Monday, January 4, 2016

365 True Things: 281/Dog

Today marks the fifth anniversary of my meeting our wonderdog, Milo.

I grew up with dogs—Shetland sheepdogs: Ling, Nellie, Susie, Chloe—but once I got married, cats became the pets of choice. Definitely easier to take care of.

But I always sighed a little about sorta, kinda wanting a dog. Because even if they're more fuss, they're also . . . more fun? (Although our first kitty, Tisiphone, was pretty doglike, in her fabulously feline way.)

David, though, was like: "No dog."

Reasonably enough. I traveled a lot, and who would take care of the dog when I was off gallivanting?

So I sighed off and on over the years. Not too heavily at first, but somewhere along the way (about 25 years into the marriage) the sighing transformed into . . . serious wanting?

I think it started when my friend Annie mentioned a goldendoodle, Millie, she'd met on her regular walk. Annie procured an invitation for us to visit Millie and her owners. The owners waxed not just enthusiastic, but blissfully so. And Millie was beautiful. And she was just the right size. And so so very sweet. And being a doodle, she didn't shed.

I was smitten.

I decided: if the problem was who would take care of the dog, I could find allies! And I did: I rounded up three friends who said they were willing to take care of the dog if we ever needed help. I presented this back-up support to David, and he said he'd think about it.

Ha! The next day, I found a doodle breeder in Templeton, not far from here. I drove down to visit. We worked up a plan. Unfortunately, though, her bitch was a full-size golden retriever and the stud was a miniature poodle, and, well . . . their "union" didn't take.

By the time I got that news, I was ready and didn't want to wait six months for another try via in vitro fertilization. A friend of mine in Washington State who raised alpacas mentioned that her neighbor on the next farm over raised doodles, and maybe I'd be interested in one of her Abracadoodles?

I was all over it. As was my friend, who every couple, few days went over to check out a new litter: six females, two males, from a 100 percent white poodle mom, French Vanilla, and a half-and-half toffee-colored poodle/golden retriever, Hocus Pocus. After a few days she wrote me by email that she'd picked out one of the boys for me, "Voltaire."

I plunked down a deposit.

And then I waited.

The barn he was born in
Until, five years ago today, I flew up to Spokane, and met my new dog, Voltaire! Er, okay, not Voltaire. I decided to name him Milo!!!! After the protagonist of The Phantom Tollbooth; also after my original thought, Miles (as in, "we will walk many miles together")—but then I was convinced that his name had to have two syllables, for the calling-of part of having a dog. So, Milo it was.

Here are some photos from our first month together. I expect over the next three months I might be able to muster up a few more of him from our ensuing five years together. He is The. Best.

First big adventure: two plane rides! Here he is in SEATAC.
First vet visit
Rrrrrowwwwr, kill the turtle!
Post–turtle massacre
Sizing up the cat
Home away from home
Who is that handsome dog?

First long walk on the rec trail


  1. Rachel Pasch GrossmanJanuary 5, 2016 at 8:21 PM

    I love Milo, despite never having met him. I'd love to hear someday about how you trained him to be a wonderdog, as I happen to know that wonderdogs, like wonderkids, are trained and not (just) bred. Meeko sends his love, as do I.