I actually do have a new adventure to share, but I have to find the memory card with all the cool pictures on it. Well, ok, if you’re familiar with my previous work, the subject is cool; the picture is not. So instead, you get the adventure that the Other Half and I have been having on the home front for the last three and a half months: Eli. Oh, and all the associated backstory. Don’t worry, it’s interesting. In some spots. Fair warning: it’s a long post.
My family has had dogs as long as I can remember. There was Toddy the Australian shepherd, Pudgie the weird dachshund mix with skin cancer, Pretty the ex-show dalmatian, Buck the rat terrier, Pepper the other dalmatian; for a short time we had a German shepherd (who liked to run off) and a rottweiler puppy that liked to chew through leashes. Now we’ve got Misty the Old Collie, who is almost deaf and blind and still running around at 15 years old; Paisly the young pup, who got abandoned in the neighbor’s yard as a puppy; Sparrow the terrier, who is my father’s shadow; Otto the mutant pomeranian, who weighs 25 pounds; and Angel the seal dog, who was adopted by my sister the day she was going to be euthanized. (That seems like a sizable pack, but to be fair, it’s split over several households.)
Then there are my grandparents’ pomeranians. Because they were enamored with Otto, they decided to save a couple of poms from their unsavory situations. There’s Suzy, the dog who was kept with three cats and treated like a cat, down to being fed cat food and kept in a utility room all day and night. They’ve also got Buddy, who was un-neutered and kept in a yard with three very large dogs. He was kicked, he was cussed at, and at times he wasn’t even fed. The night they picked him up, they asked me for help because they didn’t know what they were dealing with. They had a dog on their hands who flinched at human contact or voices, who looked like a pile of rags. And who was about to hate me (Not anymore, though. It’s amazing what giving him treats all the time will do!). He looked like his tail was docked because it was wrapped around the bottom of his testicles and matted there with all of his long hair and feces, so I shaved him until he was almost bald. My poor grandparents also had to deal with the myriad parasites (read: fleas, ticks, roundworms, tapeworms, and heartworms) and behavioral issues he had. After several years of care, now they’ve got two happy, well-adjusted (if dorky) poms that worship the ground they walk on. And hey, who wouldn’t love that?
And to this large network of dogs, we add Eli. The Other Half and I talked for months before we decided we could give the time and care required to have a dog, in part because this would be the Other Half’s first dog . In fact, we may have talked more about the dog than we did about the gecko (who was our first family pet). We decided we wanted one that was house-trained, that was at least a year old, and that was well-adjusted and healthy. What we got was one that was house-trained, a collie (read: well-adjusted as long as there are no moving targets), and somewhere in the range of nine months. Oh dear. So in the interest of being absolutely clear what a juvenile collie gets up to, here are some of the things our dog does:
–On moving in to the new place, the gecko saw the dog for the first time. He saw him, puffed himself up, and decided he was the man. He hasn’t looked at the dog since. (Well, unless he’s hungry, in which case anything moving means food.) Three days after this, Eli realized there’s something on the table, Mom! Dramatic music would have played if this were a movie, but it wasn’t. Instead, he ran out of the room with his tail tucked, but curiosity kept getting the better of him, so he kept peeking justbarely around the corner into the bedroom. That he had been sleeping in. For three days.
–We were cleaning the new place and I got a call from the Other Half looking for the broom, thinking somehow we must have misplaced it during the move. Then he looked outside and realized where it went. Eli was running laps around the backyard carrying the broom like a trophy.
–Recently, I told the Other Half during breakfast that Eli would definitely be the kind of dog that would sneak on the furniture when we’re gone. Later that day, I was laying under the throw on the couch when I felt something on my stomach, followed by a great weight that conveniently felt about the size of Eli. I looked up, and he was “sneaking” onto me. He saw me looking at him, froze, looked around really quickly, and flopped down with his back to me, as if to say “You saw nothing!”
–I ran outside because I heard a splashing sound followed by plastic being chewed on. That never bodes well. Looking around, I see a water trail leading from our rain bucket (which we use to water the plants) to the dog, who has dipped his entire head and an ice cream container into it and is running around splashing water everywhere. At this point, we just gave him the ice cream bucket and plan to replace it if he chews on it too much.
–While I’m studying, if he wants to play, he starts by looking at me and wagging his tail. If this doesn’t work, he sighs. Loudly. When this inevitably doesn’t work, he tries at least one of three things (a) He lays his entire head across my keyboard, somehow deleting the last three paragraphs I’ve typed, (b) he grabs my pantleg and pulls at it, or (c) throws his purple bear on me and squeaks it while looking at me.
–While he was living with my grandparents temporarily, Eli found that they had conveniently left the garage door open. He explored and found several skeins of yarn, which he promptly took outside and unrolled everywhere. When I drove up, it looked like an Easter party gone bad.
–Two days before the above story, Eli waited until my grandmother was in the kitchen, then slipped her German lace doilies off her end tables and took them outside to lay on them.
–Eli likes squeaky tennis balls. And anything that resembles them. He puts them in his mouth and walks down the hallway squeaking it justso. The Other Half and I can now tell when a person has the ball and when he does.
–Our dog is very friendly. So friendly, in fact, he has a tendency to love on everyone. Even strange people in the yard. What does our dog bark at? Basketballs in people’s yards. Grocery bags. Leaves. We walked by a couple teenagers the other night, followed by a car driving by. The car stirred up a Walmart bag, which caused him to bark angrily (hackles raised) at the bag. Which was unfortunately in the direction of the two teens. I’m pretty sure they thought we had turned a hellhound on them.
–Our dog is obsessed with the color purple. As in, if you are driving a purple car, wearing a purple hat, or have something purple, he is glued to you. This is why his toys are mostly purple. Unfortunately, this means my purple socks are a no-go anymore because the color makes them extra delicious. Especially if they are on my feet.
–He barks and howls in his sleep. There is no snoring, only barking.
–He is a very quick learner. You would think this is great, but this means if one of the dogs does something, he picks it up immediately, whether it’s sitting nicely or fence jumping.
When you get a dog, you aren’t just getting a pet or a picture of a pet. You’re getting a personality (which may or may not usually be up to no good), one which will grow as your dog (or gecko, or snake, or purple spotted alien) does. For those of you still reading this far, it means you should definitely watch in the future for the inevitable batscapades that Eli gets up to.