We’re a Boxer family. Once you’ve been owned by a Boxer dog, you’re ruined for life. So when I lost one of the best I ever owned at the tender age of three, I was determined to never fall in love again.
There was just one problem. My MIL had gotten accustomed to having a dog let her know that someone was approaching the house. So I called my SIL who raised puppies and asked her what she had available. She had a litter of Miniature Pinschers and a litter of Boston Terrier mixes. I always wanted a min-pin, so I opted for the Boston. I could not risk any emotion. This was strictly a service animal.
Three days into training the world’s ugliest/cutest puppy (her head was so large that when she crouched to potty her back feet left the ground), I made a shocking discovery: our little service dog, meant to alert us to incoming traffic, was totally deaf. That had two immediate effects: The first was that my maternal instinct kicked into serious overdrive and all pretense at lack of love or emotion was gone. My puppy was a special needs animal and I was all over her. I can still hear her little snores as she slept on my shoulder. The second effect was….. I needed another dog. A service animal in two ways – watchdog for the house and a hearing-ear dog for my deaf puppy.
So in comes the min-pin. I barely looked at her when she got there. When the family got ready to leave after a brief visit, we took the min-pin out of her kennel to take her outside. And, holy cow, instead of the sleek little black and rust pup that had come an hour or so earlier, Quasimodo himself lumbered out of the kennel.
“What’s wrong with the dog?!” I shouted. “It’s deformed!”
Her face was swollen and misshapen, the swelling starting down her neck. My SIL did a quick assessment and determined she was having an allergic reaction to some flea powder they had used on her before they brought her. We bathed her in the bathroom sink while someone made a quick trip to the store for liquid Benedryl. We poked that down her throat, then I wrapped her in a towel and stretched out on the couch, the pup on my chest, and watched the swelling go down as she slept. We stayed there all night. Bonding.
So there I was, the woman who would love no more dogs, a deaf puppy on one shoulder, a min-pin who would for the next fifteen years seldom leave her side on the other.
It’s a sickness, I tell you. And I truly think there should be a study by someone about whatever pheromones puppies emit that turn a perfectly sane and strong-willed woman into a spineless pile of goo willing to give up sleep and money and the remnants of that sanity to keep them.
I’d fund that study.