I even call him Gator Frederick Collins, Jr. when he's in trouble.  He knows when he hears his full name he'd better just stop whatever it is he's doing or else.  I hope, I pray, that our family is so lucky to have another 13 years with our baby.  

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