Friday, October 29, 2010

The Yorkie vs. The Porkie

The Yorkie has lived a charmed life. He was a heavily-researched, paranoid first-time-buyer picked-from the-litter puppy that cost a pretty penny and was brought from his mother to his new home at 10 weeks. My husband and I read every What To Expect When You're Expecting type of dog training and pack leading and puppy socializing book for months. We were your typical type-A DINK (double-income-no-kids) couple that were determined to have our perfect little pure-bread accompany us on every outing and excursion. He knew how to "sit" by the first week and vigorously attended training classes, oh we did everything right! On Sundays we took him to what I called "Yuppie Puppy Play Group", where we paid $12 so he could romp around an indoor dog-camp with other puppies that were not old enough to receive their full vaccinations and go to the park. Oh and a dominant little thing he was! Humping everything in sight, so full of pack-leading-testosterone that within 5 minutes of entering the dog park on a busy Saturday afternoon, would create a huge fight and we would have to leave. But he was smart as a whip and so adorable and at around 2 and-a-half this INCREDIBLE dog emerged. He was well mannered and such a good boy and so sweet! I assume it felt like what sending a child off to Harvard must feel like. We had done our job and done it well! People would beg me to let them babysit him...but precious few were ever given the privilege. Only his Grandmother and Godmother, to be exact!

The fact that I got sick with mystery illness (CFS) two weeks after getting him did have an impact on his upbringing. He was my emotional strength and being a human-like intelligent, extremely emotional dog anyway, we became very in-tune with each other. But he loved to torture me! He clearly preferred my husband and when we would go over to said Godmother's house he would sit and cuddle with her for hours, flicking nannie-nannie-nannie looks at me the entire time. Yet he was always there to lick my tears or curl up with me during my numerous and frequent breakdowns while I was spiraling into the misery of Fibromyalgia. He was none too happy about the move to Arizona, much preferring the cool briskness of Northern California, and would not make eye contact with me for the first 3 months we lived here. He had no problem with my husband, however. So as we were approaching our 3rd summer of HELL my husband and I were seriously considering getting another puppy. Neither one of us were up for the work, the potty-training, the chewing, the rambunctious energy that came with a baby puppy. And we were broke, too, but knew he needed a buddy, someone to play with and live with and love. So it was ever present in my mind but I was not sure how it was going to become a reality.

Then one day in May we stopped by Home Depot to get a pot for a palm tree and next door, out in front of Pet Smart I saw a flash of black and tan rolling around an adoption pen with some Chihuahuas. My husband and I gave each other troubled glances as we agreed to just go look. She was clearly a mix, with the coloring of a Yorkie but a brown head and curly hair. The rescue lady said she was 7 months old, Poodle-Yorkie, picked up roaming the streets a month before by animal control and was rescued from the pound 2 days before her lethal injection. She was very friendly with other dogs but had a HORRIBLE fear of people. I held her and she was so sweet and timid and shy but I could see a spark in her eye that had not been broken. I saw something I could work with, some potential. My husband let me run wild with this one and a week later we picked up our baby girl who tried every way imaginable to get away from us. She stuck to her crate for the first day, just observing. The Yorkie was curious but polite, and she would intently watch our interaction with him. The second day she passed out cold and I assumed this was the first time in most likely months she was not in constant fight or flight alert. The third day she ventured out of the crate and slowly but surely this little spirit has blossomed into quite the wild child! She has springs on her feet attached to 9" baton legs and jumped the baby gate the first time I tried to confine her, yet drools herself into soaking wet despair if left in the crate. She vomited on every car ride and peed inside more than out and twisted herself up something good while getting used to a leash. But she is one smart cookie and took to training class well and has gotten VERY comfortable with us and most importantly, the Yorkie has fallen in love. The difference between my two children is huge. He is a symbol of the life we thought we were going to have, picture perfect and fancy and highfalutin. She is a symbol of the life we got, meshed with problems and complications and a little rough around the edges. I laugh now, as she races up and down the hall at top speed and the Yorkie takes a swipe at her at each pass, and am so glad we wound up with two very distinct dogs. One a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow and the other a promise of a reality that is messy and complex and an entirely different kind of beautiful.

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