Leda was a greyhound, white with black spots. They call them cow dogs. I thought she would be my last dog.
I had done the math before she died, several years before she died. If Leda lived a normal greyhound lifespan of 10-12 years, and then if I got a smaller dog who lived a longer lifespan, then I would be too old to care for the dog when it and I were both old.
At the end, when Leda was too sick to move, I couldn’t lift her. I dragged her on her blankets from my bedroom to the living room, so the vet who was coming to put her down could put her down. I’ve had good dogs. I’ve had enough.
But then, I took a three-week dog-sitting assignment. The dog was a friend’s goldendoodle. I’d dog sat this dog before, when she was six months old. She was a handful. At the end of our week together, I was ready to give her back.
I wondered how it would go this time, for three weeks, if I could hold up.
Now two years old, she was a sweetheart. She didn’t pull me off my feet while walking. She wasn’t trying to chew everything, only her chew toys. She crawled onto my lap when I read.
After our first week together, I wanted another dog. I decided it had to be a senior dog, and it had to be a dog I could lift. I researched. It seemed pugs were good for apartments. I started looking for rescue pugs.
Petfinder.com found pug mixes within 100 miles of Cincinnati. Most were mixed with pit bull, which concerned me. Some were mixed with chihuahua, which made a dog much smaller than I’m used to. Leda was 60 pounds. Nemo was 90. Charlie was 55.
On Petfinder, the next option beyond 100 miles was ‘nationwide.’
What the heck.
There were pugs in AK, which was not Arkansas, but Alaska. There were pugs in CA and TX. There was one in IL.
It was a pug/chow mix (Chug? Pow?) in Wheaton, Illinois. 25 pounds. 8 years old. 2.4 miles from my friend Ginger.
Ginger’s is where we had moovie nights back before Laura moved to Florida. ‘Moovie’ was originally a typo, but kept because mooooo-vie is so fun to say.
Laura and I would each bring a bottle of wine, Ginger would cook us dinner, we’d watch a movie or maybe not, and talk into the night. When our eyelids got too heavy, we tottered to our bedrooms. In the morning, Ginger would make us breakfast.
I called DuPage County Animal Services to schedule an in-person meeting with the pug/chow named Diamond. I said I was dog sitting and couldn’t be there for a week. They said they’d make the appointment, but I’d need to call the day before to check if the dog was still available. They don’t put dogs on hold.
The morning after I completed my dog-sitting duties, I drove to Wheaton. Ginger made me dinner and everything except the salmon came from her garden. I brought two bottles of wine (one for us, one for later).
As I write this, I’m sitting in my big chair. The renamed Roxie is sprawled on the floor beside me. We’ve been together for seven days. We’re still learning each other and we have much to learn.
I already love her, this compact, shedding, snorting chug that can pull me off my feet if I’m not careful. I don’t know how that’s possible, to love so quickly, but that’s what happened.
Chewing the Cud of Good
Thankful for the sigh Roxie makes just before she falls asleep.