Friday, December 08, 2006

Gone to the Dogs

Mrs. Dada and I got our first dog in '88. I don't know what took us so long. Perhaps we were too busy for a dog while building lives of quiet desperation.

Her name was Susan and she was the runt of the litter. Her coming to us was the realization of a dream we'd long had to one day have a dalmation. (Some subliminal Walt Disney marketing, no doubt.)

I recall one of Susan's early visits to our vet when he remarked, "She doesn't seem the least bit squirrelly." My wife and I looked at each other in puzzlement. We didn't know that part of their reputation. But for a first dog, Susan the dalmation turned out to be all the dog one could ask for -- and more.

I realize many with dogs reading that may feel the same way about your own. We learned this from our three subsequent dogs, 2 retired greyhound racers, and one "feral" greyhound rescued from the pound by the local greyhound rescue people, adopted out, and then returned to them five years later when her owners became pregnant and were no longer able to afford "Annie."

As with Susan, our first, each of the greyhounds succeeding her proved to be more than anyone could ask for in a dog. It's still a puzzle to me how Annie's previous owners would opt to give up such a great dog instead of their new baby. (Okay, okay, that was tongue-in-cheek for those who prefer people over dogs.)

With the departure of our last greyhound, Pony, this past May, I noticed after a couple of months I began making friends with neighborhood dogs during walks. I wouldn't walk without a couple of dog cookies on me. This was followed by a growing interest in the "Dogs" section of the classified ads a month or so later.

After reading the same ad for dalmation puppies for over a week, I could no longer resist. I called just to "visit" with the woman selling them. And after our conversation, I realized I'd made a date for Mrs. Dada and I to meet her and view the two remaining females she had left.

The next afternoon, we visited the dalmations for almost an hour. I took a liking to the litter runt (pictured here on the left). But as we had agreed before our visit, Mrs. Dada and I left dogless with a promise to call the next day to reveal our decision. We did that before departing for a greyhound "meet and greet" the following morning. "We aren't quite ready to adopt just yet," we told the nice lady.

There were only a couple of greyhounds available. I bonded with one already taken. Probably because that was safest. Pictured here is one of those up for adoption. Her name is Byline B-Line. (You have to love their racing names.) Again we managed to come away dogless.

But two days later I found myself at the Humane Society. We've heard the larger dogs are the ones least likely to be adopted, so those are the ones I decided to visit. Three in particular caught my attention. I took notes on each: age, sex, whether housebroken, why they ended up here, etc.

Another two days later I returned with Mrs Dada. One of the three was gone, another appeared listless. "She's not feeling well," Mrs. Dada said. After watching her, I agreed.

And then there was the dalmation mix. We spent a half hour with him in one of the yards, then left. That was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. As the doors of the Humane Society opened the Friday after, we were there.

The rest is pretty much history. Named Luxor by his previous family, then "Charlie" by us, and now "Sammy" (his final name, I hope), he hopped in the car for his ride to his new home. On the way, he fell asleep.

After two weeks with this boy, we can honestly say, Sammy the dalmation has turned out to be all the dog one could ask for -- and more. But that seems to be the nature of most dogs, doesn't it?


James Otis said...

Hey, nice dogs. I can see how you would relate to dogs, they are not political.

enigma4ever said...

I loved your dog tales, it is so amazing that how dogs become members of families and how they always enter our lives when we need them most.....I see Sammy sitting on his bed and OMG, absolutely heartbreaking- what a sweetie..and he looks so loved and happy....sigh...He is Home for Christmas...Bless you and Mrs Dada for making room in your lives for a new member of the Family....

azgoddess said...

pretty babies you and mrs dada have...

me, i'm more a cat person...and my daughter moved out and took her cat leaving my siamese needing company -- so i went and done it -- got him a tiny little ball of fur friend...she's also the runt, fits in the palm of my hand...but she's so fiesty i doudt she realizes how really small she is...grin (oh, she's shitish grey with whit socks and tummy and chest...

D.K. Raed said...

I love his thoughtful eyes! And his toy so elegantly poised, ready to play. Dogs are our better natures & Sammy is proof of yours & Mrs-D's. oh, I just had to dab my eyes from enigma's "home for christmas" comment. what a beautiful thought.

I like the Sam or Sammy name. Hope it sticks! otherwise his next expression may be less thoughtful & more WTH? Reminds me of Samwise, everyone's favorite hobbit, which are everyone's favorite people (and he already has the hairy feet).

I just had a flash that maybe when you were thinking of Charlie, you were connecting it to Charlie Horse, and that reminded you of Pony?

ps, AZ, I want an old-fashioned (round-headed) siamese for my next cat, but what color is "shitish grey"? ~~ D.K.

Justin said...

hey, u 've some wonderful dogs!! O too 've 3 doggies as pets n they r very cute...And hey, I recently came across this post on dog pantry. i hope u'll like it too..

dada said...

james otis: I guess one of the side benefits of a dog is exactly as you said, they're apolitical, which in these final last days of run-amok -empire-by-imbeciles provides a great distraction periodically throughout each and every day.

I like apolitical in animals, but apolitical in humans really frustrates the hell out of me, especially those who go out of their way to avoid the controversies of their shrinking rights and the multitude of crimes being committed by their leaders against themselves and others.

(Note to commenters here: That is not directed at james otis. I know james otis personally. He serves often serves as my political provocateur, i.e., he just likes to needle me.)

But anyway, apolitical dogs are great. But apolitical people aren't, i.e., apolitical people won't run, fetch, return a frisbee or ball and drop it at my feet to throw again until I tire of playing that game. An apolitical dog will.

dada said...

e4e: Thank you for those nice comments re Sammy. As me and the wife both see him, he is our most remarkable Christmas blessing. A great package, and we got to open him early, too!

Mrs. Dada was gone the other day. I was doing dishes and Sammy, as he's so prone to do, was sitting not far away. So what I did next I did on whim, and it turned out to be something I couldn't do again in a 100 years.

Scooping up a some soap bubbles on my fingers, I blew them up into the air over Sammy. Just one nice little ball of bubbles floated gently down towards him as he stayed sitting, watching the impending landing of the soap. Whelp, it did--right on the center of his nose. Staring cross-eyed at the blob on the end of his nose, he arose and started backing away from it. Of course, and everywhere the doggy went, the bubbles were sure to go. Woulda made a cute You tube vid.

Attack of the killer soap blob!

dada said...

az: I can just imagine your "shittish grey" family addition. Years ago, I picked up a very similar sounding feral kitten, complete with white socks, tummy and chest. Our dog needed company, spending his days alone while we were at work.

It was just what the dog needed--a child. Grettel would roll over and let Cory nurse at first til Cory realized it wasn't netting her anything for the effort.

But she grew up to be a very feisty little girl, with no fear of dogs. I watched one day as a stray boxer accosted me with loud warning barks. But he hadn't noticed my little Cory who rose above a step she was below and chased that big dog off the property!

And she was protective of her "mom", Grettel, as well when one day Grettel screamed after being scratched on the eye from a surprise encounter with a stray cat, Cory charged for the patio door. I had to let her out. She wanted to kick ass. (Besides, she could scale the fence after the perp where her "mom" couldn't.)

One thing though, when the three of us would take walks in the "wilds" of the Bay Area, Cory would always lag, so busy exploring for prey. Grettel, on the other hand, preferred to just roll on some that already been dead for awhile. They were a great pair.

You've triggered many, many more memories of those two by sharing your newest addition. Thanks, and I'll bet your Siamese thanks you too!

dada said...

Deke: Haha! Had to laugh at your Charlie - Charlie Horse - Horse? - PONY! I thought that a real stretch, but upon reflection, who knows, you may have hit on some subconscious synapse connecting in a really ultra subtle way, huh?

I'm not familiar with hobbits, but I'll mention Sam-wise to wife who is. I think Sammy might stick.

When feeling particularly enthralled with our third greyhound, Annie, I would say with much affection, "Ann-Ban, Ann-Ban". That seems to work with Sammy as well. "Sam-Ban, Sam-Ban," yet it's difficult to use, so evocative of dear, sweet memories as it is.

dada said...

Justin: Thanks for dropping by. After reading your comment, I thought the "dog pantry" might be a spam that had managed to evade the word verification gate. But upon reading your blog, I apologize for having thought that.

I appreciate your discussion of pet food in your "dog pantry". Mrs. Dada and I are considering giving the new dog a diet of healthy pet food. (The pet food industry was one of the reasons we are always reluctant to have a pet.)

Also, like you're name suggestions. Imagine my surprise that the name we've chosen isn't quite as unthought of as we thought. Apparently, others like Sammy as well. (But now we know what it means--thanks--and it applies.)