Tuesday, October 18, 2005
If Jack Sparrow Was a Dog!
It’s not that I really WANTED a new dog but my 14 year old cocker spaniel is wearing my wallet as thin as my patience with him. He’s a wonderful pet but he’s reached the age when cockers usually die. So, he’s dying…one body part at a time! First his ears went. Then, his eyes. Now his sanity. Can’t bring myself to put him down as long as he’s not in any pain, even if he does bark incessantly at my Glade plug-ins. Still, we needed another dog, one that didn't bump into walls.
I’m one of those women that likes cute little dogs that will sit on your lap and snuggle on the sofa with you but I've never had one. I have Little John (the walking dead) and Scully, who is a great guard dog but can't be brought into the house unless we convert one room into a stable. So I told my boys I wanted a Westie or a Yorkie, you know, something small that could ride around in the car with me, a sweet little puppy that people would point at and say “aw, what a cute puppy”.
We keep a dog for his life. I have a sister who has had eight dogs in seven years. Their dogs run away, get poisoned by neighbors, or commit suicide. One died sitting upright under a tree. Freaky. Like "Weekend at Bernie's" doghouse. Our dogs last forever or until they are so decrepit that the doctor says it’s no longer humane to let them live. So, this was a huge decision.
Son #2 has always wanted a Corgi. Nope. Too big. Son #3 begged for a Chichuahua. No. I hate those neurotic bug eyed bald headed demons. They all need psychological therapy for bizarre phobias and doggy panic disorders. Son #1 said we needed a Great Dane or a black Labrador. Apparently, the small dog concept was lost on him.
So we got the most adorably ugly dog I’ve ever seen. Tobey is half Yorkshire Terrier (yay!) and half Chichuahua (yikes). Fortunately, we got the Chihuahua half WITHOUT the bug eyes or neurosis. I’d have named him Frodo or Yoda based on his huge Chichuahua ears that stick straight up like those of a Yorkie basically making him look more like a short haired jackrabbit than a dog. But he already answered to Tobey when we got him at the ripe old age of four months. Well, okay, he didn't answer. He kept doing whatever it was he was doing all the while muttering under his breath, "don't make eye contact, don't make eye contact." But what makes Tobey so hysterically pee-in-your-pants funny is not those giant ears but his beard… yeah, he has a beard. If it ever gets long enough, I'll put beaded braids in it.
Then there’s his attitude. Tobey is the canine equivalent to Jack Sparrow. He’s a complex mixture of carefree mischief, whimsical courage, and charming aggravation. He’s clever, quick, and impossible to predict. He can jump to seemingly impossible heights and loves to ride in the car. No, he lives to ride in the car and looks like you’ve just beaten him with a stick if you carry your car keys out the door and leave him behind. Even though he slinks into the ground when he’s scolded, you can almost see in his tiny doe-like eyes that he’s faking contrition and plotting against you for foiling his latest adventure.
Utterly confident that he'll escape his leash, Tobey seems to mutter, "go ahead, clap me in irons" when I tie him in the yard. Then, when one of my boys frees him, Tobey gives me a look of validated satisfaction as if he himself has just executed a daring escape.
Cheeky and defiant daredevil that he is, Tobey is also content to snuggle with me on the sofa or sit in my lap (which is a bit of a problem when my notebook computer is there first). I’m growing accustomed to hearing “where’s Tobey?” and “why didn’t you bring Tobey?” at football games and cross country meets. While nobody ever points at him and says “aw, what a cute puppy”, there is no shortage of people who point at him and say “look at that awesome dog!”