Monday, June 25, 2012

A Tail of Two Puppies

Yes, the spelling is intentional!  (It’s a pun, okay?)

I have to leave my normal theme of this blog today to talk about two puppy dogs.

First there was Spike.  My mom and stepdad found him in their backyard in December 2003, trying to burrow under some pine straw to keep warm.  His mommy had relocated the rest of his litter, but never came back for him.  They brought him inside and made him a little bed, then mom called me.

Our first look at little Spike!
Donnie and I drove to their house to see the pup, and it was love at first sight!  I picked up this little shivery ball of black fur and when he snuggled up against my neck, I was done for!  We brought him home that night and for 8 years, he was the light of our lives. 

He was a stocky little thing, all black except for a couple of brown patches that made him look like a miniature Rottweiler.  Boy, did we have THAT one wrong!  The more he grew, the shaggier he got and most of his black fur gave way to a sandy beige.  Those short little legs got long and lean, and we joked that somebody had replaced the puppy we started out with.

Spike with his octopus - a favorite toy.
We named him Spike.  His favorite food was pizza; his favorite activity was riding in my car and hanging out the window, or in the back of Donnie’s pickup; he was VERY protective of us and our neighbors.  Once a UPS truck drove up the driveway of the lady who lived across from us; Spike was playing outside and ran over to stand between the driver and our neighbor!  He loved little kids, and he somehow knew that he couldn’t play as rough with them as he could with big folks.

All grown up and still adorable!
Was he spoiled?  Absolutely ROTTEN!  Did he ever realize that he was a dog and not the third human in our house?  Nope! 

We had no idea we would lose him so suddenly in August 2011.  It was hot outside, high humidity, like any summer day in Mississippi.  But not the hottest day we’d had by any means, and Spike had been staying outside during the day while we were at work, with no problems.  I left him that morning with a full bowl of water and ice cubes, and Donnie had even come home for something at lunch and Spike was still fine. 

But sometime in the next couple of hours, Spike suffered what our vet believed to be a heart attack or a stroke.  It was fast, whatever it was.  We went through the next few days in a stupor, still not 
believing he was really gone. 

After a few weeks, we started hearing the question we dreaded most: “When are y’all getting another dog?”  We would shrug and smile, but inside we felt like answering, “ANOTHER dog?  There IS no other dog!”  Or somebody would say, “I have the perfect dog for y’all!”  No, thank you, but we HAD the perfect dog already.

Last Thursday, Puppy # 2 came into the picture.  She was one of five little sister black lab-mix pups brought in to our local Humane Society as strays.  A friend had gotten her at an adoption drive at PetSmart earlier this month, but quickly realized that 7-week-old puppies require a LOT of attention and patience.  Not everybody is ready for all that at once.  Rather than see her go back to CLHS, we agreed to take her for a while.  We weren’t even really sure if WE were ready for another pup yet, or if we could give her the time and attention that she needed.  But we decided to try; at the very worst, we promised each other that we would find her another good permanent home later on.


When I turned onto our little cul-de-sac that afternoon after work, I saw this plump pup waddling around in our front yard, falling over her own too-big feet, and any thoughts of keeping her “for a while” just melted away!  I got out of the car and she immediately ran to me; when I picked her up, she gave me the same nuzzles that Spike had done that first night, and I was totally powerless.  I wanted to just hold her forever, or build her a doggie mansion, or buy her a car…anything she wanted!

I think they're born knowing this look!

She’s already started channeling some of Spike’s habits, like taking her treats to the bedroom doorway instead of eating by her food bowl, wanting to sit on the couch with us at night, investigating everything we do, and mastering that “lie on the floor and look up at them” move that could get her out of anything!

Enjoying a treat on the cool tile floor.
We’ve named her Shadow because of her solid black coat, and because she follows us as relentlessly as our own shadows.  She loves to play “tickle” and lie on her back while she kicks her legs in all directions.  It won’t be long before she’s able to jump onto the bed with us.  She’ll be house-trained, eventually.   I’m sure she’ll love pizza once she’s bigger.  And because she’s a girl, I can buy her girl-dog stuff, like hot pink collars and bandanas, or sassy-girl dog treats for her birthday!

"Oh yes, I have these humans under my power now!"

 Is she gonna be spoiled?  Absolutely ROTTEN!  Is she ever going to realize that she’s a dog?  I doubt it!

Until next time....


  1. Awwww so cute......puppies are amazing animals and when u rescue them out of a bad situation it makes it even sweeter..... I love my rescue babies. Good luck to you and Ashley jones

    1. Ashley - rescue pups are the best! I'm so glad that we said yes to this little fluff-ball! :)

  2. Lisa--so beautifully written. I know how much you and Donnie loved Spike (as we did). He was a special dog and he will always hold a special place in your hearts. Shadow is not there to fill that place; she will find her own special place. love, Mom

    1. Thanks mom! I think she showed up at just the right time for us. No, there'll never be another Spike, just like there'll never be another Frankie, Snoopy, or Sandy. But Shadow and Prissy are still our babies for the present!