JUMPING FOR JOY
Call it replacement therapy. Call it animal hoarding. Or just call it falling in love.
When I recently dropped by the animal shelter to visit my niece Laura, we took the usual heart-breaking tour of animals abandoned by their human families. And usually, I can resist the temptation to add another furry bundle of need.
But this last time, I cracked. Amid the cacophonous barking of dogs, sitting politely in her concrete cell was a teeny two-pound version of Zack.
“What? Is? That?” I asked Laura.
“She’s not up for adoption,” Laura told me. “She has an owner. We’re just waiting for her to show up.”
“Well, that’s good,” I said. “Jack would never let me have another pet (we already have a labradoodle, a Chihuahua, and a part-time cat we share with the neighbors).
Nevertheless, in passing – just in passing – I mentioned this little jumping bean to Jack.
“She looks just like Zack (our previous dog) only she’s two pounds and has no teeth because she was neglected and undernourished,” I told him. “Can I get her? She’s like the size of a bird.”
I really just asked rhetorically. There’s no way on god’s green earth Jack would sanction an addition to our menagerie.
“Yes,” he said.
“No. Are you kidding? No.” I said, thinking I’d misheard him.
“Why not. We can give her a home,” he replied.
And like that, I was texting Laura that if by some wild chance the dog’s owner didn’t want her, I would like to put in a bid for this teensy creature that looks like a bat crossed with a shaggy black sheep and a dog.
Well, you know how the story ends. The owner never came back to claim her. I picked her up, named her Shirley, and brought her home.
The first week Shirley was pretty meek and quiet. But now, the Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle mix is … you guessed it … ruling the roost. She tells everyone what to do and – god forbid we pass another dog on our walk – or she’ll tell him where he can put it.
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The rest of my furry brood was a little bent out of shape by the new addition, but we’re all settling in just fine and even at mealtime as I dole out everyone’s meal, nobody tries to steal anyone else’s chicken-and-sweet-potatoes and the pack has shifted into a comfortable kind of chaotic peace.