My husband’s family has had dogs at various times in their lives. But, they were not like my family, where we always had to have at least one dog at any given moment in time or we were not complete.
My sister in law, sometime in her fifties, adopted her first dog. In truth, her college aged daughters did, and it, of course, became her main responsibility. As any parents of college age children well know, there seems to be a point when every undergraduate will decide they simply must get a puppy, or kitten. They plan on shared custody of this pet with their roommates. And then they move on, and ultimately one of the parents ends up keeping the dog. Apartments change and dogs are not allowed. Friendships evolve. It happened with me in college. And now, I get the calls and the constant barrage of photos of dogs and breeds that my daughters want to adopt, all the while knowing that I will be there to care for the dog should anything go wrong. Countless images of of Pomskis, Frenchies, and NewYorkies, … you get the picture. Teens love trends, and dog trends are no exception. If you don’t know what the three breeds mentioned above look like… Google them.
So, my sister in law found herself with a new puppy, Luna, the Labradoodle for the first time in her adult life. Four children, and somehow her first dog. My dog India and Luna have provided our families with years of entertainment, wrestling with and loving each other for hours on end. When we drive down their long driveway at the beach, my dog India literally lets out a scream of sheer anticipatory delight reserved only for that driveway, and for Luna.
Luna is adorable, and large, and messy. Actually, she is, at times, gross.
She, like India, makes it their mission in life to walk or roll in the smelliest dead muck they can find.
(India, guilty in crate, stinky and muck-covered)
In my home, this is bad enough. But in my sister in law’s homes, this borders on tragedy, because she has two of the most beautifully decorated homes you might ever see. Catalogs have done photo shoots in her home, so I can assure you that I am not exaggerating. Imagine lots of white furniture, white rugs, white walls….
Enter Luna and her muck. Mix in her recurrent urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal challenges, and… yeah, you are getting the picture. There were times that I wondered if Luna might become one of those outdoor dogs that live in a doghouse. A heated, well appointed doghouse, but a doghouse nonetheless. And then, Luna earned her keep. But first, some more background.
It’s worth mentioning that, in both of these beautiful homes, there is one recurrent problem. Critters seem to find their way indoors. Bats, snakes, mice, and other rodents. The bat guy, the squirrel guy, and the exterminator guy have each made several visits, working their magic while the family stood huddled in the yard screaming and comforting each other, waiting for the thumbs up to reenter the premises.
Recently, a flying squirrel made its way inside. It would emerge, hide, and then re-emerge, and Luna would go ballistic each time she saw it. So did my sister in law. This went on until the other night. The brazen squirrel decided to crawl along the edge of the couch, and join them while watching television. In the blink of an eye, Luna, the slowest moving creature I have ever encountered, simply slammed her paw upon the neck of the squirrel, and ended it! Before anyone could react or scream, her long latent instincts kicked in and she killed it.
I have new found respect for her. I may have to borrow her and her skills one day.
Luna will not be moving outside any time soon. She may be gross at times, but she is also amazing.
Moral of the story: Got critters… get a dog.