|Darby mellowed slightly in her golden years.|
There were times that I plotted her demise. I offered her to strangers with free shipping on my blog. I tried to give her to President Obama when he was searching for a first dog, and even attempted to re-gift her as a birthday present for several foreign dictators.So it seemed odd to me that, when, Darby Dog, aka Hell Hound, the seemingly indestructible Beagle-Collie-Basset Hound-goat mix suddenly died in her sleep a few weeks ago, I cried for the better part of a week. I missed the way she pressed her nose up against the glass as I unlocked the front door, always happy to see me. The house felt too quiet and living there just wasn’t stressful enough. I realized that old Hell Hound, though bad to the bone, was really smart and funny. In addition, her time with our family encapsulated important Christie memories: my first decade of marriage and the births of all three of my children.
Darby spoke “howl” and had eating habits that made her look like a dog with butt cheek implants. I could have sent her out to earn money for the family waiting tables. Every night after dinner, as soon as the seats at the table were empty, this dog would gingerly lift each plate to the floor in her teeth and then wipe it clean. Sometimes dessert would disappear while heads were turned. Who could forget the time Darby stole the red, white and blue cupcakes off the table and then looked like Gene Simmons ready for a KISS concert?When I found myself searching for a new dog recently I kept looking for her in the faces of shelter hounds.
“This has to be a special dog,” I told my husband. “He has to be funny enough to write about, but this time we have to try finding one that listens,” I added.
“No impulse adoptions,” he advised, adding that he’d rather not be tortured for another decade.“I want a dog that sits on the front lawn while you wash the car and doesn’t budge. Where does one find that dog?” I asked, never thinking it would be at a shelter.
In an interesting turn of events, Ash, a two year-old chocolate lab/shepherd mix was scratched off the “kill list” at a pound in South Carolina this past April and sent to Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF) in Wainscott, New York. When we met Ash at ARF over Memorial Day weekend, he showed us he could walk on a leash like a pro. Ash looked at us longingly, seeming to promise that he would not jump on kids, would love our cat like a brother and would never flip over the garbage pail for kicks if we would just take him home. It took us about 20 minutes to decide that he was our next fur-ever friend, since once we adopt a pet we don’t send it back. Meanwhile, I prayed that this dog wasn’t putting on an act.
Ash was subsequently renamed Indiana Jones in recognition of his amazing survival through life’s adventures thus far. Now, “Indy” meets the three Christie kids at the bus stop every day after school. He just may be the most grateful dog ever born, and so far it looks as if we will have a reprieve from hell hounds, (although we will always love Darby).
|The very happy Indiana Jones "Indy" going home with the Christies.|
This story appeared in the June 7th issue of The Long Island Advance newspaper in the My Turn column on page 17. Thank you Linda!