Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cuteness: Wearing Thin

I was never what you would call an animal lover. I mean, I didn't hate animals, but I never saw the need to have an animal. OH! Sure, when I was little, I always wanted a dog. And I'm pretty sure for most of my childhood years, my family had an outside dog. But after the first 2 or 3 dogs were ran over by a car and killed or died from distemper, I pretty much learned to keep my emotions and attachments at bay. We never had animals in the house. Unless you count a hamster that my brother had for a few months. It was always kept in a cage. (For the record, it died, too). So you can see why I never had a yearning for an animal.

My husband's family are all animal lovers. So, naturally, my daughter has inherited the trait. When she was younger, she sometimes felt like an only child because her brothers were older and they lived at their mother's house most of the time. She asked me for a dog once when she was about 4 years old. I told her that we couldn't have a dog until we moved to the country or put a fence around our back yard. She never mentioned wanting a dog again, so I thought that she had forgotten all about it. She attended a Christian School. They always had closing prayer at the end of each day. Each child would pray for the needs of loved ones and for the community. Then the teacher would take prayer requests from each child. In the third quarter of her first grade year, her teacher told me that she wished we would get my daughter a dog because the poor little thing had been praying for a dog every day since she was in kindergarten. That made me feel somewhat like a heathen! But I explained to the teacher that we simply did not live in a place that would accommodate dogs. She gave me a look that implied that she felt that excuse was simply not a good enough reason to deprive my child of a dog. The odds were stacking up against me. I guess my feeble words were no match against the big old blue eyes of a 5 & 6 year old girl pleading with God for a dog. Well, about 6 weeks later the leader of my Mom's gospel group told her that the Lord had laid it upon his heart to give his dog to my daughter. What could I say? I'm not one to argue with the Lord!!! SO, on the last day of my daughter's first grade year, we went to get Sugar. She was a Shichon (half Bichon Frise, half Shih-Tzu) puppy. Actually she was 1 1/2 years old when we got her. She was fully trained and a pleasure to be around. Don't get me wrong, she was added work for me...but she was an extremely clean dog. She grew up with my daughter. She gave the whole family years of devoted love and loyalty. We had her for over 11 years. But the inevitable happened. She suddenly got sick one day. I put her in the animal hospital on my daughter's 18th birthday. 3 days later, I made one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I told the vet to put Sugar to sleep because she was in the final stages of leukemia. What devastation!!!!

For 5 months, we were such a pathetic family. We would stop where ever we were just to watch puppies playing. Which was a little dangerous... especially the times when I stopped my car right in middle of the street to watch puppies in the neighbors' yards. They probably thought I was a stalker or worse, a dog-napper. But when I started seeing our dog out of the corner of my eye at our house or stepping over her like she was still here....I felt that I had another decision to make. Either I had to have the whole family committed to one of those "special" places or we had to get another dog. I started searching the internet. I found some really cute dogs! But they all had really cute prices. I wanted another dog...but I didn't want to spend a small fortune for one. After all, we had the best dog in the world and she had been free. (Just the price of a 2 year long prayer). We found a Shichon that was reasonably priced pretty close to our home town. She was 7 weeks old when we got her.

This is what Sissie looked like when we brought her home:

Cute, huh? But she didn't understand ANY words. Her brain was a clean slate. This was a whole new ballgame for me. I didn't know how to communicate with her. Our other dog understood so many commands and words. Those first few months, when I spoke to Sissie, she looked at me like I had 2 heads. AND her bathroom habits were unspeakable. I don't speak of them because she had none...she would just go where ever she happened to be standing at the time. I quickly learned that she would not go potty in her crate. I learned to love her crate!!!! But by the time she was 3 months old, she was trained to go outside. I just had to remember to take her out often because I had not figured out a way to make her go to the door when she needed to go out. We were still missing & grieving over our other dog. A friend suggested that we needed to get Sissie a playmate. (Yeah, right! And I needed 3 root canals for sheer pleasure, too!) THEN ONE DAY it happened! I got a call from my daughter. A lady and her daughter were at the place where she worked and they had Bichon Frise puppies for sale. Would I come up and look at them? (EXCUSE ME? WHAT?!!!!!) :-( I told her that I would come and look at them because she was really excited and it seemed important to her. I thought maybe it was because they looked like Sugar. But I warned her that we already had a dog. I was just beginning to get through to Sissie. She was learning new words and commands. There was no way that I wanted to start that process all over again with a new puppy. But being the good mom that I am, I went to look at the dogs. They were the funniest, most deformed looking dogs that I had ever seen. 3 of them had exaggerated overbites. But as soon as I held the most ugliest, deformed looking one of them all...I was hooked! My daughter said she wanted to buy the ugliest one with the most deformity because no one would buy it and we just couldn't let it go homeless. I told her that if she was willing to pay for it, she could have it. I thought that would put a damper on things. You see, my daughter can be as tight with her money as I am with my money. But guess what? Roxie was 11 weeks old when she came to live with us. ----Nuff said----I'll spare you of showing the puppy pictures. A s soon as Roxie arrived, we cleaned her up, and gave her a hair cut. She didn't look as much like a possum/sheep. Either I've gotten use to looking at her or she really has gotten cuter! Here's what they look like now. Sissie is 16 months old and Roxie is 14 months old.



Sissie & Roxie

Both dogs are like typical siblings....meaning they have some traits that are alike but they have completely different personalities. Sissie is very hyper. She loves to play. She is a people pleaser. It hurts her feelings if she thinks she has made someone mad. She understands quite a few words now. She stands by the door now when she has to go potty. (YAY!) :-) She does a lot of tricks...sit, shake hands, lay down, roll over, catch, fetch. She knows the words: NO, stop, kitty cat, want a chip?, go downstairs, go outside, potty, get a bath, & get in the corner and put your head down. She is kind of funny looking, too. She is skinny. Her legs have out grown her body and she has a small head. But we think she's beautiful!

Roxie on the other hand is a completely different story. She is a cuddler. She would rather lay down than stand or run. She loves to be loved on. She refuses to go potty outside on a leash. She insist on using a puppy pad in our bathroom. AND she waits for me to close the door so that she can have some privacy while she goes potty. She'll go to the snack cabinet and bang it with her nose to let me know that she wants a snack. When I tell her she can't have a snack...she argues with me...she does a pretty good howl. In fact, she argues/howls at me about a few other things. The puppy cuteness has worn thin! She can try my patience at times. She knows the meaning of "Get in the corner and put your head down", too. This is where she has her "time out" when she misbehaves or gets on my last nerve.

The funny thing is Roxie is the closest to being like a little kid. She is my shadow whenever I'm home. She always wants love and attention. Needless to say, we love both of our dogs. They have taken the sting out of losing Sugar. But now, I tend to be more cautious when my daughter's phone calls begin with, "Mom, you should see......"

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