This week I went over to the Vero Dog Park to meet an energetic, friendly little lady pooch, Rosie Klein. Didja ever hear about that cartoon movie, “Lady and the Tramp”? Well, Rosie sorta reminds me of the Tramp, ’cept, of course, she’s a lady. But she rocks that same hairdo and has the same really cool bounce to her step. I’m pretty sure she’s got some Schnauzer in her. Curly eyebrows, long hair on her head, little beard.
Me and my assistant got there early, and were hanging out on a bench under some trees on the Little Dog Side, watching a bunch of poocheroos tearin’ around, havin’ a blast. We spotted Rosie and her Mom comin’ in the gate. Rosie zipped off to greet her pals.
When she finished makin’ the rounds, she ran up, a little out of breath, for the Wag-and-Sniff. “Mr. Bonzo! I knew that was you cuz of your notebook. This is my Mom, Nancy.” She popped onto the bench and gave my Assistant some slurps. “I love your column. You’re even cuter in the fur than your picture! Really!”
“Well, thank you, Miss Rosie,” I said, sorta flustered. “I know you have a good rescue story.”
“Yes. I was a new mother when my family brought me and my puppies to the Humane Society. We’d been living in a garage. The nice Humane Society people got us all spiffed up. I was a terrible mess. We all had lotsa fleas, I had hardly any hair left. I hadda go on Meds.”
“Wow, Soggy Dog Biscuits,” I sympathized.
“It sure was. Well, my future Mom had never had a dog! Can you buhLEAVE it? And she always wanted one. So her friend Sue said, ‘Let’s go to the Humane Society, just to look around.’ So they did. I was still there. It was right before Christmas. By then, I was all by myself, in a little cage. I was Sad and Confused. All the other dogs were yapping like mad so humans’d come over and see ’em. But I was real quiet.
“Mom felt sorry for me, specially when she heard about my puppies and the garage. So she told Dad (he’s Don) about me and they came back the next day to meet me. Soon as I was brought in, I jumped right into their laps. You know how us dogs just sometimes know stuff, right?”
“Totally!” I said.
“Well, I knew they were my Forever Humans. I’m almost 9 now. Cuz I was so quiet at first, Mom thought I’d be a quiet, calm pooch. Well, turns out I’m The Opposite. I love running and playing and chasing stuff.
“When I realized I didn’t hafta live in a garage anymore, and discovered the World, and trees and grass and squirrels, it was So Exciting! Still is! One time, before I Learned Better, I was running so fast chasing a squirrel I ran smack into the back of a car and bounced off. Scared the kibbles outta me. Thank Lassie I didn’t get totally squashed. Me and Mom snuggled all night.
“Even now, Mom and Dad have to keep patching our screen porch cuz I’m always trying to get at the squirrels. And one time, when Mom was leash-walking me, I took off after a squirrel so fast I pulled her right over! I think I might be a Squirrel-a-holic.”
A little dog ran over, and off they both went, did a coupla laps, then Rosie skidded back up to the bench.
“’Scuse me” she said, a little out of breath. “I haven’t seen Sadie in weeks. Where was I? Oh, yes. A couple years after I was rescued, Dad brought home a surprise: a stray white cat. His name’s Rodger-With-a-D. At first I’m like – whaaat? But it turned out OK. He popped me on the head. I growled. Then we both figured, hey, this could be fun. And we’ve been besties ever since. Rodger-With-a-D likes to chew on my floppy ears. And when it’s stormy and I get scared and hafta wear my Thunder Shirt, he stays right by me and helps me be calm.
“Mom and Dad call me an Escape Artist. I’d sneak out and take off running. I’m VERY speedy. The neighbors like me, and they’d form Search Parties. Once our neighbor, Clay, saw me zooming past. He offered me some cheese so I’d stay til Mom and Dad came to get me. I sure do love cheese. I know I shouldn’t run away, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. I think it’s ’cuz of all that time I was locked in the garage. I just hafta feel FREE. But I’m trying to cut back.”
“That’s probly a Good Idea for several reasons,” I observed.
“My pal across the street, Ruby, she’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback. We take walks together, in step. Mom says we look cute cuz Ruby’s so big and I’m so not big. I’m strong, though. When Mom’s friend was in a wheelchair, I could pull her along on walks.
Then it was time to go. Heading home, I was thinking about little Rosie, flying through her neighborhood, feeling Wild and Free. All us dogs love that feeling, right? We are, after all, descended from wolves.
Till next time,