Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How I Became A Dog Pusher

My spouse calls me a dog pusher because he says I'm always pushing dogs on people.  I think of it more as inter-species matchmaking, and it's true that I delight in it.  For example, I "pushed" Bisou's brother Theo onto my daughter and her partner, with terrific results.  I am presently "pushing" one of Wolfie's relatives onto dear friends, who would be perfect for the dog, and to whom the dog would, I feel sure, bring years of happiness.  How do I know this?  I've watched my friends around my own dogs and...I just have a feeling.

My most daring instance of dog pushing happened many years ago, when I air-mailed a dog to my newly-widowed mother.  My mother had never owned a dog, and she firmly believed that dogs, being basically "dirty," belonged outside the house.  The very thought of house training a puppy, and cleaning up the occasional mess, made her feel faint.

At that time, my husband and I had a young Lhasa Apso, named Alexandra, whom I had successfully steered through the chewing and house-breaking stages.  Then we got an Irish setter puppy, and Alexandra contracted a serious case of sibling rivalry.  If I so much looked at the new puppy, Alexandra would jump up onto my lap and bark at ear-splitting decibels to get the puppy to go away.

I read all the dog books I could get my hands on (there weren't many in the 1970s) and tried the stuff they recommended, but nothing worked.  Alexandra was losing weight;  the puppy was becoming withdrawn;  and we were going crazy with the tension and the barking.  What to do with this intransigent but charming, perfectly house-trained purebred dog?  Then it came to me that, on my mother's previous visit, I had come upon her petting Alexandra as they sat side by side on the sofa--the first time in my entire life that I had witnessed my mother touching a dog. 

I'm not sure that I would now have the nerve to do what I did then, which was to buy Alexandra an airline crate and a one-way ticket to Alabama, where my mother lived.  I sent my mother a telegram instructing her to be at the air cargo terminal at a certain date and time, but I gave no information as to what was coming to her.

Long story short:  my mother was utterly surprised and completely charmed by Alexandra.  She could not believe that a dog, a mere animal, could be so civilized and well-behaved.  And so clean! 

Alexandra lived a long life as a petted only dog, and she gave my mother a lot of joy.  As for me, I was pretty proud of my gambit.  Sure, it could have been a disaster, but I had had a feeling that it would be a good thing for Alexandra and my mother to be together.  And it was.

And that is how I became a dog pusher.

9 comments :

  1. Oh, don't worry and tell Ed to chill. BTW: I can't believe you too had an Irish Setter. We also but she was our first GS dog's dog, Pacem. If it works it does and if not, not. Dogs are dogs, not grandkids!

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  2. I love Irish Setters. All the ones we had were wonderful--not crazy or silly at all.

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  3. Indigo, I only push dogs on people who subconsciously are dying for one. You're safe!

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  4. Indigo, Keep your head down and keep moving. Make eye contact and you're toast.

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  5. E: Good advice. No matter what she says.

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  6. Well, maybe not a dog for you, Indigo. But what about a cat?

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  7. What a lovely story. i wish I had been brave enough to do the same with my mother and a cat. Too late now I think though.

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