Saturday, November 15, 2008

I wanna be a golden retriever

One of the Executive Directors in my building brought her chihuahua to work one day last week. He's a cute little thing, but true to the nature of male chihuahuas, he thinks he's ruler of the universe. He marked his territory repeatedly throughout the day. He peed in front of every office door and left a little chihuahua poo in front of mine. Not sure how I got that honor. I actually thought it was funny since I wasn't the one on my knees trying to clean up after him.

It reminded me of the chihuahua we had in Phoenix named Peanut. He was definitely a territory marker. He also challenged the biggest dogs in the neighborhood like he was going to tear them to pieces, until one day a huge German shepherd just calmly picked Peanut up in his mouth and shook him. Peanut was a little more judicious about his challenges after that.

Dogs have been a big part of our family, but it's not like we started out with that in mind. Neither Mark nor I grew up in big dog or animal-loving families. Not having grown up with dogs as a central part of the family, I'm always fascinated by their personalities. Oh they do have personalities. And you can kind of follow our family's history by our dogs.

Olathe - Sandy, a blond cocker spaniel that could climb any fence invented by man. High maintenance, narcissistic female with boundary issues. She would put herself between 4 year old Angela and the back door and not let her in the house. Sandy went to live on a farm. (Really!)

New York - Shilo came from the local shelter. Free thinking female averse to following rules. When we walked in the door of the shelter another family with little girls about my girls ages was dropping Shilo off. Their landlord no longer allowed pets so Shilo went right back out the door with us. Many hours were spent chasing her down in the little burg in the Catskills where we lived. Shilo went to live with Aunt Shari when we moved to Bulgaria and eventually chose a life on the road.

Bulgaria - No family pet, just lots of stray dogs that liked to bite. Tough, mafia types that talked big but responded well to big sticks or a swift kick with a boot.

Phoenix - Mark worked at PetsMart's headquarters and one day took the girls to a local PetsMart while I was at work. Peanut was there waiting to be adopted. We weren't really supposed to have pets in our rented townhouse, but how can you say no to two little girls snuggling with a tiny animal with his toenails painted blue? As far as personalities go, Peanut had a Napoleon complex. Small male, really big ego. When he wasn't giving directives to the neighborhood dogs, he spent most of his days shivering under a blanket, even though we lived in Phoenix! He was also terrified of thunderstorms. Tessa convinced Mr. Mooberry, her 3rd grade teacher, to let her call me at work. She was crying and very concerned that it was storming and Peanut would be upset. I assured her I could NOT leave work to go comfort the dog. Seriously, Mr. Mooberry! Some little blond chick had you wrapped around her little finger!

Johannesburg - After our tearful departure from Peanut (went to a single woman who pampered him shamelessly), we promised Tessa we could get another dog. This time we decided to actually get a puppy rather than a full-grown dog from a shelter. Unlike most of Africa, South Africa is very developed with plenty of shopping available. So we just went down to the mall and picked out a little scotty dog. Tessa promptly named him Dooley after the boy in Jan Karon's Mitford series. Having never experienced the "joys" of puppyhood, Mark was back at the pet store within 48 hours determined to send Dooley back where he came from. Fortunately, the pet store wasn't open yet, and Dooley was trembling in terror at the thought of having to return to that place. He broke Mark's heart and home came Dooley. He was a delight, but full of mischief. He was also The neighbor girl who had a disability that made clear speech difficult could oh so clearly say the word "humping". We had to leave Africa unexpectedly, and Dooley happily went to live with our young pastor and his wife, Maranatha and Allison.

Oklahoma - Of course we promised Tessa a new dog. I can really relate to the Obama family! Raising one puppy was enough for a lifetime, so we drove to Tulsa to pick out a dog from a lab rescue organization. Winnie is half lab, half golden retriever. There was never a more loyal personality, eager to please and eternally patient. Her only dislikes are the mailman and men in hats. Otherwise she's content to spend her days in the backyard hunting squirrels, or sleeping at our feet. Oh to be so accepting of life. We had thought of getting her a buddy, but then Riley and Angela found a stray little Beagle mixed with something else. She has taken up residence at our house and Winnie has done most of the puppy training for us. She's curious, determined and emotional, not to mention cute.

Know anyone with these personalities? I often wonder what God had in mind when he created dogs. Did He intend them to be man's best friend?

Now cats. They're just the spawn of Satan.

1 comment:

Extreme Educators said...

I think you should add something about that dad-shaped entity in the corner of your picture.