Wednesday, December 08, 2004


December is birthday month for 3 of us in the Land 'o Piffle: Colin, Charles, and Emma-the-dog. Now, I am not one to celebrate the birthdays of pets. I know many are so inclined and I have nothing against it (although I find it rather weird), but I am just so very lazy and don't feel the need to lift a finger to celebrate the birth of a being for whom it will be meaningless. I confess I also don't see the need to put on the dog, so to speak, for birthdays of 1 and 2 year olds, either, resulting in almost vanishingly minimalistic early birthdays for our kids. I swear I honestly only did it for the pictures. I figure that is one less thing they can hold against me in the future. At least I have pictures of them having cake and candles and messy frosting. "See, honey, I really DO love you! Let me show you the pictures again. Why are there no streamers or crowds of people or clowns or bouncy tents? Well, you see, they were there, it's just that the camera angles don't show them. Really."

So anyway, yesterday, Emma turned 1 year old. Officially no longer a puppy, but a dog, whatever that means. Actually, for a German Shepherd, it means a lot and she has been moving toward doghood for the past couple of months. As a puppy, she was not especially vigilant and never barked, unlike her predecessor, Maia. For the past several weeks, she has suddenly developed this 3rd ear, hearing all sorts of either inaudible-to-the-human-ear sounds or sounds that never existed in the first place, except in her mind. She then leaps up, looking terribly concerned and affronted, and dashes off, barking at the top of her voice. So unhelpful. Fortunately, both kids were raised from conception with the background of loud German Shepherd barking, and it almost never wakes either of them. She is also suddenly most distressed if one of her charges (meaning any human that has ever entered the home) leaves her watch, even to walk to the end of the drive to get the mail. Let's just say that it is pure torture for her to have Colin wait for the bus at the end of the driveway. She stands at the window in the study whining and barking until he is long gone. Poor pup. We just don't understand that if she is not with us, how can she possibly protect us? Fortunately, she has not developed Maia's alarming fixation on food, meaning Charles is not wakened at 4:30 each am with a blow to the solar plexus, an unsubtle way to get him up to feed her.

Emma is extremely affectionate, however, and has never given up the idea of being a lap dog. She is also alarmingly dexterous with her paws and will soon be able to open doors, drawers, and start up the car.

So, happy birthday, Emma-puppy. I will leave you with the story of her joining us, last March:

Feeling like we were ready to have another dog after losing our beloved Maia suddenly the previous fall, we drove off to see some puppies a very good breeder had for sale. We told ourselves that we were just looking, but stopped on the way to get a large puppy crate, so the puppy we were certainly not going to come home with would be safe in the car. We are so pathetic. We knew we wanted a female who would love our kids, like Maia did. We also wanted one with less "attitude" than Maia. Calm and accepting of her permanent position of junior Tail-Piffle with no aspirations to the crown. The breeder had a group of 5 female sisters 3 months old. We met their mother, father, and grandfather. When the puppies came in, we expected to have a hard time choosing just one. In they dashed and 4 of the 5 first ran around the room, sniffing and playing with each other. One, however, made a beeline and jumped into my arms. She then went to Charles and then back to me and settled in. She had obviously chosen us. She seemed on the docile side, didn't jump, cuddled, and was a bit submissive without peeing too much. Absolutely perfect. We filled out paperwork and took her home, naming her Emma, one of the names short-listed on our list of baby girl's names when I was pregnant with Sara. All was calm, cuddly and well for 8 days. 5 am Monday morning the next week, Charles and I were wakened by the sound of wretching from Emma's crate (our dogs sleep in our room). We instantly snapped to, but were too late to get her outside. Charles tended to her and I prepared to deal with the mess in the crate. I found a very odd thing. A bezoar the size of a large mouse consisting of compacted green tennis ball felt with a 6 inch length of surgical tubing attached like a tail. She leaped from the floor, practically doing back flips and hasn't stopped since.

A joy she is. A bouncy Tigger-like joy, none-the-less, but a true joy.

May you bounce for years, 60 lb lap dog wannabe.



Blogger The Lioness said...

Oh we have far more in common than you think:

"She is also suddenly most distressed if one of her charges (meaning any human that has ever entered the home) leaves her watch" AND "Emma is extremely affectionate, however, and has never given up the idea of being a lap dog."

Quite. Scarier and scarier! Mine is here:

2:09 PM  

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