Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brand-new baby

Okay, I have pictures of our new dog, FINALLY. Blogger did some dubious "upgrades" the other day which left me with the inability to post images for the past three days, which is like GRRR. So here he is, our new shelter adoptee, Dobby the miniature pinscher. He was caught just at the very beginning of a large yawn -- he and Zuzu were lounging on Mee's big squooshy pillow, Zuzu flat on her back and Dobby stretched out on his side.

I have never been particularly drawn to miniature pinschers before because, well....they're hideously ugly. I mean, LOOK AT THAT FACE, if you dare. It could just about stop a clock. He's a tiny boy, only eleven pounds, which is what Zuzu weighs. But Zuzu is furry and curly and snuggly and Dobby is all skinny and wiry, with legs that look like #2 pencils and a pinkish nose that looks like an eraser. His eyes are beady and his ears are about three sizes too big for his head, but in spite of this appalling list of beauty flaws, his personality is all you could hope for in a dog.

Dobby is a sweet boy and makes the funniest little cooing sounds almost constantly. At first, these little sounds were very anxious,  which just wrung my heart. He also had a frightened, ill-at-ease look in his eyes the first few days we've had him. The people at the shelter told us that he'd had a hard life, born in a puppy mill and chosen by his first owner from a room swarming with puppies and mothers and strewn with spilled water and torn up newspapers and poop. Then the first owner took him home for a year, neglected to ever buy him a tag with his name and her phone number on it ($4 at Wal-Mart) or get his annual shots. Then he slipped out of her house and got lost in the city, was picked up as a stray and went to the shelter. He was there for a week and we saw him the day after Hershey died: I couldn't deal with the jangling loneliness of having only one dog in the house and the girls and I went there just to see what the process was for adopting a pet and to fill out an application.

Dobby was standing in a cage when we walked into the room at the shelter where the small dogs were housed. For a min pin, he was a handsome boy, the first chocolate-and-red miniature pinscher I'd ever seen. I thought they only came in the black style! He looked so forlorn, so utterly defeated, that I was immediately attracted to him, in spite of the fact that there was an adorable Yorkie mix in a cage not far from his. The Yorkie mix still had some spirit to him, though, and poor Dobby just stood there and looked at me with what I perceived was longing. I put my hand up to his cage to sniff, and after checking me out, he gave my palm a solemn bath with a long, pink tongue, closing his eyes as I put my finger through the bars of the crate to scratch his big ears.

Meelyn, Aisling and I had Zuzu with us, so we introduced them to one another in the shelter's parking lot. Zuzu's ears pricked up and she bounced around him like a rubber ball, sniffing him all over and then going down into the play bow to see if he'd like to play a game of chase. As it turned out, he did not. He was very diffident, looking at us all shyly, as if aware that his personal charms weren't centered on his looks. My heart was captured.

We adopted him three days later.

Once back at our house with the new baby, my first mission was to get him a collar and an ID tag, along with a sweater -- as it turns out, miniature pinschers have such sleek, tight coats, they can get chilly in cool weather and our house is not known for its sauna-like atmosphere. Leaving Dobby at home sitting in my husband's lap, the girls and I sailed off to Wal-Mart where we found him a dapper red collar and a couple of cozy sweaters. The sweaters, one in fall colors and the other a distinguished blue plaid, are just the funniest things I have ever seen on a dog. He looks like he could be a male dog-model for L.L. Bean. Very preppy, with the turtlenecks all folded over. I wish so much we could find him an Izod dog sweater. Maybe my husband wouldn't notice a couple of holes on the upper left side of his golf shirts....

It's taken Dobby all this past week to settle in, but he's doing very well, considering the traumatic circumstances of his recent history. He's very smart, learning his new name by Day Three and coming at a run when called. He's very affectionate, gazing at us all with beady eyes brimming over with devotion as he climbs into our laps. He and Zuzu have taken a liking to one another and are constantly whirling around the house, tumbling around as they grr and play-fight and wrestle with the toys and pull a plush bear back and forth between them. Then they flop down in a heap together to sleep. Zuzu has taught Dobby to come running whenever they hear someone in the kitchen opening the cabinet doors.

I don't think we could ever consider Dobby a substitute for Hershey. Hershey's loss is still too fresh in all our minds. But I do think that Dobby will make his own place in our family's history and that we'll love him like all our other pets. And he'll help comfort us with his funny ways and sweet affection as we say goodbye to the good dog who came before him by getting to know the new one we were lucky enough to find behind the bars of a cage at the animal shelter.


Amy said...

Congratulations! He does look a bit like Dobby of the Harry Potter fame. And I see ZuZu got a new sweater too?

Kayte said...

He is adorable...he looks a little like Yoda in that photo, so ugly that he is cute. Actually, he doesn't really look that ugly, just sort of plainer because of his cute little sister there all princess like and all. How fun to have new puppies this past year.

Shauna said...

I don't think getting a new dog is ever a replacement for a dog that has passed. But it definitely does help the healing process. I know my mother-in-law adopted a big husky/st. bernard mix after one of her dogs passed, and his presence filled a physical void (if not the emotional one).

Dobby is super cute, and I love his name! We call Ozzy Dobby all the time because he, too, is kind of pathetic in terms of handsomeness and has those big eyes and ears that remind me of Dobby the house elf. :) Your little Dobby is probably the size of my Ozzy's head, though! :)