My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet.Edith Wharton
The quote really says it all. I almost feel that anything I write will diminish the sentiment, and the sentiment is exactly what I want to say. I’ll try.
How can I begin to extol the virtues of my little bestie, Miss Annabelle? Anna-B, Anna-Banana, Little Miss Ticky-Ticky (the sound her toenails make on the hardwood). Again, I’ll try.
This little bundle of love came to us two and a half years ago. My intent was to have her be a therapy dog, and I still think we’ll get there – however, her personality is such that at this point in time, I think she still might be a little too, er, enthusiastic for that job. So, for now, she is the guardian of our little homestead and unofficial mayor of our local park, where we have many of our best walks! She would be an excellent greeter at Walmart. She is always, always, thrilled to see you. And, to see another dog. Always up for adventure. Always up, period.
When we announced that we were going to get a puppy, I found that our friends were in two distinct camps concerning our taking such a plunge at this time in our lives. They were either totally for it, or thought we were out of our minds. Turns out, both opinions were right.
When Anna came to us, we immediately knew she was very smart, and very stubborn. Potty training was a challenge. She just couldn’t be bothered. Ugh. I felt like I was going to lose it. Since I’m a bit of a germaphobe, this was, particularly, not acceptable. So, we duked it out for a while. I knew, as the Alpha, I had to win! Needless to say, she caught on. And, now, point of pride, she is on her potty game, and has been for a couple of years. The first 6 months were rough.
Also, she was an early riser. I’m an early riser, but maybe not as early as Anna was as a pup. 4:30, anyone? Again, Ugh! Puppies are not for the weak. Thank God my human bestie, Jean, worked at a veterinarian’s office (thank you, pal). I called her incessantly. I think she had as much anxiety as I did (whether for me or because of me – not sure – you’ll have to ask her). Despite all this, Anna and I bonded.
Before I wax on, I should give you some background. We already had three cats when we brought Anna to live with us. Two domestic shorthairs, rescued when they were three weeks old, supposedly for a “fostering” time. Snort! Clearly, the fostering excuse (which I actually convinced myself was true) was just a way for me to get them through the door. Their names are Sassy and Serenity, and they were born in an abandoned car. Humble beginnings. The next cat added was our big boy, Boz. Boz is a Ragdoll, gorgeous, and so full of himself that he can’t be bothered to clean his own fur. Sassy and Serenity tend to pin him down at some point during the day, and at least lick his face (until they are disgusted by his lack of disgust). Mr. G (my hubby) has a brushing ritual with Boz that takes care of the rest. So, Annabelle came home to an established society that had very little use for a whirlwind of wildness that liked to play “rough”.
Boz, however, surprised me. He and Anna-B became buds. So much so that when she was 5 months old he helped her escape from her crate while I was at the grocery store (we know this because, later that same week, he had the nerve to do it right in front of me – so cheeky!). While she was out “on the town” Anna ate a whole bowl of cat food. Copious nastiness ensued. Since that time, our girl has had a “tricky” stomach. So, the old crate was replaced with a new, inescapable one. So fun. And now the Jacuzzi tub in our master bath is used solely for the cats bowls – they can eat in peace there (the only place Anna can’t get to in our house is the Jacuzzi). Talk about your “fancy feast”! Again, SO fun!!!
Despite all our growing pains (and I’ve barely touched the surface here), our little nugget has become our constant companion and comforter. If I stub my toe, she’s there immediately with kisses. If she plays slightly too rough and I give a little “yip” she is completely apologetic. She knows tricks and can say “I Love You”. She is a Havanese, and they are nicknamed “Velcro dogs”. I have found this to be accurate. It helps that she’s the smartest dog in the world. Really.
My verdict about having a dog in this “next” act: Overwhelmingly Positive. We’ve traveled with her and had a blast, and have a wonderful dog-sitter that comes to stay with her when she can’t come along. Some of our lessons were hard-won. We now know that kibble just doesn’t cut it for her… it either is too good for her, so she’s not interested, or it’s tasty but too rich, and makes her sick. I now make her food in the crock pot. Turkey or chicken, spinach, carrot, the flesh of an apple (no core or seeds), and cooked rice added in at the end. I add a vitamin powder (Just Food for Dogs brand – I use their recipe for the food) and just a splash omega 3 oil (also by Just Food for Dogs). Easy-peasy. She loves it. Best of all, she doesn’t walk away in disgust or get sick after she eats it. It freezes well, and the recipe makes enough for 9-10 days (and that’s the half recipe!).
I realize that this decision, to have a dog, is highly personal. For us, it was the right one. I’m incredibly happy I did it, and so thrilled I got THIS dog. It was “meant to be with Anna-B”! I’d love to hear about your pup (or kitty) experiences! What’s your pet situation? I know some of you are active rescuers, some of you with organized groups, and I’d love to post links for my readers. You never know when you might meet your soul-pup or kitty bestie! Just respond here on the blog, and I’ll post them.
Coming up on Thursday, I’ll be back to give you the long-awaited update on Honey, Where’re my Eyebrows, and a new twist… Honey, Where’re my Eyelashes? You’ll not want to miss it. There are pictures. Until then, my friends!