Notes from the quirky life of a practicing contemplative (emphasis on "practicing"), teacher, learner, auntie, weirdo, and dog mama.
Title quote from "Aurora Leigh" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Thursday, May 27, 2010
the boys (and a girl)
No dog mama's blog is complete without at least some mention of the special furry ones in her life, and given my enjoyment of other people's posts about their own pooches (yours was great, Gina!) I figure there's at least one person out there who would love to hear about Chester, Oliver, and Tessa. If you are not that person, rejoice! You can click out of this page without awkward excuses such as, "I can't look at your vacation pics because I'm going to that exact same spot in a few weeks and I don't want to spoil the surprise." However, if you are not a dog lover, you are really missing out on one of the greatest joys and frustrations of life!
Okey doke. Chester came to me in 2000, a stray in a rainstorm rescued by a friend. We loved each other on sight, and we both seemed to know we belonged together. (No, I am not reading too much into this, it's true, I tell you!) He forgave me for his first bath...
but forgiveness for my leaving him to go to work every day took a little longer.
Chester is part Corgi, part who knows, and like a Corgi he has short legs. My mom ("Grandma") gave him his first favorite toy, a stuffed red dog named Andy.
I was in grad. school at the time and lived in a townhouse. Young, playful dogs and grad. school aren't always a good mix, but I got pretty good at throwing "curve Andys" - whenever Chester would bring me the toy to throw, I could turn in my computer chair and throw it out of the room and immediately left down the stairs. Then, while he ran to get Andy and bring him back, I spun back around to the computer and typed a few more words. This may be why it took me 3 years to complete a 2-year program.
Grandma's next gift was a great idea - for a taller dog. She gave him a frisbee, and when she threw it he chased it, ducked (nerves of steel, this one), picked it up, and immediately tripped over it. He's so short the frisbee dragged on the ground and got in his way. We tried turning the frisbee over, but then it stuck up in front of his face and he couldn't see, so we gave up on the frisbee (after watching him trip and run into things a few more times).
Chester loves the snow - must be the Welsh (Corgi) in him. Instead of walking in it, he hops around like a bunny with a big grin on his face - trust me, it's adorable. (Okay, no grin in this one, he's going for the looking-into-the-distance-pondering-the-meaning-of-life look.) (I really am not crazy - I just have too much time on my hands now that school's out.)
Chester's first doggy friend was a female poodle named Popcorn, who belonged to my sister-in-law. She was older, and a bit of a snob (the dog, not the sis-in-law). Actually, I think she just preferred not to associate with young male goofballs (obviously I still mean the dog; my sis-in-law married my brother).
For a few fun months my bro and sis-in-law lived in a townhouse across the parking lot from me, and Chester and I enjoyed going to their place for visits. One day Chester got in big trouble for something-or-other, and I started yelling at him and he ran out the open front door, across the parking lot, straight to "Uncle B and Aunt L's" door, and stood there, nose pressed as far as it would go into the crack between the door and the doorjamb, bouncing up and down on his toes and glancing from me (chasing him) to the door, to me, etc. I could just hear him thinking, "Come on, come ON!!!!" Unfortunately, Uncle B and Aunt L weren't home and were unable to provide sanctuary, but Chester didn't get into much trouble after all because I was laughing too hard.
Chester's next (and best) friend was a female terrier named Tessa, a rescue dog belonging to a friend of mine. Chester adored playing with Tessa - his favorite move was to get a good grip on her tail and yank it, which drove her nuts, which was what he was going for.
On this day I'd just returned from the store and was unloading the car when the dogs decided it was time for a ride. It took me forever to get them out of there; I think we ended up taking a trip around the block, then they leapt out happily and went back in the house. Probably poor dog-mothering skills, but it was easy. I don't know what Tessa's going for in that 2nd pic - maybe she thinks this is for the Dog Fancy swimsuit edition. Sadly, Tessa is no longer with us - she is missed!
Fast-forward a few years (stop that cheering and sighing with relief!) and my adventures with "Money" occurred (another post). After I gave back Money, I still wanted another dog, so I went to the Humane Society and the Animal Shelter. The last dog I saw was at the shelter, a dirty, scruffy mutt (who turned out to be a Lhasa Apso) who appeared to have given up, he seemed so depressed. I visited him 3 days in a row, once with Chester to see how he'd get along with another male, and on the last day (which was one day past his death date - they held him longer for me) Oliver greeted me with such joy and hope that the deal was sealed. After a bath, during which he escaped from the tub a few times, he cleaned up pretty well:
Chester and Oliver are your typical 1st and 2nd birth order "kids" - once C. learned a few rules and got comfortable with my leaving for work, I never had to discipline him. He lived to please. Then Oliver showed up, and Chester realized all the fun he could have been getting away with. And because I think it's cute when Oliver gets a tissue out of the trash and prances around the house with it like a Lipizzan horse, discipline flies out the window and I have completely lost the Alpha dog position. That's okay, though - I prefer to laugh.