All of our children’s lives we taught them the important rules of life…say your prayers; respect your elders; have a good attitude; always use the magic words; cover your mouth when you cough; use a tissue when you sneeze; never pick your nose in public; and never, never buy a dog from a pet store.
We thought we’d succeeded in accomplishing our goals but, soon after they became adults two of our children did not heed our admonition and purchased puppies at pet stores. The youngest listened and bought hers from a breeder, kind of. Exactly “when” these puppies were purchased has been the controversy in our family for a little while now. I am pleased to announce, I have figured it out.
On the Chinese calendar 2004 was the year of the Monkey; in our family it was the year of the Dog. The year all of our grandpuppies were born and the year that our old family dog, Ralph, said goodbye.
The first of our grandpuppies was an adorable Boston Terrier. She was born in February and purchased from a pet store by our son and daughter-in-love in March. They named her Jables, actor Jack Black’s nickname. We don’t know why. Personally, I was just glad they used the name on the dog and not one of our grandchildren. Jabes is 14 now and is still very fond of chasing things. Whether they are lizards, flashlight beams, or laser pointer dots, doesn’t matter. She has always loved the chase. She’s a little slower, a little whiter, a little rounder, and she’s given her family a few scares recently; but she has rallied. I am happy to say Jabes is still an important part of her family and loved by us all.
The next, and first to soon become ours, was born in March of that year and purchased in June by our youngest daughter as a Graduation present to herself. She was purchased from a breeder, kind of. What was advertised as a breeder, was a lady selling dogs out of her house. It was a little suspicious, but the place was clean and the dogs looked healthy and had papers. Our daughter wanted the little white chihuahua she had seen advertised. She decided to name her Stella. We were told she was a “Teacup” Chihuahua and would top out at 5 lbs., plenty small enough to be carried in a purse; which was our teenage daughter’s goal. Did you know the average size of a chihuahua is between 3.3 and 6.6 lbs.? Yup. Stella topped out at 13 lbs. We never did find a purse big enough.
Stinky Stell, so named because she is now, is also 14. She couldn’t get whiter, but she is rounder, her jumping legs are gone, she’s deaf, and her teeth aren’t what they used to be. She still has her playful moments with Phoebe, who is two; but they are guarded and only happen if she knows I’m there to protect her. She will only eat her meals under the kitchen table and needs a boost to get to her favorite corner of the couch. She, too, has had a few scary moments, but so far, she refuses to die and that is fine with us.
The third installment in our “Year of the Dog”, was Haven and I have to admit, she was my favorite. Born in June and purchased in September, she was a white boxer puppy purchased from a pet store. I’ve told her story before. She was sick when they got her and my daughter and son-in-love were told it was “just a little bit of kennel cough”. They soon discovered that she had pneumonia. Her first six months were a struggle, but Haven grew to be a big, beautiful girl, too big for their little home; so we inherited her.
Haven and Stella were best buddies for as long as they were together. These two were added to our already owned deficient mutt named Buffy (another post for a later date) and our aging German-Beagle named Ralph, who also has a story. Four dogs, all different shapes and sizes. Our family, because that is what they become, was more than complete. I’ve told you before that my husband is not necessarily a lover of dogs, but is very much a lover of me. This was just one of the many ways he shows it. It was busy, to say the least. It was also, short-lived.
One night in October while we were out, our German-Beagle, great lover of all things food, ate my birthday cake. He was 12 at the time, and his organs couldn’t handle the sugar. By that November the vet confirmed our worst suspicions and we had to say goodbye. He was the best dog we’ve ever owned and the thought of his passing still brings tears even 14 years later. He was that good.
But, life goes on and so did we. Our lives have always been made richer by our four-footed furry children, even my husband thinks so.
As I’m sure you already know, they all really are a very big deal.