Hi, Pet Buddies! This week I got to meet two rescued dogs – Rio and Jesse – who are best buds and a pretty doggone good example of “opposites attracting.” They came over, on leashes, with their human mom, Cissy Sumner. Man, they had really good leash manners.
We’d already casually met on a neighborhood walk, so we just trotted out to the patio where it was shady and we could yap under the fan.
Rio – he’s a little Boston terrier mix – immediately started looking all around, at the garden, the bugs, lizards and leaves. Jesse is a border collie and – I could clearly tell – a Total Momma’s Boy. I mean TOTAL. He sat and stared up at his mom practically the whole time I was yapping with Rio. I didn’t even see him blink.
“So, Rio,” I said, “What’s your story?”
“Well,” he said over his shoulder, “I’m 4. And I got rescued with lots of other dogs from a lady who was so mean to us she got thrown in jail. I was a mess. We all were. But I had HOPE. My Forever Mom – she’s a dog trainer, isn’t that cool? Anyway, she came to look us all over and – our eyes met. Just like in the movies. And just like that I was saved.”
“That was a close call, Rio,” I said. “Hey, I heard you’re training for trials. Is that right?”
“Yuppers, Bonzo! Mom says I’m a nut. But I love to run and jump and stuff so I’m learning about Agility Trials. There’s a lot of running and jumping and I just love it, but Mom says I have to run and jump in special places and in order. Kind of a buzzkill, in my opinion. I’m getting the hang of it but sometimes I just sort of zoom off. I love to feel the wind in my ears. I want to make her happy and I know she won’t make me do it if I don’t like it. So we’re still working that out, you know?”
“I hear ya,” I said.
“I have a fun life, for sure. I’m just a happy-go-lucky kind of pooch. Sometimes I’m so happy I just jump straight up in the air. I have lots of toys to play with, and a great Mom and big brother, Jesse – he’s the Best! And I get to eat healthy stuff like cherries and tomatoes and nectarines. But not bananas. No way. And plain old regular Kibbles too, of course.”
Rio turned back around to watch the butterflies in the bushes, and I said, “Um, Jesse, you sure like your Mom, doncha?”
“You better believe it, Bonzo. She rescued me from a shelter in Orlando. I had several foster homes before she found me. That was totally luck! Now it’s all about Mom. All the time. I’m her devoted companion. Hey, I’m gonna be 10 on Halloween. Isn’t that cool?”
“Way cool,” I said. “Are you going to wear a costume on your birthday?”
“You’re kidding, right?” he said, giving me a Look.
“Oh, absolutely,” I said quickly. “So, do you do Trials, like Rio?”
“Well, heck, Bonzo, I was competing before that little Woof was even born. I had a pretty good agility career for a while, competed a lot at Mikamar Dog Training center up in Palm Bay. I was good, too. DISciplined!” (He glanced over at Rio.) “But I’m retired now. Just takin’ it easy. Hanging with my Mom. Watching my goofy little bro racing around like a ninny.”
“Did you know we both help Mom with her work?” he asked.
“Really? How do you do that?”
“Well, when mom has a new student, she brings me in and I just hang out quietly, not too close, so the new pupster can get used to another dog around while he’s having his lessons.”
“Cool,” I said.
“I move a little closer, slowly. Then, after a while, Mom brings Rio in and he goes right up to the pupster and is all close and friendly. So the student learns how to behave, pay attention to lessons with all kinds of other dogs around. And Mom taught us to have the best manners on the Planet, too.“
“It must feel good, having a career like that,” I said.
“It does. Sort of like you. Being a journalist and all. Having a PURPOSE. That’s what its all about,” Jesse said, looking very sincere. “Mom calls us her one-two punch.”
“Do you have snacks? Where do you sleep?” I wondered.
“I prefer Mozzarella sticks. Not fruit, thank-you-very-much! And sleeping – well, Rio sleeps on the bed. Me, I jump up there to start but then I toss and turn a lot so I usually end up on the floor – which is fine with me. Lots of room. Oh, plus, to protect us, just in case, we have chips in our ears, right between our shoulder blades. It didn’t hurt at all. I thought it would, but it didn’t.”
When it was time for them to go, they politely thanked me for the interview and trotted off with their Mom.
I was thinking I’d like to broaden my horizons and try a banana.