Thursday, September 28, 2006

Introducing Gia, part 1

So my step-father has a weekly column in one of the local newspapers, and I have some news I want to share with y'all (a fun, big New Thing), but first I wanted to post Joe's column from today (or, a portion of it, at least) because it sets up the news I'm going to share pretty nicely. (I'll post part 2, with photos, later) (probably tomorrow, seeing as I have a bunch of errands to run and I'm going to the Scissor Sisters show in SEVEN HOURS!)

A new dog for an old softie

When we lost Coco — our strong-willed, long-haired, free spirit of a German dachshund — almost three years ago, I didn't remove her bed from my outbuilding office. She kept vigil there every day for 15 years, protecting me from such hostile invaders as meter readers and gardeners and occasional neighbors.

I have always been uncomfortable with folks who keep artifacts of the departed in close and constant proximity, and I can neither explain nor justify doing it after Coco died. But I did, and there that bed still is — a black box lined with faux fur and a tiny green blanket. Maybe I kept it there in the subconscious hope that Coco might be induced to reappear in some form or other or the bed might be used again by a Coco successor — a possibility that was delayed by divided opinion in the household and the new freedom to travel without having to find a dog sitter. (I wasn't allowed to put Coco in a kennel because the other members of my family insisted it would traumatize her.)

I was outside the loop when Coco joined our family. I wanted a dog that could hold his own with the mostly massive neighborhood dogs, but my stepson, Erik, wanted a dachshund, and that's what his mother bought for him — a toy dachshund, yet — when I was out of town. And so I had to make peace with this elongated pygmy who ignored every effort at discipline and quickly took over the household — including me.

But this time I'm not only in the loop, but leading the charge — and Erik has thrown in with me. I've carried in my head for 100 years or so the image of the two dogs with whom I grew up, both wire-haired terriers. So that's the general area in which we've been dog shopping in the past two weeks. We get our leads from studying rescue stations we find on the Internet, where we can look at pictures and descriptions of dozens of homeless dogs seeking a square meal, a warm bed and humans to love and be loved by.

This is both a joyous and painful project. Painful because we would like to rescue all the dogs we've seen and can't. But joyous when we feel the chemistry of an instant love affair. And so we look for that to happen among the breed of dogs — mostly terriers — that we feel would fit our family.

Last week, we think we found one. Her name is Gia, and she is a Schnauzer mix (which is hyperbole for mutt) and we are told she is a year-and-a-half old, housebroken, easy going and well-behaved. Her eloquent eyes spoke to us, and we will spend some time with her this weekend to get better acquainted. By next week, maybe Coco's bed will have a new occupant, and I will have a new protector. I'm not at all sure Coco would be pleased. She didn't suffer competition gladly.

We considered cloning Coco and decided against it. A new dachshund could only suffer unfairly by comparison with the old one. So we sought a clear departure in breed if not so much in size. The fact that Gia — like Coco — is also of German descent is pure accident. It's the chemistry that counts.


joe chandler said...


Anonymous said...

wait, I forget...are you going to the Scissor Sisters tonight?

Erik said...

Joe Chandler: third.

Erik said...

Anonymous: Oh. My. God.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to Coco! I loved Coco. I still have a picture of me holding her. But hooray for Gia!


Erik said...

Lanie, you have to meet Gia soon! (And it makes me happy that you still have that picture of you and Coco, I know exactly what picture you're talking about.)