I saw a Robin today, which can only mean one thing: The traditional human springtime rituals are about to commence. This includes cleaning house, openeing windows and my favorite of all, preparing the garden. Mom has been pouring through seed catalogs for weeks. All of these activities insure she’ll be spending plenty of quality time with me. We had a wonderful weekend planned.
Unbeknownst to me, our plans were slowly unraveling as there was an army of terriers coming our way. The first intrusion on my blissful weekend: My Auntie L’s foster dog Sammy.
Her request for a sitter, strategically highlighting the word “housebroken,” sent Mom running for the phone. “I’ll take him” she volunteered, breathless from the sprint.
Sammy the Terrier arrives at 6 pm. A cute mild mannered gentleman, he tips his head in my direction and says “Hello.” I stand before him and bow, indicating: you are interesting to me and I’d like to know more about you. I study him closely: He has the even keeled personality of a dog that’s known love; I can smell it. He walks nicely on a leash, never jumps up, and sleeps quietly in a crate. Mom thinks he just might be the best-behaved dog she has ever met
Figuring he’ll be no trouble at all, I decide to spend the weekend finding out all there is to know about this mysterious little fellow. This turns out to quite a challange because, an hour later, Razzle and Blue come charging through the door.
Enter “Quiet Weekend Disruption” number 2: my crazy Yorkies cousins.
With a fierce determination they bounce into the air, furiously hurling their little bodies at Tommy and Mom with typical terrier enthusiasm (similar to a cyclone but with less collateral damage). There is no power on earth strong enough stop this phenomenon I call “relentless bombardment.” You just have sit back and let the frenzy runs its course.
Once the bouncing abates the licking begins-Razzle and Blue happen to have a serious licking obsession. On any given day, they give Moms face about 20000 licks apiece. While it may seem cute at first, by lick number 417 she is usually pushing them away begging them to stop, to no avail. In their defense, it’s hard to take someone seriously when they are giggling their fool head off.
But the laughing comes to a screeching halt when both dogs take a flying leap and land smack dab in the middle of the kitchen table.
This is a serious infraction Dear Readers, even at our house. On the International Scale of Bad Doggie Behavior, jumping onto the table weighs in at a 10. I have never even attempted such a thing. Tommy, bellows an earth shattering, “HEY,” and they tumble down, unfazed.
Sammy and I glance at each other and sigh. “Kids,” I remark nonchalantly. What can ya do?” Sammie agrees.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Razzle, once she calms down. Blue is another story. Becasue of his uncanny resemllence to a teddy bear, everyone thinks he’s just adorable. “Isn’t he the cutest thing ever” they exclaim while tossing him into the air, “It’s like he doesn’t have a bone in his body, look at him flop around!” I didn’t know the boneless teddy bear look was in such high demand. While he may be appealing to humans, I find his cuteness unnecessarily directs attention to him that rightly belongs to me. He also happens to have an utter disregard for one’s personal space. He lays right next to me when I’m trying to relax, which is often, and is not satisfied unless his adorable snout is exactly one millimeter away from my face.
With 4 dogs in the house and only a few rugs remaining, Mom worries a lot about accidents. This is understandable, for while Sammie and I have normal bathroom habits (1 poop and 3 good pees a day), Razzle and Blue like to ration out their bodily functions. Each time we go outside, they squeeze out a peanut sized turd and exactly 2 drops of pee, resulting in a sharp increase in our daily potty breaks.
So that first morning, Mom gets us up at 5am. In my opinion, this hour is suitable for neither man nor beast and apparently Mom agrees because after a short jaunt through the backyard, she lays down on the couch (so not to wake Tommy). All 4 of us pile on top, even Sammy who gently takes his place at her feet. “What a treat!” we all whisper as we snuggle in.
She wakes up at 7 to find Blue asleep on her head. His floppy body draped over her neck like a furry boneless scarf and his snout exactly 1 millimeter from her face.
That evening, after all us dogs found a spot to settle and Mom is in the middle of a fascinating discussion with Tommy:
“ I could totally win an ice cream sandwich eating contest,” she proclaims with conviction. “Uh huh.” he feigns interest, eyes glued to the TV.
I hear a small noise outside that seems moderately worthy of bringing to everyone’s attention. With out even lifting my head, I half-heartedly mumble “woof.”
Instantly, the other three perk up and in succession let out a percussive series of barks. Then, for no reason at all, I give a second, more animated “woof” and again they answer: “bark, bark, bark.”
“Whoa, that was cool” I say to no one in particular.
I try it about 7 more times, with similar results, until an irritated Mom shushes us.
Whenever Mom leaves the room, I tumble after her and follow along. This is nothing new; I have been doing it all my life. But tonight-the other 3 follow suit like lemmings. We are a tiny herd of elephants thundering behind her, nails clicking on the hardwood floor. Tommy says we look more like a herd of rodents. Either way, I find it exhilarating and take the lead.
That’s when it dawns on me; I am part of a pack for the first time in my life. A real live dog pack! And, much to my surprise and delight, some latent instinct has produced a pecking order and placed me on top. I am the pack leader, the head honcho, the top dog, the captain of the ship (you get the idea).
Below is a picture of my pack charging for the back door. I’m the handsome one at the top left. If you don’t look too closely, we might be mistaken for wolves.
I spend the next day exercising my God given rights as the pack leader. I sit on the best bed, drink from the water bowl first and generally boss everyone around.
On our last day together, Mom sings while she gets our dinner ready. The tune sends Razzle and Blue into an instant tizzy, jumping into the air, trying to plant mid air kisses on her face.
I roll my eyes toward Sammy,” kids” I complain.
But he doesn’t’ respond and I look over to see he is crying.
Sammie is remembering singing.
This is the story Sammy told me (as best I as I can remember):
Someone once sang to Sammy, it was a Man that he adored. Because the Man had gray hair he didn’t have to leave the house to go to work anymore and they were together all day and night. They ate together; walked together and slept together. It was a glorious life. Since all they had was each other it broke Sammie’s heart to watch by helplessly as the Man’s health started failing. A devoted Sammy sat by his Man’s side for months gently resting beside his aching body until one day, no longer able to care for himself; he had to be taken away. He still remembers that day and how he wondered why he couldn’t go too. He tried to cry out, but as it is our curse, they couldn’t hear him. His Man sang to him, tears in his eyes, as they wheeled him out the door.
Sammy was taken to the shelter that same day, his heart broken.
This memory gets Sammy to thinking that no one will ever sing to him again and that maybe he could stay here, if we didn’t mind
I lick his face and assure him.
“Auntie L saved you from that shelter for the sole purpose of finding you a new family. This is her specialty, you know. She certainly won’t pick any old family that comes along, she’ll wait for the perfect match. This, I solemnly swear.” I say it with authority, and being the newly appointed pack leader, he relaxes and starts to imagine the possibilities.
Within a few hours, the terriers were gone.
The house is quiet once again and I lay at Moms feet while she sorts through the seed packets that just arrived. While glad for the peace, I can’t stop thinking about Sammie He was the first dog I could truly imagine sharing my life with.
So, if you are reading this Auntie L, I have a request please: “when you work your adoption magic this time around, can you try and find a man that sings?”