The prospect of reviving this blog has been overwhelming. In fact, I considered just starting over. Reeva Dubois Part Deux has a nice ring to it, no? When I think about what my first few posts should be about, my brain resembles a game of whack-a-mole, except in my brain, the moles are all coming up at the same time and my hammer is the size of a toothpick. But I say, ON GUARD, foul moles. I will vanquish you in good time.
The most important thing that has happened (and I think everyone will agree with me on this) is this little munchkin…
His name is Oliver. He is many things. He is a Boston Terrier. He is somewhat mentally challenged. He is a hermaphrodite. But above all, he is my favorite creature on the entire planet. God totally screwed up when he put this little nugget together, and for that reason, he is precious to me.
The story of our meeting is legend, and so, if you will permit… what had happened was…
I met Oliver on a rather warm, sticky day in late August of last year. A week before, I was talking with a co-worker about how I was this close to being ready to let a dog into my life. I’d spent some time brooding over the details (breed, size, food costs, associated fees from the apartment complex) and come to the conclusion that by about, say, Christmas?, I’d be ready to welcome a canine companion into my crappy-ass apartment. A short while after confessing to my co-worker that I was almost ready to have a dog, she came into my office to tell me about a family member of hers who was having issues with their new dog.
Like so many people, he had his reasons for wanting a dog – a dog will teach his children valuable lessons about responsibility or a dog will protect his property from thieves and rapists – but, like so many people, he didn’t realize that these benefits come with a price. He hadn’t considered everything that comes with dog ownership, like food and vet care and exercise and THEY WILL TOTALLY DESTROY YOUR HOUSE UNLESS YOU KEEP THEM COMPLETELY ENTERTAINED AT ALL TIMES. Since you know where this story is headed, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that the little dog this man purchased didn’t quite live up to expectations.
You see, he was just a puppy, and predictably, rather hyperactive. Also, he has these things called claws that he couldn’t quite control around the furniture (HOW DARE HE MOVE ABOUT HIS TERRITORY ENGAGING WITH THE OBJECTS AROUND HIM), and he has these things called teeth that somehow found their way into and around the fingers and toes of the children (HOW DARE HE NOT UNDERSTAND THE PROTOCOL FOR AVOIDING HUMAN APPENDAGES THAT ARE THRUST TOWARDS HIS HEAD AT UNPREDICTABLE INTERVALS). And so, after a few unfortunate incidents, the little dog was exiled to the backyard. And by exiled, I mean tied to a stake underneath the deck. To be fair, his accommodations weren’t completely unfortunate. The rope to which his neck was tethered was long enough that he could find shelter under the deck in times of intense heat or driving rain. They took care to give him enough food and water (that is, if the aforementioned intense heat or driving rain didn’t ruin it before he could consume it). Hell, they even gave him a ball (that inevitably found its way out of his reach). And so it was for several months, until gradually, the family stopped paying him any attention at all, except when they remembered to feed him or hose the crap off of him.
It was my co-worker who, upon a visit to the house, noticed the dog and thought, “This sucks… I wonder if Ryan…” Which brings us back to me and my co-worker sitting in my office talking about it. After lunch that very day, we got in the car and drove to the house to meet the poor animal. No one was home, so we went around back and there he was: shy but excited, jumpy but gentle, dirty as all hell with a back leg that struggled to support his weight and all kinds of scratches around his face. There was poo everywhere. After a few moments of trepidation, he hopped over, reared up on his hind legs (one good, one not so good) and greeted me like he’d known me forever. I could tell he appreciated the attention. In fact, he was desperate for it. He reminded me very much of Oliver! --- all, “Please sir? Can I have some more?”
And I was all, “YEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!” I didn’t even care that he’d covered my pants with what was probably sh*t.
Now I have to be fair here. Was this an Animal Cops: Spartanburg, SC situation? Probably not. While he was very clearly not in great shape and his conditions were certainly not enviable, I can’t say that he looked like he was being abused. Neglected, perhaps, but not abused. Also, Oliver’s predicament is not uncommon. A lot of folks down here have dogs that they keep outside and ignore. I don’t get it, of course, because to me… that’s like having a dog for no reason. The dog might as well be a lawn ornament or a tree. Why have a dog if you aren’t going to do doggy things? Why invite an instinctually social creature to your home but not actually let it INTO your home? It doesn’t make any sense.
So I told my co-worker to call this family member of hers and ask about Oliver’s fate. She learned that the lady of the house was spitting mad about a rug that Oliver had ruined. And the kids didn’t like to play with Oliver because he tended to nip. And since the dad didn’t have any use for Oliver either, he wouldn’t mind speaking to the family about the possibility of giving Oliver away. The turnaround wasn’t long and by the end of that day, I was in escrow.
Later that week, Lil Sis and I drove up to the house (again, no one was home), went to the back and had ourselves a good old-fashioned dognapping. Taking him away from that place, a place where he was isolated, unloved, and taken for granted, felt like a rescue mission. We bathed him, took him to the vet to get his shots (and ask about the bum leg), went for a walk, and then went home. And y’all… we’ve never looked back.
Even though I pat myself on the back sometimes about removing a beautiful animal from a crappy situation, the truth is Oliver has rescued me. Since having him around, I haven’t fallen into my usual cycles of depression that previously haunted me. I’m more productive around the house and in better shape thanks to our daily walks (those daily walks have also worked wonders on his leg). He’s friendly and outgoing, which I’m not, so he has helped me meet the neighbors. Yeah… I’d say it was a mutual rescue from start to finish.
There are lots of stories to share (I’m sure you’re wondering about that whole hermaphrodite thing), and I’ll get around to those eventually. But I’m happy to present Oliver as the first post-hiatus entry on this blog, because he’s my favorite thing about the past year, and hopefully for many years to come.