I know it’s been at least 10 years, but the actual date is lost in the Big-Pool-of-Before that is my memory. I was looking to add a small dog to our household and stopped in at the Dallas Animal Shelter. Entering the door ahead of me was what appeared to be a college student with a small, shivering, obviously scared to death little dog clinging to her shoulder. If I had thought quickly enough, I could have saved myself the $100-ish adoption fee, but I waited in line behind her until she had surrendered the pitiful little thing – “I just don’t have time for her” -, stepped up, and said, “I want that one!”.
The clerk said they had to do all the routine check-in stuff for/to her, but I would be able to come back for her that evening. After my teenagers were home from school, we all went back over there to retrieve our new family member. While we were finalizing the paperwork, my daughter held the dog in her lap – until the dog jumped and landed on her head on the floor. Somehow, she blamed Janette for this painful event. When the shelter employee removed the paper collar, some of the sticky side pulled the dog’s hair. She yelped, and since Janette was still holding her, also blamed that pain and suffering on my innocent daughter. It took about three days for Janette to be forgiven those initial insults.
I decided on the name “Mouse” because this tiny dog was very small and gray. My then-husband and son teased me by calling her “Rat”, but they ended up falling in love with her, too. We had recently acquired a rather large guinea pig (Bob – named sort-of for the new Taco Bueno BOB – Big Ol’ Burrito, because Bob was a “Big Ol’ Boy”) and Mouse and Bob were neck-and-neck with weight gain, both starting at about 3.5 pounds. Mouse eventually won, topping out a pound over Bob’s four pound maximum.
On the way home, we stopped for fast food, and as we were working on that evening’s chapter of our read-aloud book, I lay on my stomach, Mouse sat on my butt, and my kids proceeded to feed her as many french fries as she could hold. Until she threw up on my back. We learned right away that Mousie had no self-control when it came to tasty food, something that almost killed her a couple of years later when she stole a sub sandwich off the coffee table and ate all the salami out if it.
Mouse was very bossy right from the start. Her first week at home, I was reading in my bedroom when she came in, “erf”ed at me, and set off down the hallway to the front of the house. “What is it, Mouse? Timmy in the well?” I followed her into the living room where she had sat herself down in the middle of the floor. Perplexed, I sat down on the couch, whereupon she immediately jumped up and settled herself into my lap, mission accomplished. And she eventually orchestrated the movements of the other dogs in the household, reigning from the back of the couch, the prime spot for watching out the window for cars and pedestrians. Although she rarely ran outside herself, she would bark to let the other dogs know they needed to rush out the doggie door to confront perceived trespassers. And so they did.
Mousie has been gone several years, eventually succumbing to kidney failure, even over the valiant efforts of my ex, who took her to the vet for near-daily subcutaneous fluid treatments. She wasn’t very old, but the vet said that as small as she was, her kidneys might never have formed properly to begin with. Or who knows. I still miss her.
And, I’ve said all that to say this: Tonight, I will be going to meet Fiona, a 5-year-old yorkie who has weaned her third litter and is now ready for doggie retirement. There’s going to be a yorkie at our house!