And then, there’s the dog

I love dogs. More than people most days. I believe myself to be a dog in spirit, a canine who walks upright on two legs, has a driver’s license, and a credit card. Loyal to the extreme, subject to immediate and maximum emotional output, simple but complicated, hard to read, and often annoyingly loving. Needy. Prone to slobber and slobbiness. Sensitive and does not recover easily from hurt. Did i mention loyal to the max?

The current beast is called Nola (New Orleans LouisianA). She is a cuckoo Chihuahua mix. Whatever she is mixed with is as nuts a breed as the Chihuahua, because she is a total wacko character. She is about 15 pounds, very Chihuahua-faced and Chihuahua-colored, but with a curly tail. She is also a bit taller than the average Chihuahua, and she really doesn’t know quite what to do with her hind legs when she is lying down, but she manages. She barks. A lot. A whole lot. it’s a high-pitched bark, like she got the vocal chords of a smaller dog. She is willful and feisty, pees and poops in the apartment just after she comes in from the outdoors sometimes. Something didn’t go quite right with her initial upbringing, i think. That wasn’t my fault – I got her when she was almost a year old. She was a stray in Greensboro when she was an itty bitty puppy, although I’m not sure i believe that. She had some really bad habits already when i got her, so i think her foster family got her from somewhere else and found they couldn’t handle her. She is quite a handful, maybe two or three handfuls. And she has settled down quite a lot since i got her nearly five years (or more) ago.

If i could have reproduced, it would have been this lunatic. She has all of my personality attributes – oppositionally defiant, lot of mouth, talks big and bad but petrified if someone calls her bluff, sweet as pie to all strangers. People generally love her, even though she has bad manners and sometimes pees at their feet. As they say in these parts…bless her heart. But she is really a sweet little thing. We have quality time in the mornings, after she has rudely interrupted my sleep. When i was working, and needed to be awakened early, she was still under the covers and grumbled when i stirred. Now that i don’t need to be up early, she makes sure i see every sunrise. She will bark me awake if she has to.

Nola’s biggest flaw is that she is not house trained, and my attempts to remediate that have failed miserably. i think i have given up. We are both slobs, so no harm, no foul. I should really get the carpet replaced at this point, though, since it is the original from 20 years ago. Whatever. Maybe this summer or something. She’ll have more deposits to make on the carpet account before then.

This is the third dog I’ve had in this apartment. Ariel, the dog I brought with me from New Orleans, is still the best dog I’ve ever had. She was brilliant – i could let her go down the stairs form the third floor, and she would do all of her ‘business’ and then run back up the stairs to me. When she died, a big piece of me went with her. I still miss that dog. She was beautiful, a Sheltie mix, with that beautiful Lassie-like coat. She was playful and loved other dogs, and we socialized with other people and their dogs. I hope I treated her well, because i was not all in here the entire time i had her. She was a stray in New Orleans, and when i adopted her i told her that i would never give her up or give her away, and when it was time she would die with me. And she did. I make that promise to any dog I take on, even the current lunatic. The moron who led the training class Nola and I attended (and failed) told me that i should re-home her. I said i would think about it, but i had no intention of doing that, and i won’t. You don’t give up your kid because they’re a handful, or your parents because they get old. That woman was a crazy bitch, and she can just go clean up dog pee somewhere for all i care.

Anyhow, after Ariel died, i thought i would never get another pet. Never. It hurt too bad to lose her. It hurt almost that bad when i lost the one before her, and still I got another one. It took me nearly three years to even consider getting another dog after Ariel left, but one day it was just time, and then came Mia. Mia was about three when i adopted her, and she was also quite the little character. She was funny, and had no manners, either. She was about the same size as Nola, just different body type…not so tall, not so long. She was more terrier-type, furry, cute face and hair between her toes. She was house trained, and would pee on puppy pads. She also peed as soon as she got outside and onto grass, which was really nice in the rain. Nola…not so much. Mia got stomach cancer. She is the only dog i have had to actually put down. I promised her that i would not let her suffer, so when it became apparent that she was in pain, i refused to let it go on another second. Any extra time would not have benefited her, only me, so it was time to end it. It almost killed me to do that, but i did it. That lesson came in handy when my mother died, but that’s another story entirely.

So, on i go with Nola, who is who she is. Right now, she is trying to hint that she wants to go o-u-t-s-i-d-e. It’s very subtle. She just stood on the bottom part of my stomach and pressed her paws into that space between my belly button and my pubic bone, which hurts like a @%^!. very smooth, little dog. she is quite the little bully at times. i pushed her off, so now she is giving me the stink-eye from a couple of feet away.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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