Friday, August 27, 2010


I've put off blogging on this for a couple of weeks because I knew it would be a total cheat not to put up a picture, and I couldn't find the cable to connect my camera to my computer. Well, I found it yesterday. Actually, I found two of them in the first place I looked a couple of weeks ago. You know how that goes.

Say hi to Laszlo, the newest citizen of our little island of misfit toys. I posted a while back about how we had to have Amanda, our Australian shepherd, put to sleep a while back. The missus responded by running to a shelter, and then running right back, weeping. It was a sad thing. She decided that she wasn't ready for a new dog yet.

But our old dog, Roxie the Jack Russel/Rat terrier, has been getting more and more neurotic. Her neediness finally snapped the missus's resistance, and so the search was on.

The missus had been speaking of borzois and French bulldogs and other such atrocities of animal husbandry, while I plaintively kept bleating, "Just find a dog we like, get a nice stray mutt who needs a home..."

Thankfully, my preferred option came up first. Karen got wind of a rescue dog from a friend who works with them, and arranged a meeting. The dog was a spaniel, a stray with a cherry-eye.

So we drove out to Concorde to let Roxie meet him. The thing to keep in mind is that the term 'bitch' did not appear out of thin air for no good reason. Roxie is, unfortunately, a little bitch. New dog tried to make friends with her and got a faceful of teeth. But after a while they settled down, and it was clear that this was gonna be as good as it got so far as Roxie went.

I had my doubts. First off, the guy was such a little sad sack. Totally miserable, wouldn't meet my gaze, wouldn't approach me -- in fact, he shied off when I called to him. I'm an animal person, to the point where it gets a little weird at times. Ask the missus about my King cobra pal, for instance. So to have a potential pet just cringe at my presence did not please. My inclination was to take him in because he clearly needed a home and some affection, but if he didn't like me, what was the point?

Well, about twenty minutes later, the woman responsible for Laszlo and I were deep in conversation, when out of the blue she says, "Boy, he really likes you."

I looked down, and saw that he was sitting next to me, a-a-a-l-l-l-most touching me, body curved so as to approach me as closely as possible without getting my notice, just staring up at me with this expression like I was... Well, you know. Dog stuff. Eyes met, he collapsed at my feet with his paws in the air, the belly was scratched and the deal was sealed.

Well, his sad-sack demeanor has proven a sham. He's still oddly shy around me -- won't approach me from the front, won't come when I call him directly -- but he won't stay away from me if he has any say in the matter. He's actually got a boisterous, slightly sly and humorous personality. A positive attitude, which is something we need in this household.

Roxie, of course, is having a difficult period of adjustment.

Taking to one's bed is Victorian behavior, but Roxie has an unfortunately Victorian mindset. "Miss Roxie regrets she's unable to lunch today."

It's getting better, inch by inch, and it's just a matter of time before they're friends. Laszlo is showing remarkable social smarts in this matter, and he's determined to be a pal. Roxie is being absolutely miserable, though.

We were taking care of a Prince Charles spaniel named Coco recently, and when Coco and Laszlo were in full frenzied frolic mode, Roxie crouched under the comforter and whined loudly in sheer envy the entire time. Oh, that there should be such joy in the world apart from herself! I keep telling her that the problem is with her attitude, but with that attitude it wouldn't make any difference even if she could understand me.

Although I must confess that my feelings toward the little brute have warmed considerably lately. During my recent bouts of miserable sickness, she made a conscious and somewhat show-offy (I should never have shown her His Master's Voice) point of staying steadfastly by my side. I'd make a brief return from the netherworlds and look up and she'd be looking all noble and disgustingly pleased with herself.

Hey, you know what? If an animal volunteers to guard my body while my soul does its business in the spirit world, I will not be ungrateful. If I had to pick a fetch, I would have chosen something cooler than a neurotic Jack Russel, but coolness is not my lot in this vale of beers. If my familiar barks at the neighbors and urinates submissively, well. That's how it goes.

I just wish she'd stop growling at Laszlo, though. Just have to give her time.

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