Monday, June 12, 2006

78 "that's a nice dog you have"

A few weeks ago there was an article in the paper on the Meriden animal shelter which had a picture of a dachshund, like we used to have. My mom called and of course the dog was gone, but she got it in her head that she wanted another doxie, a "used one". So I explored Petfinder for the past couple of weeks, made lots of phone calls which didn't get returned, ditto with emails. Filled out online applications full of questions which don't pertain to my parents' situation--like what will you do if the dog bites a child who is visiting your home? (No children visit them, ever, for any reason.) Who will care for the dog while you're at work, or how many hours a day will it be left alone while you're at work? (They are both retired.) Or we'd find a dog that was available, confirm its availability and the next day get an email saying it's not available anymore. Very discouraging.
Friday night as usual I went over there to do a puzzle. My mom put out a plate of cookies-chips ahoy or something similar--and my dad started talking about putting "it" on the cookies and how good "it" is on the cookies and do I want some of "it" for my cookies.
"It" is peanut butter. My dad takes a store-bought chocolate chip cookie and smears it with peanut butter. I asked my mother when he started doing that and she said she's never seen him do it before.
I like cookies. I like peanut butter. But not together.
A lady in Massachusetts at the Southbridge Home for Wayward Weenies had a dog available that my mom liked, and we made arrangements to go on Sunday (yesterday) to get it. I called her Friday night and asked her some questions and then we went to the pet store to get dog toys, leashes, etc.
My mom said that in the morning she had been going to buy a tie-out stake for the dog and my father said no because they didn't have a dog. My mother said the dog was coming on Sunday and he said not to buy anything for the dog until we had it.
Then as soon as we left the petstore (and he freaked out over the receipt not being "checked") he wanted to know "are we going to get the dog now?" No, on Sunday. "Where' s the dog?" We didn't get the dog yet. On Sunday we're going. "Are we going to get the dog now?" NO! You get it.
Saturday I went up to Boston and Salem so I went right by Southbridge and figured it was just about an hour's ride. Sunday morning we left around 10:30 and stopped at a Friendly's along the way for lunch. Of course they were still serving breakfast so we had to wait about 15 minutes before we could even place our order. We called the Wayward Weenies lady, said we'd be there soon, had an adventure finding our way back to 84E, and were on our way.
Somewhere around then, my father had a major disconnect. "I don't know where we are."
You don't need to know. "I've never been here before." It's okay we haven't either (lie, but that's easier). "We have no map" Berta has the map, look. I show him the directions, which at the end have a lot of very short streets--go .2 miles, etc. He sees the long list and freaks out "all that? Oh jesus, oh jesus." We're almost there. "Are you going to turn around and go home? Turn around there." No, we have to get the dog first, remember? "oh jesus, oh jesus" then he's freaking over the gas which is down to...gasp...3/4 of a tank. "you better get gas, look at that, we better turn around" We get to exit 1 and start following the directions to the chorus of "oh jesus, oh jesus" and the freaking out dad. "Are we back in Wallingford yet?" No, we're in Southbridge Mass, to get the dog. "Oh jesus."
The woman lives basically in an alley and we had to back up, move forward a foot, back up 14 inches, move forward 13, repeatedly to turn around. She has over a dozen weiner dogs in a very small house, all of them barking and friendly. We got our dog, whose name is Ace, and skeddaddled from the noise. I walked the dog a bit and he peed. I settled in the backseat with him and we headed home, taking only 1 wrong turn. He is a very good dog, he's clearly been in cars before, he wasn't sick or anything. I suggested we stop and let my dad into the back seat so he could bond with the dog, so we found a park-and-ride and walked the dog again (peed twice and was ready to walk for a mile or get back in the car, it was all the same to him). My dad didn't understand why he was in the back seat, and then he wanted to hug the dog, which I had already established Ace doesn't like. He likes being petted, and sitting on or near you, but not hugged. Of course he has to hug the dog, and the dog tries to get away, and my dad's feelings get hurt, because the dog then comes to me and puts his head on my leg and goes to sleep. My dad says, "that's a nice dog you have there." That's YOUR dog. "I thought you were getting a black one." It's not my dog. I wasn't getting any dog. Willy doesn't like dogs. This is YOUR dog. "Oh."
I realized my door wasn't shut so my mom pulled over on the highway so I could shut it. She had to drive over the wake-up strip and my father started shouting thinking the car was exploding and he couldn't understand the wake-up strip or why we had to pull over so I could properly shut my door.
He demanded that my mother stop and get gas a block from their house. Evidently it's just too far to drive up the hill only 2/3 of a tank. I said I would walk the dog up the hill and see how he was. If I'm carrying him, stop and get us. If not, let us walk.
What a good little dog. He was afraid until I got him onto the sidewalk and then he trotted off, tail wagging, stopping to pee and once even poop. He paused to look at every car that went by which makes me think he's looking for his owners to come get him.
The lady said he had tags when he was found wandering but the shelter couldn't find his owners. She promised to find the tags and give them to us. He had on a collar which had cut into his neck (so now he has to wear a harness) and he's scarred on his back and legs. I think he crawled under a chainlink fence and got cut. We'll see what the vet says. He's also got a scar on his right eye--the eyeball itself. It looks like a hair curled on his eye but it's not. His teeth are very clean and well-cared for, and he's got good manners. He was someone's beloved dog. My mom said someone, somewhere, is crying their eyes out over this dog, looking for him. The only thing I can imagine is that the people were moving and the dog got out or got left behind and they didn't realize it. Or maybe they gave the dog away and he tried to find his way home and got lost.
Ace seemed afraid of Jasper when they were outside, but Jasper made tentative friendly overtures. They are about the same size. Ace wanted to come in, so we brought him in. He immediately found the cat toys and destroyed two of them in less than a minute. I took the rest of them and put them on a shelf. He went right to that shelf. I moved them to a higher shelf, behind a plant. He climbed onto the couch and tried to move the plant. My mom took the cat toys and put them in a drawer. He stood on his hind legs and pawed the drawer. This is a smart dog. Then they let Jasper in. Ace started barking and chasing Jasper in a circle from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room to the kitchen. I tried to intercept the parade and catch one or the other but Jasper darted into the bedroom to hide and Ace didn't figure that out. So that's going to be fun until they make friends.
My parents brought Ace to grandma's. He was begging for meatballs at the table. My mother said NO but my grandmother told Ace that next week she'll feed him. My mom went outside to take out the trash and the dog followed her to the door crying. He's already attached to her. I told her he might get separation anxiety because of being moved around so much. He knows me too, though and was ready to get into the car with me and go wherever.
What a good dog. :)

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