It all started – well, in childhood, really. Isn’t that when it always begins? The idea of Dog, or perhaps the Ideal of Dog. I had guinea pigs, birds, and pet mice, and they were all great and large parts of my childhood, make no mistake. But they didn’t measure up to the Ideal of Dog.
I never got a dog as a child (or a pony!). I was an adult, 26 years old and in graduate school, before I got my first dog. A neighbor had left his two dogs to be cared for by another neighbor, and the dogs had escaped and been picked up by the pound. And no one had ‘bailed them out’. When my friend Kim and I found out, it was days before they were scheduled to be put down. We were broke college students, but we couldn’t let these two little dogs go like that. We scraped together our last funds and borrowed money from friends, and went to get the dogs.
At the pound, they told us we’d get a discount if either of the two dogs was spayed. We assured them that both were spayed. They insisted that maybe the younger one was, but the older certainly was not. In fact, she was pregnant. “I don’t think so,” I told the manager. “She’s ten years old.”
After some argument, we ended up paying the higher, no-spay fee for the older dog, and they were turned over to us. The pound was right. Floyd (the older dog) looked like a bowling ball on legs. She was not just pregnant, she was PREGNANT. A few days later, I was lucky enough to watch five puppies being born on the pink shag carpet in my friend’s bedroom. Eventually I took the third one, a little female. In a way, she was my first rescued dog, since she would have perished had her mother been put down.
Here is what she looked like when I first met her, at three days old.
Okay, I admit it – she looked kind of like a guinea pig at that age.