A Tale of Two Dogs

Chloe1Many of you will not know about my dog, Chloe. Chloe is a Papillon who came into my life in 2007. The former spousal unit and I got her as this tiny little puppy. She was full of the kind of energy that fuels puppies of all kinds and as you can see, she was incredibly adorable.

Chloe&Gizmo copy

Chloe and Gizmo

She joined the family shortly after Thanksgiving, if memory serves, and quickly made friends with the other creatures in the house especially with Gizmo, the other Papillon who came to us a couple of years earlier.

Chloe’s disposition was not unlike that of every other Papillon I’ve met, sweet and playful with a nearly complete lack of aggression toward anyone including other dogs. She and Gizmo were inseparable and they lived together harmoniously with a wide assortment of cats and parrots ever since.


Chloe, all grown up.

Unfortunately, I was informed late last week that Chloe was not well and was unlikely to recover. She spent a few days in the pet hospital receiving the best of care and her improvement was negligible. Even though she seems far too young to be at the end of her journey, it looks as though that’s the case.

DSC_0073 It breaks my heart to see such a sweet, delightful creature in such a condition. And even though I held her in my arms on Saturday and told her how much she meant to me, she’ll never really understand how much she contributed to my well being nor will she know how much love she gave me over the years I was fortunate enough to be in her world. Even though we’ve not lived in the same place for over five years, seeing her again and knowing that it was likely that I’d not see her again is devastating.

Goodbye, Chloe. You were everything every puppy ought to be.

Which brings me to the second dog in this tale, His Emmettship, Ruler of All Things Within Barking Distance. Most of you know him already from all the Facebook photos.


I’ve done my best in the last couple of days to spend more time with Emmett — you know, concentrate on the living and all that. Emmett as you may recall had a tough life before he found us and has been growing and trusting us more and more.  Accepting affection from humans is something he’s still learning to do.

Emmett3He’s happy, healthy and hasn’t bitten me or anyone else in ages, which early on was a serious concern. In fact, last week, we actually roughhoused a little. I was scared to death that he’d lose sight of play and get too aggressive too fast. He did bite once a little too hard but he immediately backed off. From this one action alone, he’s demonstrated that he’s learned a great deal and that he clearly does not want to hurt us.

EmmettDriveThruEmmett loves to go in the car and if I ask him if he wants to go to the store, he hops around just like I would if I had won the Powerball. In the car, he’s relatively well behaved and if we’re going to the drive thru, he’s learning NOT to stick his head in the bag o’ food to see what’s there in spite of the wonderful aromas of freshly cooked fries. In return for his fine behavior, he gets to share a regular Mickey D’s burger, no onions, no pickle.   As we approach home, he dives out of the driver’s car door and heads toward the front door, with the occasional pit stop at a nearby piece of shrubbery.

If I play my cards right, Emmett and I have quite a few years left until the finishing touches are put on his story. Or mine. Now that Chloe is leaving us, the best thing I can do to remember her is to make that extra effort to love and cherish Emmett’s companionship to the best of my ability.

I still marvel at the ability of these creatures to impact our lives. Emmett, Chloe, Gizmo, Bella and all those preceding pups have found extra space in my heart in which to take up residence for good. And it’s my experience that there’s always room in there for one more.



A Snowy Tail.

Last night, around 7-ish, I believe it was, I took the initiative and got the dogs rounded up to go outside for a potty break. Since Gizmo’s paralysis two summers ago, it’s been recommended by the veterinarian that he wear a jacket outside in the coldest weather to help keep his back comfortable. So I’ve been doing that, having discovered that it also prevents snow from accumulating on his undercarriage. Since I discovered this undocumented feature of dressing the dogs for the out of doors, I have complied because it makes my life far easier than before.

Even the rescue pup, Charlie, is reluctantly willing to don a jacket, though it’s still a challenge to get him to step into the arm holes on cue!

Once all three are adorned with their respective jackets, we proceed outside into the 18-plus inches of snow in the hope that they’ll be cued to do the dog thing.

Chloe begins by hopping about bunny style. Charlie actually starts to frolic, then catches himself and stops. I swear if he’d just relax and let himself go, he’d be a very happy pooch! Gizmo starts wandering and dashing about, trying to burn off some of the pent up energy of having been under house arrest all day. He wanders off down the street and finds a suitable place to eliminate and does so — the only dog to have a clue regarding our most sacred mission! Then he dashes back toward me about 20 feet and stops.

He’s maneuvering around in a rut in the snow about 18 inches deep presumably made by our neighbor Bill’s truck awhile earlier. So it’s kind of like being in a maze in which the direction of travel is limited to two directions: toward me and away from me.

Naturally he chooses the away-from-me path and takes off like a rocket.

Initially, I am not too worried figuring he won’t go that far, so I advance and collect the leftovers in the appropriate bag and proceed to follow Gizmo. By now, he is easily off the side street and on a street that will be one of the first to be plowed, meaning there’s a slight potential for motor vehicle traffic. He’s still in the rut, running like he’s being chased, but he isn’t because I am standing there in the dark, cold night, hands on my hips trying to get Gizmo’s attention.

No such luck.

Since this IS a relatively major thoroughfare, it occurs to be that an oncoming plow, four-wheel drive truck or any other vehicle will be hard pressed to see a black and white dog running in the dark at warp speed in a rut that’s only a few inches taller than he is.

It is then that I make a command decision. Now is an appropriate time to panic.

I take off running after him and calling his name and he ignores me like a hot woman at a cocktail party. All I see is his little doggie butt and his little doggie elbows as he beats little doggie feet away from me. Now I am REALLY starting to panic, so I start running after him and hollering at him trying to make him stop. I’d have had better luck commanding the snow to stop.

Now he’s down to the next intersection and I hear laughter from my right. I glance over and there’s a gentleman shoveling the snow from his driveway. He’s decidedly amused at my race after Gizmo. I suspect that about all he could see of Gizmo was a wisp of white, fluffy tail moving like a snow shark against the subdued lighting of the night, being hotly pursued by a rather panicked human.

It had to be hilarious.

Finally, Gizmo stops, then teases me with one more short dash away, then comes back toward me, all smiles and panting like… well, like a dog. He’s safe.

I don’t have a leash with me so I cajole him and herd him and ask him and tell him and… Anything to get him to head toward home. But he’s had enough and is ready to go home on his own, so he again takes off leaving me in the snow to find my own way home.

When I get there a short while later, he’s nosing around Bill’s house looking for their dog, Blaze, to come out and join the fun. But Blaze isn’t to be found, so he’s wandering aimlessly about. Once I catch up to him, he’s still a little reluctant to go in, so I have to lure him in with the promise of food.

But first, I’ll try the straightforward approach.

“Gizmo! Let’s go home, come on!”

Nothing. He doesn’t even acknowledge me.

“Gizmo,” I say sternly, “let’s go, NOW!”

Nope. I do not exist from his perspective. So next, I try the bribe.

“Gizmo, do you want a treat?”

That stops him as he weighs his options. But since dogs have higher clock speeds than we mere humans, he decides in a flash that nope, this is not worth giving up for a mere treat.

I sigh. I want to go in. I started to sweat during the 100 yard dash to capture Gizmo, and I am starting to get cold.

“OK, Gizmo,” I say. “How about dinner? Do you want some dinner?”

He stops dead in his tracks and spins his head toward me, ears erect and definitely paying attention. After all, I said the “D” word!

“Gizmo, do you have rumbly in your tumbly?”

Yeah, that’s a little embarrassing to say in public. But the neighborhood is covered with at least 18 inches of snow, and no one’s there but me and Gizmo, so it’s worth the risk. And he knows precisely what this means. I say it again.

“Gizmo, do you have rumbly in your tumbly?”

I think he was just waiting for me to confirm what he thought he heard the first time. At the second mention of the “rumbly in the tumbly,” he starts making his way toward me, indicating that dinner is, in fact, an adequate motivation to end his front yard romp in the snow. He hops off the curb and starts making his way toward me and the house, but of course, he’s up to his chin in snow. So he’s having a tough time.

“Gizmo, do you need some help?”

He stops struggling, straightens himself so I can pick him up, and I relocate him from the snow drift to another rut where he can maneuver just fine. At this point, he’s ready. He shakes the excess snow from his body and heads off toward the front door and to the warmth of the living room and his bed.

I follow him in, finally relieved that he’s out of danger. Then I realize it. I have rumbly in my tumbly, too. Yep, food is a more than adequate motivation to come in from the cold.

I just hope we’re not having the same thing for dinner.