For years I dodged getting a dog. Don’t get me wrong , I love dogs very much but I worked full-time and often didn’t get home until late. My son was cared for by family and neighbours when I was working over time. I hardly had the time or energy left for taking care of pets. Finally worn down by my son’s pleas for a pet we got fish ( they flipped out of their bowl so that didn’t end well). Then we got birds ( grandma took them to her house as she thought they were too messy for us to take care of). Next, an adorable black and whie fluffy long hair kitten arrived ( that’s another story). Sixteen years later” we needed a dog badly” so we went looking for a tiny house dog. As my son was more than capable as a teenager to help with its care the plan was to get a wee dog that wouldn’t cause too much extra work. Well, that was the proposal given to me by my son. Seeking to adopt locally at the animal shelter we tried looking at little terriers andother miniature breeds but that didn’t work, my son fell in love.
In a kennel, tumbling in and out of a box were several cream coloured puppies. Sitting upright in the box was a rusty-brown giant puppy with a shiny black muzzle, perfect markings,warm brown eyes, tufted soft ears, fluffy paws like pancakes and a long waggly tail. This big puppy was from the same litter but stuck out as quite different from it’s siblings. This puppy also was a yelper and was obviously communicating loudly with my son and it worked. My son wanted to call the puppy Zeus but he turned out to be a Zena. However, my son didn’t want to call her that so he allowed me to name the dog as a way to crack through my maternal reserves. I named her Holly.
Holly is a big dog in a very small house. She has a large beautifully personalized doghouse outside ( insulated, vented, has a shaded porch feature and expertly shingled roof) but as she can be a pill she needs to be indoors with us. When we go out to do yard work or simply read on the porch swing she stays in her doghouse and yard area. If anyone goes by with a dog she barks very gruffly and she doesn’t make a very good first impression. People have been known to turn and go the other way when they see her.We generally don’t go too far except to our local park on our street to avoid a barking hissy fit . She does have a few kind neighbour friends that provide dog biscuits and ear rubs despite her rather in your face personality. Basically, she will do anything for a biscuit . Inside the house she sleeps like a perfect angel at our feet while we watch television or read. If we are cooking or doing laundry she stays a few feet away watching our every move. At night she is guarding the house and stays on alert in the hallway. She knows her duty and takes the night shift quite seriously.
Holly will alert us if there is an unknown car, stranger, newspaper delivery person, racoon, deer, coyote or stray cat at our door. All heck breaks out if there is. A couple of times she has been a hero and saved the day. She has prevented an intruder from coming in the house late at night and also raised hell when a car was being stolen from across the street. With the onset of old age she no longer announces the garbage man, school bus or snow plow. She has learned to pick her battles.
If you have read my earlier post you know all about the pampered cats that live with us. Holly is a mother figure to them and doesn’t take too kindly to the neighbours dogs barking at her cats as they zip across their yards. She lets the cats eat out of her bowl and drink her water but gets jealous if they cuddle with us too much. With ample reassurance she accepts that she must share the love.
In her dotage, Holly sleeps almost all the time. Thirteen years old is a significant age for a dog. Her little walks outside are still a pleasure for her but she can’t go too far without getting stiff. She is on a special diet to help her joints. Her fur sheds quite a bit and piles of dog fluff form in the corners. We do need to vacuum quite often and somehow we never seem to catch it all. I even had to buy an expensive vacuum to cope with her shedding, The rest of our extended family shake their heads and wonder why we put up with her like we do but they just don’t get it. She loves us and the feeling is mutual. That’s the deal.