Tale of Tails

One of the time-honored security question they use for website identity authentication is the name of your pet.   Which, for many years was Lola.  

I am reminded of it from time to time when I am doing internetty things on sites from long ago.  Not that she was my pet, no - I remember that, regardless.  But I think of her, and how, for many years, it was me and Lola against the world.  

Lola and Piper could not be more different.  I mean, both dogs, both female, both with a lot of terrier DNA - but there it ends.

Lola was a better animal out among people.  She didn't like strangers, but she'd warm up to people in the house after she had the chance to sniff them out.

Piper doesn't like strangers, at all.  If we entertain, and sometimes we do, we have to kennel her, or put her out back.  The latter isn't great because she wants inside to try and see what this stranger is doing in our house.  So, that's kind of off the table these days.  Thankfully, we're not really expected to throw lots of parties.

Lola was freaked out by kids - with one exception. In our obedience class, there was a family with a beautiful pure-bred Brittany named Peaches. An apt name for her, given her coloring and sweet disposition.  But the little boy in the family, who was maybe six, saw something in Lola that he liked, and he got down on the ground and hugged her.  After the first class, we were put into smaller groups, and alas, that was the last of Peaches and her boy, Sherman.  But I never forget how gentle and sincere that little freckled boy was.

But that's going WABACK.   

Lola had separation anxiety.  Scratch that.  Allison had separation anxiety.  As a result, Lola and I would go on errands where I could take her with me.  PetSmart, Pike Nursery.  Even if I didn't need anything, we'd go just to get her in the car with me and be doing something.  I was single then - my weekends were fairly empty.  Separation anxiety, indeed.

Because we had no back yard for Lola to run free, I got creative.  I found a sketchy, run down park about a mile from my apartment.  It had some benches, a little creek, and a fenced in, dilapidated tennis court.  I would close the chain link gate on the court and throw a ball for her to run off some energy. We would go play in the creek.  When I tell you the place is sketchy, well - there was an incident with me and my boyfriend (now husband) meeting a guy on crack who had been watching us sitting on a bench talking from his car the parking lot, and admitted to being aroused by it.  Yeah, that happened.  But that is an outlier - mostly it was me and Lola blowing off some steam.  By the time we had a backyard, she was older, and she enjoyed it - but she was in her golden years for most of it.

Piper loves her backyard. She likes to walk the perimeter, chase squirrels, look out through the peephole in the back (a missing board in the gate), roll in the grass, and sunbathe.  

Lola was, as my father once said, ball-nutty.  She loved a ball.  I would go on walks with her, and she would dig up a ball that she spidey-sensed in a pile of leaves.  She could find balls where there were none.  Once, she found a golf ball with some of the cover off it it - and she was bound and determined to destroy it.  Matt and I told her that if she got to the center of it, there would be a tiny baby dipped in barbecue sauce.  We were wrong.  It was string.

Piper doesn't care about balls.  She likes floppy toys she can thrash around like prey.  She likes things that squeak.  She likes hard nylon chewables.   She likes bones, but tries to bury them.  Inside and outside.  Once, she attempted to bury a whole bag of marshmallows.  Lola would have just eaten them on sight.

The thing is, they're both the best and most perfect dog ever.  For different reasons, and different seasons.  I read once, a woman being interviewed in the book Pack of Two, by Carolyn Knapp, and she had explained that she had four dogs, of the same breed, in a lifetime.  And that her first was like a partner or spouse, the second was like her kid, and the last two, which she had at the same time, were like grandkids.

I get that.  Lola was very much my apartment wife, back in the day.  Not in a kinky or conjugal sense, but in that we did everything together, and she was my rock.  Even after I got married, she remained my rock.  She died the year before Dad, and she prepared me for that.

Piper has a lot of joy and energy, and is childlike in so many ways.  She is a also a rock, but it's different.

All I know for sure is, it's good to have a dog.  Highly recommended.



Christopher said…
It never ceases to amaze me how individual dogs can be so different and yet each one is exactly right. We have three--something I feel guilty about sometimes, but we've been down to one at times and some, but not all, dogs are just happier with canine siblings. At least once a day I tell each of them they're the best dog and it's true.
And Lola was the best dog, and so was Peaches, and so is Piper.
Somewhere my wife has a t-shirt that says, "Life With Dogs: Priceless." You probably recognize that as a line from a credit card commercial from way back, but it still works.
Chuck said…
There are times I miss having a doggo, but having to take one up and down four stories several times a day to go potty honestly exceeds my devotion to the species. I'm happily a cat person until fate puts me back in a space with a yard, or even a large patio. I've always enjoyed Lola's and now Piper's adventures through you. Hugs.