Thursday, November 11, 2010

Posted by Laurel Garver on Thursday, November 11, 2010 16 comments
Ten years ago today, my hubby and I brought home our first pet, a handsome gold and white Husky/Australian shepherd mix I'd found through the local SPCA's website. When we first met "Lucky" and learned his history--that this was his second time being sent to a shelter--I knew he was going to be a challenge. He wouldn't make eye contact. He shied away from my husband. His chart said he ate phonebooks. Something about his shiftiness suggested trust issues and possibly abuse.

So beautiful, so traumatized, so un-lucky.

We renamed him Nicky, short for Dominic, "of the Lord." We stocked up on rawhide, bought a few baby gates to contain him and hoped for the best.

The first time I returned after leaving him a few hours, he pointed his snout to the sky and sang like a wolf. It was kind of beautiful.

He's not a quiet dog. We suspect his prior owners beat him for being so talkative. He has a stunning range of vocalizations for communicating all kinds of things, from "I'm thirsty" to "I'm scared of thunder." Once we really saw that spark of intelligence--especially in his expressive amber brown eyes--we realized he could comprehend many words too: walk, treat, bath, back yard, excuse me.

Nicky never ate a phonebook. He loved his rawhide for a few months, then lost interest in chewing things (outgrew the puppy phase, perhaps). He still can't comprehend "fetching" at all. He pulls like a sled dog when you walk him. He "herds" you toward the door when it's time for a walk. But he also comes running to comfort me whenever I cry, and nothing else makes me feel so welcomed home as his wolfish song of joy.

Happy adoption anniversary, Nicky.

Tell me about your favorite pet. Do you tend to include animals in your fiction? Why or why not?
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16 comments:

  1. There is nothing as comforting as an animal's adoration. We just bought a labradoodle last summer. My husband hated dogs and made us all wait until our youngest was six. Now, he adores the dog and we love to make fun of him. :-)

    I'd love your opinion on my post today if you have a chance to stop by. :-)

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  2. We've always been a family with dogs. Two or three at a time. All of them have been my favorite, although one or two tried my patience.

    I try to use animals/pets in my writing but somehow they all manage to get cut out. I don't know why.

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  3. Our old Golden Retriever had a wide vocabulary range too, everything from "Daddy's home!" to "Cheerio, get out of the kitchen." He was so smart, but incredibly stubborn.

    Animals have made appearances in almost all my writing, but not until this current WIP has one taken a more prominent role.

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  4. Wow. That's beautiful. Happy Anniversary, Nicky!

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  5. I'm a cat person. The only dog I fell in love with was mini Cocapooh named Dixie. She was my great-grandmothers dog, and we inherited the fat grey thing when she died. An extremely quiet, well mannered dog. Except when it came to food. If you left it unattended, she would gulp it down.

    I forget to write pets in my novels. Usually I have add them during editing. Maybe if I was a dog owner, I'd remember.
    ........dhole

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  6. I'm absolutely a dog person. I always rescue mine and they are treated like family. On my blog, I do a little series called "Conversations with the Puppies" where I post what I think my little ones might be saying to me. They light up my life every single day.

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  7. Beautiful post for a beautiful dog.

    Like Lovey said, they light up my life every single day too.

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  8. Shannon: I also had to convince my cat-person hubby to let me get a dog. In no time he was cuddling up in the dog bed with Nicky. LOL.

    Anne: We usually had two dogs when I was growing up--an inside dog and an outside dog. I find pets frequently appear in books for the under 18s, but rarely in adult books. Not sure why.

    Summer: I bet Cheerio was smart enough to fetch too! Nicky looks at us like we're insane when we've tried to throw sticks or balls. His main smarts is communication. He has a sixth sense of when I'm even thinking about taking him for a walk.

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  9. Tina: He's still this pretty, though his muzzle is nearly all white and he's getting cataracts. Poor old guy. My daughter sometimes calls him "grandpa."

    Donna: I love my kitty too. I'm more of a general "animal person" than strictly loyal to dogs. I like reptiles and rodents as well (I'm only iffy about insects). :-) Indeed dogs have NO impulse control when it comes to food.

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  10. Lovy: Dogs are people too! :-) I'm glad to hear you're also a shelter pet advocate. I have a pretty awesome cat as well, but he doesn't get me like Nicky does. :-)

    Wendy: Love with less complications--gotta love that about our furry friends. And they're great listeners, too.

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  11. Aw, this post brought tears to my eyes! I am looking around the room at my doggy, Carson, and feeling so much love. I never had a dog growing up, so Carson is my "first born." She deserves a post all her own... and you've inspired me to write it! Your Nicky is beautiful. Whoever said dogs are "Man's Best Friend" got it wrong... dogs can be a woman's best friend, too! ;)

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  12. I love your dog, he is SO CUTE! My friend is a vet and when I tell her that I want a husky, she jokingly forbids me to get one because they bark A LOT. Maybe that's why your boy is so talkative, just part of the husky breed :-)

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  13. When we first brought home our Golden Retriever, Piper, I didn't think we'd be able to keep her. She was a stray, about two years old, and she communicated by putting her teeth on everything, especially the kids. But we toughed it out and now I can't imagine life without her. I took her to obedience classes and the instructor recommended using a Haltie to walk her. It makes her much more manageable on a walk.

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  14. Amber: Can't wait to see your post on Carson! I'd promised myself this month I'd do more journal-type posts and mine my memories a bit.

    Melissa: Huskies are vocal--prone to howling-- and they aren't much for tricks, especially fetching. They require a fair amount of grooming, too. Nicky sheds like mad in the spring. I could build a few extra dogs out of all the hair I brush off him. He is a sweetie, though. He has a lot of the Aussie Shepherd brains and playfulness (and cute fold-over ears).

    Susan: my neighbors have a Golden and WOW are they high-energy as puppies! Glad you stuck with Piper and that she mellowed. I'd done obedience training with a roommate's dog years before Nicky, so knowing all those techniques really helped, especially with his tendency to drag us on walks.

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  15. I love your adoption story. Thank you for opening your hearts to an abused animal. I love it that he comforts you when you're sad. My Matilds (cat) loves music and books. She sits by me on the piano bench, or with one of my students. She crawls on our laps when we're reading. She has the potential to be a good mouser.

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  16. Happy anniversary, Nicky!

    I love animals and have two cats, but I haven't incorporated pets into my writing.

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