Tuesday, March 09, 2010

One less...

November 3, 2001...it was an overcast Sunday, almost 2 months after the horrible events of 9/11, when we were still trying to come to grips with shattered pieces of our collective psyches...The Man and I set out for Columbia, South Carolina, to pick up the newest addition to our family.  He would be coming to us through the hands of the Central Carolina Poodle Rescue, and we were to meet him and pick him up at a member's home where he was being fostered.

They told us that he came from Knoxville, TN, where he was one of 3 poodles among about 45 other dogs who had been removed from the home of a "collector."  The collector in this case was a little old lady who kept taking strays in until neither she nor the animals could care for themselves.  Rescue was called in, and the poodles made their way to CCPR.

I saw him and his comrades on Pet Finder, which is the most dangerous website on the planet...it's so hard to even think about the sheer number of animals who need homes..and I'll just leave it at that.  After sending several pictures from the website to the Man and wearing down his resistance...which really wasn't that hard...we passed a home visit from some poodle rescuers in the area and were approved to adopt the little black one.

When we arrived at the foster mom's home, we were presented with a skinny blackish boy, who wasn't sure he wanted to have anything to do with us.  He sat in The Man's lap for awhile, quivering a little, until he got used to him, and then we saw his tail.  Most poodles have docked tails, and when left natural, they can be a variety of shapes and lengths.  He kept his curled up very high and tight, and at first glance, you really couldn't tell his tail wasn't docked.

After about an hour of hanging out, we bundled him up to take him home.  The foster mom was insistent that we put him in a crate in the back of the vehicle and carry him home that way.  That lasted until we got out of her sight.  I immediately pulled over and we "rescued" him again from the confines of the crate and let him sit in The Man's lap for the ride home.  (Yes, under normal circumstance, I have the poodles seatbelted in the back seat for safety, but seriously--could you have ridden the 4+ hours back to Georgia with a new dog in a crate in the back of the car?  Thought not.)

He sat in The Man's lap for the entire ride home, and we knew something was going to be different about him from the beginning.  We stopped at a Burger King and grabbed a burger and got him one as well...he refused to eat it, which just floored us, because we'd never met one yet that wouldn't try and kill you for a burger (talking to you ,Goldfish, talking to you...).

He was skinny--weighed about 7 pounds--and had breath that would knock you down at 20 paces.  We wanted to fatten him up a little bit before we got the teeth fixed, and it didn't take long.  All my poodles have been snackers, and I would just fill up the bowls and let them eat at will.  It's easy to do when you are home most of the day and can let them in and out on a regular basis.  It didn't take long for me to notice that the Fat Dog was becoming, well...fat.  He would sit down at one of the bowls and vacuum it up, then move to the next bowl and vacuum it up as well.   Pretty soon, his poodle suit was a tight fit.

Not knowing where your next meal is coming from probably does odd things to your psyche, and the Fat Dog was no exception.  He really wanted you to fill all 3 bowls with food before he would eat--sort of an insurance plan, I guess--even after he figured out that he didn't have to eat all 3 bowls.

I also remember asking his foster mom if he was an alpha poodle, because we already had an alpha at home (Sam, who went to the Rainbow Bridge in 2005), and the Goldfish.  She assured us that he would fit right in our pack and not have any issues submitting.  Ha.  Famous last words.

The Fat Dog came in and pretty much took over from the start, especially after he gained a few pounds and could start slinging his weight around.  He ruled with an iron paw, and we were all just cogs in his little machine.  He would sit up on his back legs and wave his paws in the air, looking cute and melt-your-heart, and then lunge at the Goldfish to keep him in line.  I'm guessing that the Goldfish won't miss him nearly as much as the rest of us.

He had the strangest fascination with the actor James Woods--whenever he appeared on the television, the Fat Dog would howl at the top of his lungs.  It was the weirdest thing ever...when the show "Shark" came on after "Lost," was the first time it happened.  It took us a little while to put it together that it was actually James Woods, and the weirdest thing was when his name flashed on the screen in the open credits for some movie, the Fat Dog howled again.  I always thought he understood way more English than we realized, and it wouldn't have surprised me a bit if he could read.

On Saturday morning, February 27, 2010, the Fat Dog went over the Rainbow Bridge, and a big piece of my heart went with him.  I hope it never rains there, because he really hated to go out in the rain, and I hope all the bowls are full all the time.


Erin said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. ((hug))

LinC said...

I'm so sorry to hear that the Fat Dog has gone to his rest. I know you will miss him.

Erik the Tall said...

I miss him so much everyday. He was a poodle made up of the spare parts of other poodles. Too long a body with too short legs he was Franken-Poodle. He was a wise judge of character, obsessive compulsive, and just plain mean at times. Who knows what demons occupied his mind, I guess a screwed up childhood effects lots of things. Unfortunately he forgot nothing and wouldn't change a behavior without a real good reason. We didn't manage Julius, Julius managed us. I'll never forget him.

J said...

I am fascinated with him being fascinated with James Woods.