Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Perfect Dog

At one point, Nicky and I considered what we wanted if we were ever to adopt a dog. Because we have physical disabilities, we wanted a dog that was not large and would not pull excessively. We weren't sure if our cats would take to a dog, so we considered getting a dog that could spend time outdoors. (This is something we would no longer consider after what we now know about dogs that spend too little time socializing with their people!)

I liked the long haired dogs, just as I prefer the long-haired cats -- and so, of course, we have three short-haired, one medium-haired and one long-haired cat. I had fallen in love with Kirby (Loteki's Supernatural Being) the diminutive Papillion who won Westminster Best in Show in the late 1990s. Nicky had had a Cocker Spaniel when she was growing up.

Then we found Eve. We didn't choose her. We didn't spend hours agonizing over whether she would be the right dog for us or temperamentally suited to us. We didn't know if she would get along with cats -- and she was the ugliest dog we had ever seen! She was also dying of starvation and was too weak to walk very far on her own.

She needed us -- and that, for us, became our definition of the "perfect dog." She learned to get along with the cats -- she still lives in fear of Mu Mu, but Yin Yang is her "puppy." She pulls way too much for us but she has tracked down and eaten three gentle leader collars -- to the point of finding them in drawers and getting them out and destroying them.

For goodness' sake, she's a HOUND! A big, galumphy, 60 pound brindle lady with a bawl, chop and bay that sound like a set of mezzo-soprano bells ringing out in the valley (if she's outside) or echoing in my head, if she's in my face and wants me to get out of bed and either feed her or let her out!


Honestly, though, there are fewer prettier sounds than her howl. She is alive and healthy and confident. She loves sitting or lying on the couch with us to watch television. She sleeps in the bed with me or lies at my feet. When Nicky is not feeling well, Eve is there to put her chin on Nicky's leg as they lie on the couch.

She is recovering from her fear of thunderstorms -- instead of making her "go away" in her head and shake like she has a fever, she now either lies on the bed with me and goes to sleep during thunderstorms or she goes into my closet, where she almost fits, and lies down to sleep in the dark.

In other words, she is the perfect dog -- and we had nothing to do with choosing her. All we had to do was say yes to her when we found her.

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