I have had a dog on and off for most of my life. My first dog was Sarge, my 12th birthday present. I got him from The Home for Friendless Animals (really). He was a beagly kind of dog. My step-dad and I dressed him up in my underwear, and he escaped to run down the street, much to my embarrassment.
My next dog was Tuesday, a small fluffly black and brown doggy. I picked her up in my school parking lot (on a Tuesday, of course), and told my husband she followed me home. He was not amused. Not too long after, he told me about his girlfriend, and Tuesday went to live with my much younger “baby” sister. Tuesday got my sister through a lot of angst, and received more love than I could have ever given her.
Nino was an 8 year-old, one-eyed, miniature grey poodle. He was given to me by a friend who was moving to New Zealand. I loved that dog. When he died of old age, I grieved for the first time in my life. That grief paved the way for future losses by death.
Then there was Flip, also a miniature grey poodle. He was the only dog I have ever had who was not a “rescue” of some sort. Of course, I was trying to recover Nino. Flip was a good companion. He traveled to the Arctic Circle, and he ran along with me when I rode my bicycle. When he was too old, he got cataracts and became confused. He was a foreshadowing of old age.
Ilsa was my only big dog. I learned from Ilsa that I wasn’t a big dog person She also taught me that we don’t always get the family we need, and that ill-fitting love is still love. Ilsa was loyal beyond belief.
Then Fina came to me. She was wandering the streets, and my step-daughter knew I was grieving for Flip, and brought her to me. Fina’s a Chihuahua, and was the lap dog I always wanted. Fina loves to cuddle, and she will sit on a lap 24/7. She doesn’t play. She hates to get her feet damp, and she has selective hearing. My former spouse has her, and she is filling a void. I miss her.
So now we come to Hattie. She is my little cauliflower, my little mashed potatoes, my little lamb-face, my little white fox, my little ball of fluff. She has many more nicknames, and they are all equally sentimental. She is also my reason for getting up in the mornings, for getting outside, and my reason for feeling useful and needed. Thank God for doggies, they teach us so much. They are our only true example of unconditional love. Thank God for pets. Hey…you think there’s a connection?