I have long believed that dogs are a reflection of their owners. Ellie, our first baby, lived a long and glorious seventeen years as the gold standard, never to be imitated perfect dog. My husband and I got her for “free” in college with mange mites and a vet bill that sent us both begging for money from our parents (thankfully my parents are suckers for dogs). We rescued Susie, who lived to sixteen, from a woman who found her tied to a pole with no identification. She was by far our cutest dog, however whomever had her for the first year of her life did a real number on her and she proved to be our most challenging dog. Rudy hopped into the backseat of our car after we found him running in the middle of a heavily trafficked road. The Rude Man passed away at fifteen.
Our ragtag dogs from early in our marriage are an example of how my husband and I operate. We’re just shy of being groomed, a little bit “ruff” around the edges and we’re happier spending an evening with pizza and beer than we would be at a five star restaurant. In short, we’re a couple of mutts.
Just before Susie and Rudy joined Ellie in heaven, we went to Pet Smart to “look” at the puppies up for adoption. We came home with Hershey, a chocolate brown mutt with a long body, short legs and an extra toe on her back hind paw. Within the hour, we were back at Pet Smart for a crate and some supplies and came home with Hershey’s sister, Snickers, a shorter bodied and stockier version of Hershey with light brown hair and the most gorgeous green eyes we’d ever seen. It was hard to say who was happier that Snickers was heading home with us—Hershey, or my two children.
Hershey and Snickers have very different personalities that are oddly similar to my husband and me. Hershey (me) is what we now term “a head case.” She is smarter than Snickers (my husband) and with that smarts comes a healthy dose of caution. On Wednesday mornings, our neighborhood trash pickup day, only Snickers gets a walk because Hershey refuses to go. Those trash trucks are up to no good and she doesn’t want any part of all that noise. But she also loves to pick through our trash cans, so maybe she’s just mad at them for taking all the trash away. Snickers doesn’t care for the noise of the trash trucks either, but come on, it’s a walk…
Hershey also watches television. Snickers will gladly lay with us (or more likely on us) when we’re watching TV, but Hershey is tuned in, especially when there are animals. I never realized how many shows and commercials feature animals until Hershey’s antics made us all take note. She demands love when she wants it and otherwise prefers to be left alone.
Snickers embodies all that is wonderful about being a dog. She gives love with everything she’s got. She barks when she’s scared, cries out when she’s truly happy and unless she’s asleep or scared, she’s always happy. On our daily walks, when she sees a particularly appealing shady spot in the grass, she plops down, rolls over and indulges in a back rub/happy dance while Hershey and I wait until she’s done. When it’s time to eat, she comes and finds us and stares at us until we receive her mental mind message: IT IS TIME TO FEED ME!
Every time I pass a couple of well behaved dogs prancing along the sidewalk at the heels of their owners, I wonder why my dogs can’t behave that way as they drag me along (and I do mean drag) at whatever pace they set. Yes, I know I should work with them, but darn it, I just don’t have time. I guess a couple of mutts are destined to raise a couple of mutts. Go figure!
If you have a minute, I’d love to hear about your dogs…