After 11 years, I finally have a “real’ dog.

Most of you who know me, know that for the past 11 years, we have had Macy, a cockapoo.  She is a lapdog. Even though she is Macy, I call her DeeDee, which is short for damn dog.  Sometimes I call her Moose, kind of an oxymoron. She has no teeth and is blind in one eye. Occasionally it is funny watching her bump into furniture.

Macy or "DeeDee"

About 11 years ago at Christmastime, when we lived in Ohio, Casey was 13 and told us that she wanted a kitty for Christmas. Patti and I got her the kitty toys, a litter holder, etc. Then, the day after Christmas we went to the Geauga County rescue center to look for a kitty cat. After just a few minutes there, we noticed that Casey was spending more time with the pups/dogs than the kitties/cats.

Timeout. Patti, Casey and I left the center, went to lunch to discuss this observation. “But I really want a dog,” she said, confessing that she wanted a lapdog because for many years we had black labs. Even though our labs would have been lapdogs if they could have gotten away with it, they weren’t. They were happy to run around outside, chasing chipmunks, possums, squirrels, neighbors’ pets. The labs were “real dogs,” in my vernacular. They chased thrown toys/balls, they ran unceasingly and jumped into the lake and swam to their hearts’ content. They fell asleep at my feet or in front of the fireplace. Yep, real dogs. As I write this, I feel like springing into song, “I am a lumberjack and I’m OK…”

She said that she wanted a cuddle dog, a dog that would curl up in her lap and watch TV with her. She wanted a sissy dog. While any dog is better than a cat (sorry, Kim), we were glad that instead of a cat we were looking at another dog. At the time, we had a black lab named Morgan. Casey did her research and built a spreadsheet (wow, was I impressed), showing the different sissy dog breeds and where we could shop for a lapdog. After some back and forth, she landed on a cockapoo, we found a source and the next thing we knew, we were a two-dog family. I had my “real” dog and Casey had her sissy dog. She named her Macy after the store.

Now, an important part of this story is the fact that small dogs live for quite some time. Another important part of this story is the following: Remember how old I said Casey was at the time we landed Macy? 13. So, if I had had any foresight at all, I would have known that sooner or later, Casey would go to college and she would not be able to take DeeDee (the damn dog Macy) with her.

I used to like syllogisms when I was younger, so knowing that sooner or later, Casey would head off to college, one plus one would mean that the damn dog would be staying home with us. And, THAT is what happened.

Over time, whenever I would come home from work, I would bark out, “where’s that damn dog?” Then, this little waif of a dog would come bouncing out of the woodwork, or out from under a bed, twisting her little tail and jump in my lap. Seems that dogs can sense who in the family is “not a fan.” Then, they work their little demonic doggie  charms and the next thing you know, the dog appears to be “mine.”

To this day, when Casey is visiting and Macy jumps in her lap, if I should enter a room and take a seat, the damn dog will immediately leave Casey’s lap and come to mine. Really ticks Casey off quite a bit, and I can understand, but Casey doesn’t feed her these days. It’s just a simple survival of the fittest thing and Macy knows who in the family is the food distributor.

Well, after 11 years of Macy, I have been yearning for a real dog — a dog I can take on walks, a dog I can sit with outside and read (I’ll read, the real dog will just sit there and look majestic, just like Elsa the lioness in the years ago movie “Born Free”).

So, Patti and I have been doing some research. We loved the labs, so we knew they were in the mix. But we knew they shed, and we had also had a labradoodle in the past (Marty) and Marty was the absolute smartest dog we ever had. And, labradoodles don’t shed. So we started researching the labradoodles. Well, upon a visit to the vet for Macy, the groomer there said she had a labradoodle puppy that was a rescue and he  was free to a good home. At the time, she had named him Sarge.

So, we brought Sarge home and introduced him to the ranch house here in Murphy … and to Macy. This is the first male dog we’ve had in quite some time and occasionally I still don’t get the gender right. “Where is she? What’s she chewing on?” He will probably need therapy by the time we’re finished with him. He’ll have to get over it, I don’t pay for freakin’ dog therapy.

New family member Gillis

Oh, and names. Sarge just wasn’t going to cut it at all. Casey wanted to name him Harper, after Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” So for awhile he was Harper. Then, that just didn’t seem to fit, for one reason or another, and I decided to name him Faith. Yeah, I know it’s a female name, but really true faith knows no gender and that was my reasoning for naming HIM Faith even though Faith is a he and not a she. Well, after that didn’t work, Patti and I went through some names again, and we settled on Angus, because I thought the dog looked a bit like an Irish wolfhound instead of a labradoodle. Then,  I found out Angus is Scottish and not Irish, much to my chagrin. I really liked Angus.

We looked at names again and settled on Gillis because it is Gaelic (Irish) for “servant of Jesus.”  Now, his behavior would not lead anyone to believe that he is a servant of Jesus. In just two weeks, he has already killed a rabbit in the yard,  chewed his crate into raw, unfettered plastic, put his mouth completely around Macy several times. Only by the grace of God, has Gillis not killed the damn dog.

He has found all sorts of items in the house to chew into smithereens. At five months old (and weighing 57 pounds), he has the chewing tendencies. In another week or two when the he becomes an it, the vet has assured us some of the stored energy will subside a bit. Let’s hope!

But he is taking housebreaking very well and is starting to warm up a bit to Macy. The rabbits have gotten much faster in the back yard. We haven’t sprung Gillis on the horses in the barn yet — no sense in rushing that pending apocalypse.

And, I have a partner to take on walks. He is starting to better understand heel, and we walk to the nearest hike/bike trail which goes by a small park. I will stop and read on a bench while he regroups, then after a bit of rest, we will walk further or back home. He is becoming a good walking companion — and I can use the exercise.

Much has been written about the therapeutic value of dogs and pets with people. Yeah, I know that a lot of that has to do with patients in the hospital, or the elderly in nursing homes.  Well, cancer-boy here reminds Patti after Gillis has chewed on something she values that I need Gillis for “therapeutic reasons.” Then, I’ll give her that faint, weak fake cough and say that Gillis is good therapy and the real dog has a home for yet another day.

I think Gillis has found a home.