That DAMN puppy’s keepin’ me awake.

4 Jan

It only took us ten years of hemming and hawing. We’re like that. It took us seven years of dating to get engaged. Seven years of marriage to have a baby. We inherited our first dog, Tater, after my mom’s arm ended up on the wrong end of a yorkie fight. So we didn’t have any time to think it over. She just landed in our laps — literally and figuratively. Pearl, the tailless wonder cat, came around year four of wedded bliss as I was plotting a golden retriever rescue for an anniversary present.

The hubby couldn’t have been more thrilled to end up with a teeny little kitty who promptly jumped into his dinner plate and left a kitty print in his mashed potatoes. Best. Anniversary. Present. Ever. But seriously. There weren’t any goldens around at the HSBV, so blame my mom for leading me into the cat area — “just to look.”pearl

Which brings me back to my childhood. I can’t even count how many times we took a ride out to the country and came home with a kitten, puppy, bird.

My first dog was Dude. Long-haired dachshund/teeny baby puppy. My first love. Yes, Beige Nuisance (the cat) came first for sure, but my parents were never 100% clear on what fate befell her. So Dude came along — rather quickly — to fill the void.

I remember her so clearly. We were living in married student housing at Wake Forest University (which, translated, means a super posh single-wide courtesy of my grandparents) and every picture of that era was of Dude in my dad’s lap in the red chair (yes, THAT, red chair) while he studied. Or Dude outside with me in the blow up pool.

Dude disappeared mysteriously too, but I was only three, so what did I know.

When we moved back to Flotown, we immediately adopted Tipper from the pound (just stick with me, this was the 70s and that’s what we called it). My parents called her a Heinz 57. (And I did love that sauce.) I can’t remember the whole story there, but my dad pissed off the pound president which lead to Tipper being taken from our yard and put up for adoption ON TV that very day. Never saw her again. But her adorable mutt face was seared on my brain and I’ve been searching for it ever since.

We finally got our golden “just like Molson!” about a year after Pearl. We had fallen head-over-heals for the breed after a long weekend with Uncle Jim and Aunt Diana’s dear one. We took her for runs by Lake Michigan, had naps with her in the hammock. It was true love.

Like I said, we were a little sidetracked by the cat. But it worked out better because it gave us a chance to move into an actual house. With a yard. Not that it mattered.

If you’ve ever read the book, Marley and Me, you already have a rough insight into what havoc our Ruby wrought. And if you haven’t, well, let’s just say the stories will fill a FREAKING BOOK.

We rescued her from Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies. She’d been relieved of her duties as punching bag at a trailer park in Golden. And they had me at trailer park.

I drug the hubby down to ‘just see her’ with him kicking and screaming. As a one pet at a time devotee, he was not super sold on having THREE.ruby's 1st day

She took me for a quick-pull-your-arm-out-of-the-socket walk and my heart was in. The hubby made us drive away to think it over and she cried as hard as I did. Of course I went back the very next day to pick her up.

(I’ll never forget Sarah bringing over a bottle of Tynant water and an organic bone to properly introduce her to Boulder.)

And so began the Ruby Era. A time in which none of our friends wanted to speak to us. We nearly divorced. And our neighbors were ready to march us out of town with torches.

There was the ALL FOUR PAWS ON THE BRAND NEW DINING TABLE incident. Followed by the ROLL DOWN THE WINDOW IN THE CRONINS’ CAR AND LEAP OUT AT THE STOPLIGHT while we watched helplessly from a car behind. (Shannon grabbed her tail and hauled her back at the very last minute.) Along with her first time off leash in the park, in which she promptly BOLTED and ran further than the eye could see. After an hour of searching, crying, prepping to call the rescue org and admit defeat, the hubby found her rooting through the dumpster at the middle school.  He pretended to root through too and all it took was one, “YUM! THIS IS DELICIOUS!” and she came running over within grab-the-collar-reach. Gotcha suckah.

She was collared by the Lafayette PD while I was recovering from my first c-section. My brother in tears as he searched the streets for the canine fugitives, Jackson (his airedale) and Ruby. Then, new baby/slash through the mid-section, I get a call.

After she came home, we had to schedule an emergency fence-building when I was hog-tied by her — new babe in arms. She would get so excited when I came out to take her off of the lead that she’d run in circles. It was winter, I was in my bathrobe and the baby was two weeks if that. Yea. Not good.

So with irate neighbors (from insane barking), a hubby she would barely tolerate (barking at him the moment he came home from work until bedtime) and me at my wit’s end, we were cured of new pets for the long haul.

Tater died peacefully on our back deck at the hand of a gentle, humane vet when miss-miss was two. My heart cracked so wide I couldn’t bear to scatter her ashes for over six years. Luckily, T-Lovin had immortalized her in song. Never forgotten sweet girl.

The talk of another puppy started then. Right along with another human puppy. Both were stalled out by multiple neuroses and weak-in-the-knees fear of adding anything else to our full-to-overflowing lives.

The hubby had made a snip appointment with Dr. Wiener (not kidding, can’t make that up) when I panicked and called for an emergency counseling session. The bean was born about 14 months later. And the puppy talk jumped straight off of the cliff.

Miss-miss started in at about the age of three. We’d point to Ruby and she’d shrug. A friend would get a puppy and she would say, “Why can’t we get a DOG?!” We’d point to Ruby and shrug.

The hubby was mid-way through chemo (Jan. 2011), feeling well enough for a business trip when Pearly walked around the corner looking stiff and weird. He flew out as I raced to the vet. By the end of that day, I had handcuffed Purse Girl to me and said, “YOU are freaking going with me to to do this.” As P-kitty took her very last breath, PG patted her and said, “Bye Pearl.” If I hadn’t had hubby cancer to distract me, I may have never come back from that. She was my heart.

I think about a minute later, I discovered the wirehaired pointing griffon. Or maybe it was before. During those ten or so stagnant years when we cowered in fear. It didn’t matter that I’d weaned a still-suckling siamese who’d had diarrhea IN MY HAIR the first night home and she slept in my bed. Or that I was nine the first time I wrapped a tick-tock alarm clock in a towel to quiet the teeny cock-a-poo who wouldn’t stop crying unless I picked her up in the night.

I’d married a one-at-a-time pet owner who was shaking in his shoes. “But, we LOVE to travel! Why get another?!?” He was finally in his comfort zone (and battling cancer), so I wrote the breeder and said, “We have to wait.”

I knew in my bones I’d found THE DOG. We were quite over vacuuming up golden retriever hair worthy of about 100 sweaters a million times a day. And the golden doodles were becoming so very popular. Visions of Tipper’s face still danced in my head.

And it was in my search for THAT FACE that I discovered it. Then met one. Then became OBSESSED. The guy who re-upholstered all of Mima’s chairs owned two. And those faces were more than I could bear.

The uphill fight was with us being NON-HUNTERS. The breeders were all very committed to the HERITAGE OF THE BREED. They gave the stink eye to anyone wanting a griff who didn’t hunt. ‘Cause that DOG WILL HUNT.

I let it go (on the surface) for a good year. We traveled. Celebrated being past cancer treatment. Re-modeled our house. Became overly anal because WE HAD A NEW COUCH. And a few weeks ago, I called ‘T.’  My girls weren’t growing up like I’d planned. With an animal menagerie that teaches you about life, death and how to treat another being. How an animal will love you even if you just made an ‘F’ on a test.

Every so often, my mother would say, “I’m getting the girls a puppy.” And I’d say, YOU BETTER FREAKING NOT!

I’d resigned myself to one-dog-ness. But not. I’d show the hubby a pic. Troll the BVHS website. Look at golden doodles. Lose my shit every time I dropped off/picked up a chair from Tim and saw THOSE DAWGS.

Yes, I’m southern. So, yes, there’s something about a bird dawg that makes me go wacky.

Fast-forward to Dec. 2012. Purse Girl was getting a dog. I was plotting, but couldn’t say. Those breeders would never agree. I’d have to start shooting some shit to get my way. The girls said, “We don’t want ANYTHING for Christmas except a PUPPY.” The hubby said, ‘Hells to the NO.”

See, I wasn’t getting just ANY dawg. I was getting THE DAWG. I’d had a notes file made on my Mac for over SIX YEARS. Top of the list? MABEL. MAY-BELLE.

Then my mom told my cousin my name. She got a spaniel. Named her Mabel. And the burn was intensified tenfold.

So on Dec. 30th when I got an email from a griff breeder in Ft. Collins, I died. D-I-E-D. This HAD TO HAPPEN. Her litter, all sold before birth, now had one FEMALE AVAILABLE. Holy-shit-on-a-shingle. We were gettin’ us THE DAWG.

I had a million questions. Would she really be happy in a family that doesn’t hunt? Would we be able to handle her? The breeder was AH-MAZING. Not only did she have a griff that she didn’t hunt, she ADORED her and said she was the BEST FAMILY DOG EVER. My heart leaped. I texted the hubby a picture.

He came home from running errands and said, “This is a done deal, huh?” I meekly replied, “Yes.” He said, “Are you going to get up with it all night?” I said, “No. We WILL NOT get her if that’s how you feel. We have to be in this. TOGETHER.”

He said, “I’m in. That’s one freaking CUTE puppy.”IMG_2546

Today he said, “I think I’m going to hunt some BIRDS. With MABEL.”

True that. Tipper, I did you proud little girl.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Birds. Blue Dogs. “Birds, they’re looking pretty cute.
Birds, I see ’em, I shoot.”

 

TITLE CREDIT: Uncle Stu. We’ll never forget you or Fludd. Our family has always been the craziest of crazy when it comes to those DAMN puppies…

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One Response to “That DAMN puppy’s keepin’ me awake.”

  1. Elizabeth January 5, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    There is somehting about that Simmonds gene —-love the new family addition–you know we have 4 dogs and 7 cats and I feed about 5 more feral cats a day—-Rob was a one pet at a time owner as well butt—–…it happens. the oldest is 18 years old

    Like

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