Thursday, May 5, 2011

Daisy Louise

I come from a long line of dog lovers.  Not just dog lovers, but dog adorers.  Growing up, my dogs were not my pets, they were my brothers and sisters.  After my husband and I were married, the only thing I wanted was a dog (darn rental contracts).  We finally purchased a home of our very own 2 years later and I decided for us that it was time to expand our family.  We adopted a baby girl, whom we named Daisy (also known as Roo, Rooskie, Daisy Roo, Dooskie Doo, Rooman, Rooskie Girl, Daisy Girl, Looskie Loo, and most often Stop Barking).  She was our baby for several years before we had a non-furry child of our own.  She's still a baby (a princess if you ask her), and really this house is hers... she just lets us live here.  She is very much an 'inside-dog'... more specifically a 'couch-dog'.
Daisy Louise is a full blooded, 100% pure bred mutt.  Even the vet doesn't really know what she is (every puppy in her litter looked different... I think her biological mom got around).  We've been told that blood tests could be sent to some far away lab (laboratory, not Labrador... just in case you needed clarification) to let us know exactly what breed she is.  I find that quite unnecessary, we love her no matter what she is.  Before this sweet little face came into our lives, I was a little bit of a dog-snob.  Only wanting an AKC registered this or that (I grew up with beautiful full-bred Cocker Spaniels).  But, I am truly converted to the Heinz 57 breed fur baby.  Anyway... we adopted her from a Humane Society when she was just 6 weeks old and weighed a mere 2 pounds.  We fell in love with her at first sight.  She was the only dog in the place that wasn't barking, and she wore a sad look on her face that said "please let me go home with you".  We were wrapped around her tiny little paw from that point on.
We weren't able to take her home with us from the Humane Society that day because she was a major part of a criminal investigation.  Seriously.  You see, Daisy had already had quite the exciting life for such a young lady.  She had been adopted once, left in a hot car in a parking lot on a scalding Kansas summer day.  A stranger took her out of the vehicle and let her free to roam the lot.  Another kind stranger took her back to the Humane Society where her adopted family came back to look for her.  They told their side of the sad story and were not allowed to re-adopt her.  They came back again the next day to see her and to make a plea to be allowed another chance to take her home only to find that she had been stolen.  Stolen!  The family returned home and saw their next door neighbors with a new puppy.  Low and behold it was Daisy (who was then named Darla)!  The police were called.  Poor Daisy was confiscated, returned to the Humane Society, and was being held until officers could come and do a photo shoot with her (I told you she was a princess).  We had to beg and plead to have her 'held' for us so that we could adopt her when the paparazzi were done with her.  A few phone calls were made to the board of directors and she was ours.
When we were finally able to bring her home, she was barely half the size of my husband's size 11.5 shoe and was instantly S.P.O.I.L.E.D.  She went everywhere with us and rode on my lap during most car trips.  She knows us by Mommy and Daddy, and is thrilled when Grandma and Grandpa come to visit.  We put great effort into teaching her to sit, shake, give high-fives, dance (when someone says 'Dance Pretty' or 'KU Scores'), speak, whisper and fetch.  She also learned to get super excited when someone sings her song (which is Daisy Roo - to the tune of Peggy Sue).  Unfortunately we didn't put as much time and energy into teaching her manners on a leash, but we're working on it.  When we finally found out we were expecting a baby of the human breed (after what seemed like an eternity of fertility treatments, doctors visits and lab work), we were really quite concerned about how Daisy would handle it.  I laid awake many nights worrying that I wouldn't have enough love in my heart for a real baby because I already loved Daisy so much.
Needless to say, I had plenty of room in my heart to love my son (pregnancy can make a lady crazy), but I was still concerned how my Rooskie Girl would accept the newest human to take up residence in our small ranch-style home.  We read all the right articles and did all the right things to make sure that we properly introduced said dog to said baby, even gifting a blanket to her that had his scent on it.  When we finally brought him home after 9 long days in the hospital, she was thrilled with him.  She even dropped her beloved tennis ball into his bassinet as a gift to her new baby brother.  Everywhere he was, she was right there by him, waiting for me to turn around so she could sneak a kiss.  If she had opposable thumbs, we would never have to hire a babysitter.
Now our little guy is not so little anymore, he's nearly 17 months and constantly on the run.  Daisy still is in love with him (except when he is trying to poke her in the eye), and he is in love with her.  His first word spoken (besides Mama and Dada) was 'Daisy'.  Her name is the first word out of his mouth each morning as he peers out of his crib waiting for her to greet him.  She is generally waiting patiently outside of his room for him to wake up so that they can play.  More likely, she is ready for his snack time so she can follow him around and eat the crumbs or clean the floor under his chair during meal time.  But, nevertheless, she waits.
Daisy will turn 5 on the 27th of this month and is starting to look more and more like an old lady.  I think the stress of being an older sister and barking at the mailman is really getting to her.  She doesn't like when anyone walks on her sidewalk, she is starting to crack and pop when she walks (though the vet said her joints are in great condition), her bottom is getting quite round (that's more from our son's handouts than from anything else) and the midnight black fur directly around her eyes is turning quite gray.  I think it makes her seem distinguished.
I think much can be learned from my Daisy though.  Such as, always always always protect your family (even if it is just from the villainous UPS delivery guy).  Never trust anyone who doesn't offer you a treat.  Love with vigor and kisses.  Show your excitement when your family arrives (even if they have only been gone a few minutes).  Don't worry about your weight, just eat until you are full.  Prance around when you feel pretty in your new scarf or shirt.  Pay attention when people speak.  Actively listen.  Don't bat an eye when your haircut, which is priced per pound, gets more expensive each time (can we all just quickly thank the Good Lord that human haircuts aren't priced this way?).  Always be ready and willing to go on a walk.  If someone throws a ball, by all means, chase it!  And, if someone you love is sad or sick, don't leave their side.
I tend to not understand, or trust, people who don't love dogs.  I also tend to like my dog more than I like most people.  I think there is a definite reason why people who are dog-owners tend to live longer than those who aren't.  If you have a dog, you know what it feels like to be fully and completely and unconditionally loved by another being.  That alone makes it worth while to stay on this earth longer.  If only the lives of our beloved dogs weren't so quick and fleeting.

Love your dog.  Love yourself.  And remember... you're In Good Company.

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