Yesterday, I wrote about the whole cat people vs. dog people thing. Today, I thought I’d introduce you to the canines who hold my heart in their fuzzy little paws.
Jake & Daphne
In November 2003, I moved back home for the first time since I was 17. I wanted to save up for a house, and my parents decided to help me out by giving me a place to live and work. That Christmas, the three of us drove to a rural patch of Maryland to pick out two schnoodle pups. When we got there, we were taken to a barn. The seller opened a door and let in a bunch of puppies and told us to pick out the ones we wanted. Looking back, we’re pretty sure the outfit was a small step up from a puppy mill. But at the time, all we could see was their cute, fuzzy faces.
Daphne was hands-down the prettiest puppy I ever saw in my whole life. I couldn’t stop staring at her on the ride home. And Jake?
Well, he peed on my shoe.
They are funny dogs. Jake always looks a little depressed. I call him Eeyore. He loves playing with bouncy balls. In fact, one time when we got tired of playing ball with him, he ran up the stairs with one in his mouth, spit it out at the top landing, and then chased after it. And then did it again. And again.
Daphne sometimes acts like more of a cat – like she can’t be bothered with you. She’s moody and at times neurotic. For a while, they had to give her Prozac daily, to keep her from gnawing at her paw, OCD-style. (I forgot to mention that Jake has massive panic attacks whenever there’s a thunderstorm and/or fireworks. It’s bad enough that my mom used to have to give him Valium to keep him from having a complete meltdown. The holistic stuff, like the squeeze machine shirts, just didn’t work.)
Jake was totally a mama’s boy, and Daphne is definitely daddy’s little girl. I love them both like crazy. I helped raise them from tiny fluff balls into grown up doggies. I was the one who removed Daphne’s first tick. The one who took Jake’s temperature when he had his first cold. When I eventually bought my house and moved out, I would come back to my mom’s almost every night just to see the dogs.
Chester was a new edition to the family. My mom brought him back from Florida, after a month-long visit with her neighbor and close friend Charlotte, who has a summer house down there. She saw him at some sort of craft bazaar – a pet adoption thing – and fell in love with him. He’d been badly abused before he got rescued, and he needed a lot of attention.
After my mom passed, my stepfather Mark found it difficult to care for all three dogs on his own. He commutes to his job and is out of the house a lot of the day. So, he hired a dog walker to come each afternoon. Even with the extra help, Chester struggled. He still wasn’t fully housebroken. Mark realized Chester needed more attention than he had to give and tried to find him a new home. There were no takers.
This summer, Mark went to visit his family in Connecticut and asked me to watch the three dogs. I of course said yes. Chester was mostly housebroken by that time, which helped. He was kind of obsessed with me, though; whenever he and Jake and Daph would come stay with me, Chester would sit in my lap and constantly try to lick my face. He’d kick Jake away from me. He wanted me all to himself.
When Wendy came over for our Friday night scrapbooking date, she met Chessie for the first time. And, like my mother, she felt instantly in love. Later she texted me, “If Mark’s still looking for a home for Chester, tell him I’ll take him.”
So, the following week, Chester found a new forever home with the Kinnas. They love him and Wendy spoils him rotten…which is exactly what he needed. They recently added another rescued wire-haired dachshund to the clan: Toby. All dogs are happy and thriving at Case de Kinna.
My baby. The World’s Cutest Dog. The first month of his life, I wanted to wring his tiny neck. He bit me. A lot. I would have to hold him in one hand every time I took out the trash, because if I didn’t, he’d escape through the front door and I’d have to chase him across the neighborhood. He was crazy hyper and I was certain he was untrainable. Whenever I went to leave the house, he’d have a complete canine meltdown. I remember going to see the vet and saying, “You’re going to have to give him something to calm him down. He’s crazy. It’s like we’re not on the same team!”
The vet talked me down. He gave me some tricks to try for Scout’s separation anxiety. He told me Scout would grow out of this phase. I didn’t believe him.
He was right.
Now, at nine, Scout can still be hyper. Strangers always ask, “How old is your puppy?” and I’ll say, “Nine,” and they assume I mean months, not years. And he still hates it whenever we leave the house. About a year or so ago, he started biting us on the ass whenever we walked out the door. He’s definitely a pack dog. If it were up to him, Joe and I would be total shut-ins.
These are not the only dogs I’ve ever had or loved, but they’re the ones who populate my now. And they are why I am and always will be a bone-a fido dog person.