Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Dog Story

Thing One is going to be eight years old in about three weeks, which alone is hard to believe, but there it is. And all he has wanted for this eighth birthday is A Dog. It's what he's been asking for since his seventh birthday.

The Wife is allergic to dogs, or so she says. Personally, I think it's just a ruse to avoid having to be forced to own a dog. She is very definitely a cat person. And we have owned cats at various points in our time together. But the dog years are upon us now, and there's really not much she can do about it--other than, you know, break a child's heart.

To make the whole Dog Thing more palatable for her, I did my due diligence and searched the Internet for various kinds of hypoallergenic dogs (of which there are a shocking number of breeds, actually). We looked over the list together.

Round 1: The Wife said Poodle. I said Hell no. I've known poodles. I despise poodles. She thinks it's just the haircuts that bother me. It's not. It's them.

Round 2: I said Wheaten Terrier, and I found a local breeder of Wheaten Terriers, and I bought a book for Thing 1 about Wheaten Terriers (okay--a tiny bit manipulative on my part, I admit it). The Wife responded by saying, "How about if we rescue a dog from the humane society? I don't have the time or patience for a puppy, with everything else I have to do, and you know I'm the one who's going to end up taking care of it when you travel."

I cleverly sidestepped the guilt-trip (come on now--my mother was a world-class expert at guilt. You've got to throw down harder than that to catch me up), by saying, "Humane society? What happened to needing a hypoallergenic dog?"

She didn't have a particularly good response to that--and still doesn't--but I checked all the pet rescue sites for the Tucson area and found nothing but Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans...which probably tells you more than you need to know about the Tucson area.

But a few days ago, The Wife stopped by the humane society and happened upon a sweet black Lab (mixed with a bit of Chow, we think) who had been abandoned by its owners and taken to the shelter by a kind neighbor. The next morning, we brought the boys to meet this dog. The boys liked her. I remained unmoved. My heart was still set on a puppy. But we went back again later in the day and took the dog for a walk. And eventually I caved, and home she came. She looked to be about a year old, but the vet later said she wasn't more than six months. The vet loved her. Everyone loved her. She is a calm and sweet soul.

Thing 1 fell in love with her--and so did Thing 2, for that matter. Thing 1 renamed her Rosie, arguing thusly: Mommy's name is a flower, and the dog is a girl, and she and Mommy are the only girls in the family, so she should have a flower name, too."

And all was well and good in the home.

Until the very next morning, when Rosie tunnelled under the fence and disappeared.

I walked the neighborhood and drove the neighborhood--over and over again. To no avail. Our house is surrounded by dry washes--dried-up riverbeds that snake around and feed into each other all over town (and which fill up in a heartbeat during monsoon season). If the dog had wandered down into the wash, she could have ended up...anywhere. "God only knows," said The Wife. "She's not the sharpest knife in the drawer."

But she had a microchip ID, and a name tag with our phone number, so we hoped for the best. And we waited.

And we waited.

The next morning, we got a call from a lovely woman who had found our dog. She was, in fact, the old neighbor lady who had originally brought the dog to the humane society. When I MapQuested her address, I discovered that she lived down by the airport...over seventeen miles from our house. And that's a straight shot down the highway. Who knows what circuitous route Rosie took down there? But she did it.

Well, she's home now, and the fence is more secure, and we're hoping that, as the days go on, she'll settle in and decide that this is home. She certainly seems fond of the boys, and is as kind and sweet and friendly a dog as you'd ever hope to meet.
And, as I said to The Wife when we got the call from the old neighbor, "Say what you like about this dog, but one thing she most definitely is not, is stupid."

One thing she most definitely is, is loved.


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Agathon said...

Absolutely, Charlie. Be my guest.