Monday, May 26, 2008

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Two weeks ago I went to my hometown to take care of my parents' garden, as they were out of the country. As I was watering the tomatoes, up came this li'l ol' puppy dawg. Awwwww.... And then I remembered: my parents don't have a puppy dawg. They have the Wonder Schnauzer, but he's in the kennel right now. It was painfully obvious that Li'l Ol' Puppy Dawg was abandoned, incredibly hungry and thirsty, and eaten up with mange. I know it was abandoned because she had no fear, was at least semi-potty-trained (would only go pee on the grass), and was wearing a collar.

"Come, Li'l Ol' Puppy Dawg, I will take care of you. For lo, if I take you to the shelter with your mange and your ear mites and your undoubted parasitic worms, they will prescribe for you The Big Sleep without hesitation."

Four hundred dollars later (!), I now have a potential playmate for the Ginger-pup. (Special thanks to BB for her generous underwriting of the vet bill). She is an adorable cross between a Chihuahua and (we think) a Jack Russell Terrier. Full of energy, life, vigor --and fiercely defensive of her food dish. First Puppy Lesson: snarling at Daddy is the Worst Idea Imaginable, as he is much bigger than you and can cause pain by simply looking at you. Still, she got off one good snap on a knuckle before she was Educated.She's intelligent, for sure. She learned about the Astroturf not being real grass inside of a day. She goes off to do her business by herself, so I no longer leave her locked in her crate at night. She isn't allowed inside until her mange clears (Stinky Puppy!), but she enjoys running around the yard.

The effect on the rest of the household has been somewhat predictable. The Kaiser enjoys spying on her from his perch atop the BBQ pit but otherwise ignores her. Sweetikins is absolutely hissy-fit jealous and refuses to go into the backyard, and will actually stand at the patio glass door and growl at the puppy on the other side. She also hisses if I pick her up after being near the puppy. But at least she has ended her boycott of the house after three days. Ginger-pup has had the most interesting reaction. She is rather indifferent to the puppy most of the time, as she stays in while the puppy stays out (puppy hasn't figured out the dog-flap yet). Both have learned to respect each other's food dish (I no longer feed them at the same time). They do not snap at each other, although the puppy occasionally tries to "impress" the much-larger dog with her fierce yipping. But that lasts only as long as The Wee One isn't outside with us. Then, Ginger reverts to Ultra-Guard mode and visibly threatens this incredibly tiny puppy with bared teeth, raised hackles and a no-nonsense growl that would even put dearly-departed Roxie the Rottie to shame if she so much as approaches my daughter. That's devotion.

Unfortunately, my wife is probably allergic to this particular dog: her eyes started watering almost the day after she was brought home from the vet. The plan had been to nurse her back to health and put her up for adoption, with ourselves being the fallback option. That may not be viable if, indeed, Mrs. Mojo cannot even handle her. Not that any of that stopped her from asserting her rights under The Marriage Contract to name this little girl-puppy (since I had named Ginger-pup and Da Fuzz).

So now it's Ginger and....Nutmeg.

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