The Boys

People who have known me over the last fiew years, know that my bulldog Diamond was my absolute treasure. She was born with a failed immune system and thus, was naked her entire life despite various treatments. But, she was the most devoted, loveable, willing to please and protective creature that has ever entered into my life. Her sky blue eyes could soften the hardest of hearts.

Six months ago, Diamond gave me a litter of puppies. I shouldn't have let her and Brutus embark on their affair. I shouldn't have let her have the puppies but for every failed attempt she made, she grieved and carried around her toys and forced some poor unsuspecting cat to be her puppy until the grief subsided. So, I let her and Brutus once again have their fun and she remarkably got pregnant. To my great despair, I lost Diamond the day after she gave me five little puppies. The loss was bittersweet in that she left them behind for me to treasure. There are blogs about our days and nights with bottle feedings, stinky boxes, stinky house, training to eat food and so on. Three babies made it - I lost two. They are now resting with their mother who I know adores having them at her side. Losing them felt like complete failure to me as Diamond left them for me. They were her gift to me so that I could let her go after many years of suffering.

One of the pups is living with a dear friend - two have stayed with me. They are Joe and Spin. I've written about them before. Joe and Spin inherited her suppressed immunities but not to the level she did. They have their Dad's fortitude and strength and his stubborness. Where Diamond sought only to serve and please, Brutus seeks to do...well...really whatever Brutus wants. The boys are a perfect combination of the two. Spin, however, is more Diamond than Joe. He lives to please and is happy to just be anywhere we are.

This morning, their true differences showed.

As a part of the treatment for their ailment, they get biweekly dippings. I began by carrying them to the car and carrying them into the vet clinic. When they reached 45 pounds, this had to stop. They don't realize that at 45 I can't carry them and that I can no longer hold them like a baby in my arms. They simply want life to be as it always has been.

We began leash training. At first, they did not like the collar but Spin quickly realized that the collar meant a leash which mean a lot of attention and telling how great he was while he walked along. Since his third day in training, Spin has taken to walking exactly where I would place him were he on a leash. If there is a leash around, he will carry it with him assuming it is supposed to somehow be attached. Yes - Spin is missing any sense of intelligence but it's replaced with love and affection.

Joe on the other hand identifies collar and leash with submission. He's like his father, submission is a bad word and Joe has his own set of rules to write. I try to make a game of it but he's still not in. So, now it takes food and coaxing and a bit of dragging - after two months of practice. Spin on the other hand is usually there trying to get Joe's collar and leash and show him how fun it is and show me how I don't need to waste my time on Joe.

So, this morning it was time to load them into the car and take them to the vet. Joe immediately crawled not only under the house, but deeper into a hole that he must have been preparing for just such occasion. He knew instinctively that today was dip day. If Spin knew, he really didn't care. This morning, he won. I have to go to work and I don't like spiders. So, crawling under the house isn't part of my gameplan. Boy, will he be upset Monday morning when I invite him in for breakfast and then collar and leash him. I will load his big behind into the car and he WILL get his dipping. Next time I will have to come up with a new plan.

Spin on the other hand gladly took that leash and collar and gladly got into the car. He now insists on riding shotgun in the front seat and looks about joyfully as we ride along. He's such a clown! We pulled up to the vet clinic and I could see his expression. "I remember this place" He hesitate and shook a bit before getting out of the car but then bounced along beside me and announced his entry with his usual "SPIN IS IN THE HOUSE!" squeel when we walked through the door. He sat when I told him to sit and he whined when he heard a cat crying in the back. Spin LOVES everything and cats crying made him cry.

Finally, the vet came out to get him. BOY WAS SPIN GLAD TO SEE HIM. We both laughed. He told Spin "at this point, you are supposed to HATE me!" Spin didn't listen until....they headed to the back. The guy slipped out of his collar and ran back to me - finally realizing that he wasn't there to visit, he was there to get dipped! Guilt rules this morning.

They tell me that when they dip Spin, they barter for who gets the duty. He's so happy for any attention and he's so willing to do what they ask. Joe on the other hand turns to jello and it's hard to manipulate 50 pounds of jello. I think this morning they were relieved to just see Spin and they sort of frowned when I told them Joe would be in Monday morning.

This afternoon I will go get my beloved chip off the old Diamond and I can not wait. We will ride back home, him sitting in the front seat next to me and we will talk about his treats he gets at the house. He won't care, he's happy to just be Spin! He'll get to come in for a can of food and some aspirin as the dip will make him feel not so well but he won't care.

If Diamond had to go, she could not have given me any greater gifts than Spin and Joe. They don't fill the void, but they are making new places in my heart. I secretly remember Diamond's own stubbornness and insistance for some things her way and know that Joe is carrying that to greater extremes. But I joyfully remember her love when Spin is so silly and adorable! Actually, I joyfully remember everything about Diamond when I see these boys. I think Brutus does too. He now tries to block me everytime I load them into the car and he grieves while they are gone. For all his fussing and growling at them when they get in his way, he loves them just like we do.

Diamond has been gone six months. Time flies they say. That also means the boys have been here six months and what better way to spend that time.


"JEANNELLE" said...

What a dedicated dog owner you are!! I'm sorry you lost your friend, Diamond, but it sounds like she left you with a miracle, her offspring.

You are gifted at telling your life experiences!

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Loved your puppy story! You're a dedicated 'mommy' to your dogs; hats off to you. It's all I can do these days to handle at 15 pound cat; I've had a 48 pound dog in the past, but couldn't do it any more. If I ever get another dog, it will have to be a teeny one!

I look forward to more Spin and Joe stories.