… on considerin’ and weighin’ and ponderin’ and thinkin’


Soul dogs.

Or maybe, ‘heart dogs’.

No one ever calls them ‘brain dogs’ or ‘spinal chord dogs’, though both of these pieces of anatomy complete the triumvirate of the body’s Very Important Organs (V.I.O.) list.  

Actually, I’m rather fond of my plica semilunaris. You know, that third eyelid we all have? It … well, they … are pretty important to me, linking me to my fore-lizards. I may refer to my next soul-heart dog as my plica-dog. Except I think there are a number of plicas in the human body, so maybe I should be specific.


Almost two years ago, I lost a heart dog.

His name was ‘T’.

I wrote about him, my crazy and dangerous Little Man, and how Marshal joined Fred and Blaze and our old man Monty. Four was more than enough.

Years before, we’d had four dogs.  We liked having three better.

Kids were small and their schedules were demanding.

Three dogs made it easier to create magical moments that involved getting away.

Four landed us in a house in Maine (all the easier to take a vacation with four dogs, my dear).

But when Monty died this past winter, a good friend asked me if I was going to get another dog, and I said ‘no’. Three was more than enough. German Shepherds are working dogs, and require time and constant boundary definition (as in, “No, you can’t eat the guests. Go lie down and here’s a cow to gnaw on.”)



But still. Three was enough.

But the question sort of threw me too.

I never got another dog after T.

The Nearly Perfect Husband did.

Truth be told, if John had been neutral on Marshal Dillon Dingle, we probably wouldn’t have kept him. I mean, sure, there were strange and bizarre signs in the two days we had him, and I have never regretted keeping him (*checks nose for sudden growth as she remembers the fact that the damned dog can’t walk by any – ANY – small statue of a dog without nearly turning himself inside out with terror-ignited ferocious barking… all because he was rolled by a Puggle puppy in the vets office at his 16 week check up).

But Marshal walked into our lives and John fell in love.

He hadn’t had his own dog for many, many years. Really since our early twenties, when his boyhood dog, a perfect (and I’m not romanticizing here, I knew her, she was perfect) German ShepHerd, Misty, died.

And then in came Marshal, and his loud-yawning, carry-me-everywhere swagger… I think John carried his new puppy everywhere and anywhere until the dog weighed 60 pounds.


I’ve been totally happy with Blaze (Gabe got Blaze for his 13th birthday), Fred (Grampa’s dog (though Sam claims half ownership)), and Marshal Dillon Dingle. I figured I’d had one heart dog. Someday, I’d have another.

No hurry.

No worries.

And then I took some pictures for a friend a little over a week ago, and a tri-pawed puppy I’ve known about since he was born showed himself to me for the first time and my heart skipped a beat.

Okay, maybe it didn’t really. But I felt that click. That, ‘this could be a special dog’ click.

But a click is not enough.

I am lucky though. My dogs’ breeder is a good friend. One who trusts me. When I asked to take Valor (who I’ve been calling ‘Hoppy’, and my friend – who named him and loves the name – is threatening that she will nix me from the potential ‘Valor owner pool’ if I keep it up). Anyway, when I asked to take Valor, she gave me a laundry list of requirements, all of which I agreed to, and then she said ‘yes’.

Everyone loves a good love story.

Everyone wants the romance of soul mates meeting and being together forever – whether two people, or a person and a dang dog.

But I have to take my time. 

So I took him to Maine. Just him and me, for a few days.

And, look, The Nearly Perfect Husband is totally supportive!

Okay, he is supportive in the first grey bubble (I am blue).

In the second, he is making fun of me because we have been scouring the house for the bedroom remote control for days and he just found it shut in between a window and  its screen.



We blame Fred for everything.

So, Lord Valor Vom Hoppy (my friend totally won’t notice that I stuck ‘Hoppy’ in there instead of her kennel name… right? (just act casual))… he might be a great dog for me. Or maybe he will be a great dog for someone else.

He has a waiting list (not kidding).

And he may only have 75% leg volume, but he is 100% German ShepHerd.

It is guaranteed he and I will battle wills (today the battle was him acting like a cat for about two minutes –  looking everywhere but at me when I said ‘come’, and then chasing me at warp-hopping speed when I ignored him. It was like a German ShepHerd game of hide-and-go-seek… if he wasn’t looking at me, I clearly could not see him).

And, over the next two days, he will not be perfect.

But he just might be perfect for me.

That’s really the romance of the soul mate thing anyway, right?

Oh sure, you can predict he will stay, and you have a 50% chance of being right (and if our roles were reversed, I’d be rooting for you and the dog too).


But I have a family.

People. Other dogs. And even with Mac and 1/2 Kid Jack in their own apartment, and Sam at school, our house is still a crazy-making house with three dogs, an Old Yankee Man who is loud and potentially scary with a rather clangy and unwieldy walker (why slide the thing? Better to bang it loudly on and into walls as you move throughout the house). A planned move to Maine in a few years with two octogenarians is in the mix.  One of my dogs is a lunatic (lovable though he is). Another could inflict certain death through starvation caused by theft of food (Fred’s pretty lightening quick). One dog is royalty, which brings with it a lot of pomp and circumstance (such things take time and pageantry).

It would be unfair not to consider all of these things as I consider and weigh and ponder and think about adding this 3/4 dog to our lives. These things need to be noodled over for us and for him.

And I will totally do that. Noodle, I mean.

But right now I’m just going to enjoy the fact that a little tri-pawed dog is sound asleep under my desk, with his good front leg on my foot.

This same dog greeted me this morning with a wiggly body and sloppy kisses, as if I was his sun and moon and stars.

And I haven’t had a dog do that in, oh, a little more than two years.


Thanks for readin’.

Puppies get up early. Sunrise pics with 3/4 puppy:

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