Today is National Dog Day. Before you say this is just another day made up by Hallmark to sell more greeting cards, might I remind you that dogs can’t read. So Happy National Dog Day. To all you dogs out there.
For 9 years, I had a Maltese named Milkshake. Right. A Maltese. Named MILKshake. Wonderful dog. Cute and smart and an excellent companion. I got Milkshake from a breeder in Potts Camp, MS. Never again will I patronize a dog breeder. While I loved my dog, I have since come to learn how dogs are treated by some (most?) breeders. This dog helped get me through my divorce and was a source of happiness for almost a decade of my life.
Milkshake would come to meet my girlfriend, my ex-girlfriend, my girlfriend, my ex-girlfriend, my girlfriend, my fiancé and, eventually, my wife. If there’s any doubt, these are all the same lady. Milkshake would go upstairs anytime we said, “Time to go upstairs and go to bed”. Sometimes she’d head upstairs whenever we’d turn off the TV. She knew the routine.
We got along famously, until about 4 years ago when Milkshake suffered from a stroke and went blind. I knew what needed to be done, but could not face putting this little love down. The 3 of us suffered through this condition for a couple of months when my wife said it was time. I said no. Then she reminded me if we did not, we’d find her one day on Highland Ave. She was right. We put her down.
This was not an easy process at all. We’d been to the vet before and explained the situation. Dr. Blackburn told us out options. One Saturday morning we headed to the vet for one last visit. I was shaking. We had to wait and I was crying. Poor Milkshake. She had no clue as to what was about to happen. She just cuddled with us until the time we walked into the room. A shot later and she was sitting there with her tongue hanging out. A minute later she was gone.
We walked out of the room. The receptionist knew what was going on. She said she would bill us. Vicki had to drive us both home to an empty house. There was a deafening silence and a void we could not ignore. I asked Vicki if she thought this would be so hard. She said no, but it was so hard on her because it was so hard on me. We hugged each other and it got better each day.
Now you don’t just go out and replace a dog. Time has to pass. There is an indefinite time for grieving. We didn’t mention a dog for 3 or 4 months. Then I started asking Vicki if we could look into looking for a dog. Right. Look into looking for another dog. Not look for another dog, just yet, but to look into looking for another dog. I dropped subtle hints. She ignored them. I dropped less subtle hints. She less subtly ignored them. This went on.
I could see she was beginning to break down. In the beginning she said we didn’t need a dog because we couldn’t travel with an animal. Right. We’ve not been to Europe because we had a dog. Not. Maybe we could look, but not seriously. Seriously? How do you not look seriously for a dog. She then teased me that I could have a dog. Really? Yes, a corn dog. A pronto pup. She laughed. I didn’t. I wanted a dog.
She finally agreed to start letting me show her dog pictures on the internet from several rescue sites. No dog was good enough. Too big; too small. Too white; too black. Too much of an under bite; too much of an overbite. Finally she saw a dog she would look at. I called the number only to hear that particular dog was adopted out that afternoon. But, she said, we have plenty of other dogs here. This lady had no idea.
A couple of weeks later we were at the Memphis Farmer’s Market downtown. Vicki usually goes with me, but this week had decided to sleep in. That day Dog’s 2nd Chance was having a pet adoption day. I looked all the dogs, but one caught my fancy. I called Vicki. You need to come down here to the MFM. Your dog is her and you need to come get it. Vicki asks me to text her a photo. No. You don’t pick out a dog based on a picture. I made her get up and come down to look at the dog. I talked to the lady in charge and told her that my wife was coming down to look at this puppy.
I buy some fruits and vegetables. I talk to some friends and listen to some music until Vicki gets there. I point her in the right direction and don’t tell her which dog it is, just to be sure we like the same animal. She looks and pets and cuddles many dogs. Then she falls in love. She is sure that this is the perfect dog and tells the lady who she is and that we want to rescue it. The lady mumbles and tells her that this is not the dog that I had picked out. Uh-oh.
She brings this cute little puppy out to lick me. I don’t know what to say. This was not the dog I’d picked, but it was certainly cute and adorable and all the things that you say about somebody’s dog. To my credit, however, THIS dog was not out when I went through. They had just put her out when Vicki arrived. Before we could get the paperwork finished, 3 people had contingency dibbs on our dog. We did get the right dog.
This was almost 3 years ago. We named the dog Doodle. I had started a sharpening business called One Sharp Dude, and Doodle was a natural choice. The Dude and Doodle. She’ll jump into my lap anytime, “Who’s your daddy?” And the video shows how precious she can be when she plays peek-a-boo.
This was the right dog at the right time. And from the right place. I’ve often heard it asked, “Who rescued who?”