Friday, August 1, 2008

and now...the rest of the story

So, where was I? Oh, right...Puppies!
Having already decided we wanted a boy dog, we agonized over whether we should choose Jughead or Archie from among the six puppies (Reggie was already spoken for). We ultimately chose Archie after watching Jughead devour about a pound of ripe cherries off the ground around the tree in the yard, then with a distended belly, waddle off to beg treats from the owner's three daughters.

The warning sirens went off in our heads, imagining a future Jughead waddling around the neighborhood knocking over trash cans and grazing wantonly on garbage.
Archie seemed more interested in us (and by "us" I mean he really took a shine to Dave, and vice versa) rather than the cherries.

This was all fine by me. Archie was the pick of the litter from what I could see, anyway. Sweet disposition, nice proportions and a bit larger than all the others.

I think I mentioned in the previous chapter that after we chose Archie, the unthinkable happened: Dave turned to me and said: "Maybe we should get two."

When I stopped feeling faint, and picked up my jaw from the ground where it had fallen, I demanded to know just who the hell he was, and what did he do with my husband?

As it turned out, Dave's idea didn't come completely out of thin air. Our friend Howard had been telling us about someone he knew who had gotten two lab puppies (sisters), and as he told it, it sounded like a great idea. They kept each other company and each had a built-in playmate. I had actually met these dogs, and I must admit, they seemed like very sweet and gentle labs. (I realized much later that she had gone through hell for a couple of years with her two sibling labs before they calmed down into the dogs I had met.)
So it sure seemed like a good plan to me, unrepentant (and totally naive) dog lover that I am. To tell you the truth, I'd probably have three or four dogs if we could afford it, so I looked Dave (the CFO here at Camp Cactus) in the eye and said, "How about a boy and a girl?" He thought that was a good idea, and we asked the owner's daughters who Archie got along with the best...(It was Betty, of course) and that's who we chose.

The funny thing is, a friend who raised and trained champion Border Collies had offered us a puppy from a recent litter. We had gone out to Central Oregon to help him out after he'd had an accident, and one of his dogs had just had puppies. After hanging out with him and his pups for a few days, it became clear to both of us that it probably wouldn't be a very good idea for us to have a dog that was so much smarter than we are. Border Collies are unbelievable animals. They're so incredibly smart and focused that just sitting in the same room with them gave me a headache from the laser stares they fixed me with when I wasn't even paying attention to them. I could envision taking home a puppy from that litter and being completely hypnotized into doing whatever that dog wanted within days.

So we declined the offer and stuck with our decision to adopt Archie and Betty. The day we brought them home they took a nap in the grass with Dave, and we knew they were definitely the pups for us.

And their names? Archie became Cooper (for Cooper Black, a very old type font I've always loved) and Betty became Abbie (because nobody but me seemed to think that Helvetica was an appropriate name for a dog). To be continued...

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