I have owned dogs for almost half of my life. Some were bought, some were given, and two were inherited. Of the two inherited, only one is still with us, Stella. Stella is a “chichihuahua,” as my granddaughter used to call her. Chichihuahuas are not my favorite dogs, but Stinky-Stell’s been with us for 16 years and has won a place in my heart, mostly because of her sheer determination not to die. She’s not nasty with people or children, like some, but she is feisty with her doggy roommates. “Though she be but little, she is (truly) fierce”.
The other inherited dog was a personal favorite of mine, a 75 lb. female white boxer named Haven. I loved Haven. She literally ate 3 of our couches, was terrified and strong enough to break out of a metal crate, and was not housebroken until we fenced the yard and got a doggy door, though that last part wasn’t really her fault.
She was massive for a female boxer and most people thought she was a pit bull. Once while bringing her to Banfield Pet Hospital to pick up her medicine, people in the waiting area took their dogs and backed away from her. I understood. An older lady was in front of me in line. She rolled her eyes at the waiting room’s reaction and proudly told me, “I am not afraid of pit bulls.”
Should I tell her? I hated to burst her bubble, but I had to. “Well, actually, she’s not a pit bull. She’s a boxer.” The people in the waiting room relaxed. The lady in front of me was perplexed. “They come in white?”
When people came to the door, Haven would plaster herself on the little side windows and bark like a maniac. People would, understandably, back away. One UPS man would stand halfway down our driveway and slide our packages the rest of the way. Little did any of them know, that once they came into the house Haven would wiggle her butt and get her toys and was just thrilled that they were there. Stella, not so much, but somehow she was the one that everybody wanted to pet.
When Haven was almost 11, her back legs could no longer support her. The vet said it was time and we took her and stayed with her while she closed her eyes for the last time. It was sad, but I am convinced that I will see her and all of my dogs again. It may not be Scriptural, but I refuse to believe otherwise.
Once Haven was gone, I waited a little while but knew I needed another dog. My poor husband, not a lover of dogs, but truly a lover of me; was done with dogs. He was very content to let Stella live out her life as a single dog. I explained that I needed one more, that I needed my last dog to be one that I chose for myself. Because he’s a good man and understands his wife, he let me. Enter Phoebe…
I didn’t exactly want a Phoebe. I wanted a Norman. I have no idea why, but since my kids were little I’ve always wanted a big, old hound named, Norman. But then, while looking on Petfinder I saw a picture. This puppy was exactly what I pictured my last dog as being except for one thing, this puppy was a female. I asked if she had any male litter mates. She didn’t. Somehow that no longer mattered. I knew she was mine. I thought about calling her Norman, but didn’t want to get into the whole transgender thing, so I named her Phoebe.
She’s not exactly the big, old hound I wanted. In fact, she’s not big at all. She is the runt, but then, so am I. Instead of topping out at 60 lbs, she is barely scraping 40. This makes my husband very happy and since he let me have her, I’m glad he’s happy. After all, size isn’t everything and really, it’s not that big a deal.