Human: Lisa & Horst
Location: Kennesaw, GA
Type: Golden Retriever / Chow Chow mix
For Christmas 2006 my dog, Bo, wrote me a book (with a little help from my husband) about our adventures together. This is his version of how it all began:
We met back in the early 90’s, December of ’92 to be exact. I just had a major blowout with my first, somewhat dysfunctional family and decided that it was best for all if I just left. My foster dad gave me a ride to nowhere that ended up at a boarding house in Albany, New York. The place was great, warm with plenty of company, and their cheesy poof biscuits were to die for. On the downside, it was loud and smelly, not unlike me.
Even a lowly Pug could smell her coming from miles away. It was Monday, as I recall, and the bells on the door jingled to announce her arrival. She was a beautiful blonde with a quick smile and a big heart. We’d seen this type before; they usually left with one of the purebred puppies, but something was different about this one. My instincts told me that any canine would be darn lucky to go home with a dame like her, so I made it my top priority to be that hound.
She wandered back to where we lived. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed about the condition of the place. Some of my cage mates were not very clean and some even took to pooping where they ate. My next cage neighbor’s lack of etiquette was particularly noteworthy as he took to eating kitty snickers (that’s slang for cat poo in the big house) openly. Sure they taste good, but you’re not getting adopted if you’re seen eating one.
As she came closer to my humble accommodations, I tried everything I could to grab her attention. When she finally got to me I made direct eye contact with her, angled my head at a 45 degree tilt and gave her my trademark ‘BoPaw’ reach. As a bonus, my head as a pup was fully-grown, although my body wasn’t. While it would have been abnormal on any other dog, my oversized cranium actually made me cuter.
With the paw in the air and the bobble head turned just so, I stared into her eyes. I could see instantly she wanted me. Needed me. Had to have me. Hey, who wouldn’t?
With her finely manicured nails, she reached out and petted me. She was clearly enjoying our encounter. How easy these humans are to manipulate, I thought. Her hands were refreshingly cool and her smell put me in a state of delight. I was in love. I could tell she loved me too.
After a few gushing, “He’s so cute!” comments, she took her hand out of my cage, gave me one last look, and proceeded to move on to Pumpkin’s cage.
What?? Move on?! Hey, we just made a connection. You can’t move on. But that’s exactly what she did.
Realizing I was still sitting there with a half-cocked head and a paw in the air, I felt my muzzle glow red hot under my furry face as the other dogs chuckled with delight. After a few minutes I got my bearings back, but by then she had moved through the room, out the door, and out of my life.
My hope for a better life was gone as quickly as it had come. A depression enveloped me. The brief glimpse of a superior existence with a loving, caring humanoid was replaced with the stark reality that I may spend the rest of my life at this boarding house. What was once a fun and refreshing place became a dark and daunting cave.
This brush with love, and the subsequent loss of it, had me thinking of ending things in this world. I had heard the stories of the different ways it was accomplished but I knew that if I were going to do it, there was only one way. I knew to whom I could turn.
His given name was Charlemagne Brutus the IV, but he was better known in the house as the Candyman. His studded dog collar betrayed an otherwise noble and tame appearance. C’man slept on the best blankets, drank from the shiniest bowls, and rarely took to begging for human food. He was well connected and living life that way.
I approached Candyman during exercise time in the yard. While the other dogs were working on their begging routines, he let on to me that he had a shipment of Hershey’s dark chocolate candy bars on the way. For the right price he would let me have them. As the reader clearly knows, as did I, chocolate will kill a canine quicker than a game of “chase the cat” in traffic. Yeah, that quick.
I was desperate, I wanted out of this life, and this was the easy path. Death by chocolate, as it is commonly referred to in the restaurant business, was only two Hershey bars away for me. Once ingested, I would soon be patrolling the pearly gates of heaven, looking of course for a place to dig out underneath it. Paradise awaited me.
I knew the price, two greenies and a peanut butter filled kong for each candy bar. The only problem, I had no money and I was unemployed. The price too steep, I resigned myself to the situation at hand. At least death would come seven times faster than it does for others on this lonely, desolate planet. I lay down and quickly dozed off.
<Initiate dream sequence, twitching and yelping> “…and if you want any input into what kind of dog we get, I suggest you get your butt over here after work!” the angry voice yelled. The words came from an angel; the very same angel that had visited the dog reclamation center earlier in the day, although in the dream she seemed a little heavier. (Ed note: dreams add 10 pounds to your frame.) <End dream sequence, twitching and yelping>
When I awoke, the angel was standing over me. Next to her was a very handsome young man. So handsome you might think he was gay, but let me assure the reader he is not. The sexiest man alive looked at me and said, “He’s cute. Let’s get him.”
“I want you to look at this one over here too,” the angel countered.
What? Another dog? She’s betraying me all over again. Ice must surely flow through this one’s veins. Did I mention this all happening during the Christmas season? Was I just like a Douglas Fir being picked up, twirled, and then tossed aside while the next Christmas tree gets evaluated?
Fortunately Prince Charming had his wits about him. “No, I like this one, he’s so dopey looking,” he said, clearly referring to me. “We don’t need to look at any of the others. He’s the one.” I didn’t much care for his attitude but his decision-making capability was flawless.
Knowing that once prospective parents take a dog for a ‘test’ walk, they will adopt the pet 98 percent of the time, Nurse Cratchet saw her opportunity. “Would you like to take him out for a walk, just to make sure you like him?” she offered. She was eager to get rid of me after my failed attempt at unionizing the locals to get better victuals.
I was put on a leash and escorted out the door. Once outside I made a beeline for my potential owner’s car. It was easy to pick out; my sense of smell is incredible. In a show of respect I immediately peed on it. I then proceeded to ignore them as they fawned all over me. Once you have them this far, you show them you don’t want them and they’ll want you more. It’s a sick world, but you have to play by the rules. Remember, don’t hate the player; hate the game.
The ploy worked, they wanted me. With the decision made I pranced back toward my former home to pack my belongings.
“Not so fast my friend,” Cratchet cackled, “We need to make sure you get all your required shots before we can release you to these fine folks.”
What? I can’t leave yet? What a shot in the nads, which by the way were already gone. My new parents were informed to come pick me up later in the week.
As they went to put me back in my cage, I did my best to stop this course of action. With a rope around my neck, I sat down and forced two, it might have been three, of the staff’s goons to drag me across the floor and to my destination. What a sight it must have been. I glanced at my new owners who stared at the commotion with a half smile and a half-shocked look that said, “What have we gotten ourselves into?” It’s a look they would share many times in our future together.
Like it or not, the ice princess and her prince were now my parents for life.
Bo has his own blog, over at Bo Knows He Just Doesn’t Listen. His book is due out from Kensington Books in October 2009.