The Worst Dog I Have Ever Loved
“That’s the one!” I squealed when my husband and I saw his picture on a dog rescue website. An eight-week-old German Shepherd pup by the name of Maxwell reaches out through cyber space and tugs on my heart. Within days, we are driving two hours one way to retrieve our baby boy.
When our old boy, Benny, a Golden Retriever/Border Collie, passed away at fourteen from bone cancer, we waited six months to find our Golden Retriever/Shepherd, Brindey, a companion. As a shy, nervous dog, Brindey did not do well alone. We let her grieve Benny, who raised her until she was five, and then we knew when the time was right. I told my husband, “Honey, I have always wanted a German Shepherd, they are such regal, loyal and intelligent dogs.” So, the search began.
When Maxwell was put into my arms, I was already in love. Glenn and I agreed he was not a Maxwell, but a Bobby McGee, shortened to Bobby. I cuddled and kissed that little guy all the way home. Even Brindey seemed to enjoy trying to teach her new charge how to be a good boy, or so we all expected.
As a retiree, I was happy to stay in the home for Bobby’s first months and keep him on a schedule. Quickly, I learned that he hated it when I left his sight. I couldn’t leave the room without his high-pitched wails calling me back. I’d be on the phone with my mother and she would exclaim, “My goodness, Bobby sounds like he’s being tortured.” I waited until he was asleep among his blankets and toys that padded his kennel before I tiptoed out of the bedroom to get my breakfast. But he always knew when his mommy was not near. Soon, I was reading and writing next to Bobby’s kennel at nap time for fear the neighbors would report me for abuse. Glenn took over kinder care when he came home from work. I didn’t even have time to get out of my pajamas or brush my teeth by the end of the day.
As the months ticked by, Bobby’s markings were clearly Shepherd, but his little head wasn’t growing. On our nightly walks, Bobby looked like he was shrunk in a mad experiment gone wrong trotting next to Brindey’s normal, big dog size. By six months old, Bobby’s legs had lengthened some, but his body and head were the size of a tall Chihuahua. I ran to the computer and looked up German Shepherd/Chihuahua mixes. There he was- our Bobby was the spitting image of several versions of this ludicrous mix. I know you are wondering right now how that could logistically occur. Trust me. Look it up.
It all makes sense: the incessant high-pitched barking; the snarling and snapping when we wake Bobby up to go potty outside; the surly smile he gives us when we call him to come as if to say, “Yeah, right. I’ll come when I’m ready to come;” Bobby’s lustful appetite for eating Brindey’s poop has surpassed all vet recommended treatments; his love for eating all types of flowers and plants, and anything plastic, has our yard outfitted with chicken wire barriers on anything that grows; and, Bobby’s indefatigable energy necessitates that he be leased in the house for fear of knocking over the cat, small children and anything not nailed down. Oh, and that little tramp has cost me $1,000 dollars in chewed up remote car keys and a smart phone. (However, I’ll take the blame for leaving those items on the patio table unattended.) Lastly, my arms and legs continually sport several stages of healing bruises from Bobby’s quick leaps into my arms from a seated ground position. When thirty-five pounds hurtle toward you at the speed of light, there’s bound to be lingering evidence.
And then there’s the other Bobby, now a year and a half. Our play time outside is something in which I look forward to every day. With me on one end of his plastic tire and he on the other, we snarl and growl nose to nose until I am on the ground belly laughing, soon to be covered in wet kisses. When I read outside, I often get a slobbery toy placed ever so gently on my foot to kick off our favorite game, fetch. When Bobby becomes focused on his wood sticks, and forgets I am in the yard, I love listening to his coos of delight before her tears around the yard in figure eights with a log hanging from his mouth. The sheer look of bliss on his face is priceless. I don’t think I could live without his greetings when I walk into the house- with his little head raised to the ceiling, he chortles from the bottom of his belly. And I always respond, “I love you, too, Big Bob.”
“And feelin’ good was good enough for me… good enough for me and my Bobby McGee…”