Sunday, September 30, 2007
Missing the Terrier
I'm not sleeping so good.
I know, the grammar stinks, but, so are my sleeping patterns.
I'm used to a 10lb body of white fur curled around my feet or stretched out along my legs or in my face, telling me she has to go out at 3A.
I lie in my bed, and can't quite fall into that deep sleep, because something is missing... the same way I didn't fall completely asleep until I heard the gate squeak.
When I was home in New Orleans, my mother came and picked the terrier up and took her back to her home. It was for the best, I told myself. I work freelance, and sometimes I'm here, and sometimes, I'm gone for 12 hours at a time.
The terrier would grieve when I left. She had no concept of time, and she would sit by the door even when I was in Utah, and we were at the Neebes' home, and wait.
I've been her 'pack' since she was a puppy and I rescued her from the pound in the Land of Utes... when I'd sworn I'd not have a dog again.
When we first moved to the Land of Utes, we had a dog... a funny mixed breed dog that was our delight. He, too, was a rescued dog, and fit right in with our odd group. He was protective, quiet, slept on his back, and loved us as a dog loves... completely. He moved when we did, adjusting to the new neighborhoods, always a runner, making himself known to the new houses and neighbors, who would know him before they knew us.
When playing fetch with snowballs one day, his tooth caught in a child's glove, ripped skin, the mom called the animal control and he was taken away.
Now, this animal control officer wasn't quite..... hhmmm.... decent is a word I'll use.
He followed his own set of rules on a regular basis. There was no need to take my dog. None. He had his shots and could have been held by me for the week necessary. But, take him he did... I could do nothing about it.
I was told I could pick him up in eight days, and during that time, I left messages.... messages no one returned. My visits saw no one there. Six days later, someone answered the phone...
"Hi, this is Quin. How's my dog?"
"My dog... how is he?"
"You killed my dog, didn't you?"
"Do you want to talk to my boss? He's right here."
"Well, unless his name is Jesus Christ, and he can raise the fucking dead, he's no good to me, is he?"
Obviously, I wasn't too happy.
I spent the next two weeks in either the mayor or police chief's office or on the phone to them. We still remain on a first name basis. I couldn't sue, he wasn't a pure bred dog (unlike poor Blackie, may he rest in peace). The problem was, there was nothing in writing. No law on the books regarding this issue. He told me one list of days for hold, his immediate supervisor told me another amount of days that was shorter... in one meeting, it was an even shorter number of days.
"Yes, well, we checked, and it's a five day hold before we put them down." Hopeful smile.
"Next thing I know, you'll tell me the dog jumped up there and put the needle in himself."
By the time it was all over, and I had my slow, steady, calm way.... the man lost his job. I was one of many who had seen their dogs put down immorally, but, not illegally because there was no law broken. I just didn't shut up about it... ever.
Something I tend to do when I thin...know I'm right.
I pushed and pushed and now there is a new ordinance passed in our town, named after my dog. It sets dates and spells out what will happen if you don't come get your dog/cat. People have to sign and phone calls are made and everyone knows what will happen before the deed is done.
I feel good about that.
Flash forward a year.
The new animal control person is a friend of mine... she calls me.
"Don't you like Westies?"
"Yes, but, who can afford one?"
"I've got a six month old male here... with papers. You can have him... I put your name on him, and people want him, so, hurry up!"
TheInvestment and I drove over and there was the terrier. Dirty, ragged, long white coat, bright black eyes.
"Let's name him Baron von Wolfenstein", TheInvestment suggested, "or D".
I went with D.
Picking D up, I noticed D was missing the male parts a dog with a name like D needed.... no matter, she was named D and it stays with her even now.
She belonged to the former officer, and a year to the day he put my old dog down, I adopted his unwanted dog.
Now, I sit in my living room/bedroom/kitchen/dining room/foyer/hallway/guest room/sun room/den and I am alone for the first time in five years.
No little clicks of nails on the floor. No sometimes 'talking' a terrier will do. No terrier.
She's content, it seems. She talks quite a bit, which says she's unsteady as to where she is... she knows my mother, who is thrilled to have her, and feeds her and walks her and sleeps with her and calls me all the time to thank me for this wonderful gift. And she means it.
Yes, she'll settle in and be okay eventually.
I have to wonder, though, will I?
Posted by quin browne at 11:22 AM