|Yogi, Pedro, and Oprah|
Before our 14-year-old Schnoodle, Yogi, died last spring from cancer, Ray and I brought home an Aussiedoodle pup for him to train in. We were already living with Yogi; Pedro, our 14-year-old rescued terrier mix; and Yogi’s littermate Oprah, my mom’s dog. When Mom (who lived with us) died in April, we inherited Oprah, who we felt should stay with her pack. So we were down to Oprah, Pedro, and the new guy, Pretzel. Then just this week, Ray and I brought home dog #4, Fiona, a 9-week-old mostly chihuahua mix.
We also have a 26-year-old parrot (with us since she was 4 mos), and 7 canaries. It’s a puzzlement to many, including myself at times, WHY someone would want to live with and be responsible for SO. MANY. ANIMALS. I don’t really have a good explanation, but I do have a few theories…
1. Birds can fly. Our parrot talks. Our canaries sing. Enough said about the birds.
2. I read that dogs are the only creatures who give unconditional love. I believe this is true.
3. So my long-term dog plan (is it bizarre that I HAD a long-term dog plan?) was to end up with a mini Aussiedoodle and a Chihuahua. The Doodle would be a brainiac, and the Chi would be a pocket munchkin. Ray and I would be able to travel with both, because they’d be small, the Doodle would be brilliant and well-trained, and the Chi would be so tiny no one would notice. In my head, I had the perfect timing all worked out, too. We would get the Doodle in time to let the older dogs train him in, then get the Chi a couple years later, once the Doodle was calmer and well into his (spontaneous, I guess) training. These would be our last dogs. I just didn’t foresee that Pedro and Oprah would keep getting older but would stay relatively healthy. Or that our Aussie would be a brilliant mini Aussiedoodle that didn’t stay mini, with tightly wound springs for legs and the devious mind of a 3-year-old. Or that the perfect 2.3-lb. Chi would appear a year early (according to my plan), born a few blocks away in the home of a friend.
4. It’s an illness, a hereditary weakness, and clearly out of my control, this need to make sure I always have souls to nurture: See https://uncanneryrow.blogspot.com/2011/05/rescue-me.html
5. Could my dogs be reincarnated humans? According to Tsem Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk, the answer is yes.
6. Chihuahuas. Seriously. Fiona (Fifi) has the face of a pitbull and the body of an undernourished squirrel. When she whines, she sounds like a baby bird.
7. “In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.” ― W. H. Auden
8. It’s been a year. As I’ve said, we lost our dog Yogi, and I lost Mom. I also lost my dad a month after Mom. And we lost our parrot Polly Hester. We lost our friends and community stalwarts Dave, Cindy, Marty, Harry, and others. In the larger world, we said goodbye to Olivia Newton John, Nichelle Nichols, Ray Liota, Meatloaf, and Wally Cleaver, among a much longer list of my well-known favorite people. My vertebrae slid off kilter and onto a nerve bundle, making me give up my good old Irish walks and have needles stuck in my spine instead. More Covid. Covid variants, etc. etc. A year. BUT, few things can make the joy well up from deep inside like a puppy tripping headlong over a sock, or another puppy’s 2.3 lbs. of unrestrained ferociousness. Our furry and feathered friends helped Ray and I make it through this year’s Prodigious Pileup of Death and Disease.
9. I may have mentioned once or twice that I tend toward hermitting. But I’m a hermit with a strong sense of social obligation and a pathological need to make sure others are okay. Is it a subconscious drive, then, that consistently leads me to add to responsibilities keeping me home-bound? Excuses to stay hermited? Hmmm…
|Pretzel and Pedro|
10. I’m 66. As long as I’m not hurting anyone, I don’t need to justify anything I do. So shut up (said with great affection).
11. Last night I dreamed I had a live tiny white mouse in a container. I decided to add the mouse to my morning smoothie. I dumped the poor thing in the blender, already full of other ingredients, then noticed another tiny white mouse staring at me from behind the blender. I SWEAR it was sad. So of course, I fished the first one out of the blender and made them both a tiny house (see #4).