Friday, September 14, 2007

COLUMN: Randy Pt. 1

This column's gonna be a quick one, folks. This is the first moment of peace I've had in two weeks, and I simply don't want to spend it in front of a laptop. I've just been through one of the most stressful times in my life -- and, as usual, it's all Taco Bell's fault.

See, if it wasn't for the irresistable lure of the Gordita Supreme, I wouldn't have headed out to my car that night at midnight. And if I hadn't walked out of my apartment that night, I never would have met Randy.

I saw him standing there right away. I'm not prone to dealing with strangers in my parking lot at midnight, so I tried not to make eye contact. In fact, even though he was obviously making a bee line for my car, I ignored him and drove off to Taco Bell. But fifteen minutes later, when I returned, he was still there loitering in the parking lot. I had no choice - I had to deal with him. I tried to step out of my car, but I didn't have a chance. As soon as I opened the door, Randy jumped on my lap and started licking my face.

It's been well established in these pages that I am proudly a cat guy. I'm incredibly lazy and cats are incredibly low maintenance, and that symbiotic relationship is the only way I can relate to a pet. But when a lost terrier puppy hops into one's car and starts licking one's face, you can't help but fall in love.

I took the little guy in, gave him some food, and called the cops. I practically couldn't bear handing him over to animal control, but my cat-dominated apartment was ill-equipped for a dog on the premises, and besides, surely this puppy had an owner out there deeply concerned.

The next day, I put an ad in our Lost & Found section and waited for a call from the dog's grateful owner, who was likely roaming the streets of Rock Island in a sleepless daze looking for their awesome puppy. But the call never came. I couldn't believe it.

Animal control holds dogs to try and find their owners for a week -- and for that entire week, I couldn't shake the pup from my mind. I was hoping they were taking good care of him. I was hoping he wasn't mad that his new friend had sent him straight to dog jail. But as the week progressed with no owner in sight, I started having thoughts that surprised even me.

Could I raise a dog? It's not as if I've had no experience with dogs. I grew up in a dog-friendly home. When I was a kid, we always had some kind of little yip dog in the house. But could I cope with the trials and tribulations of dog-owning? As much as I love my mom, the dogs she raised always seem to turn into spoon-fed social maladjusts -- their last dog would break out in "stress bumps" every time it got upset, and their current dog gets pancreatitis every time it sees its shadow. Would this dog befall the same fate? And could I cope with it? The potty walks? The baths? The vet bills? What if I wanted to go out of town for a weekend? Pets are fun, but dogs are responsibilities.

Still, every time I had a blank thought that week, it was filled with images of this puppy sitting sadly in the pound. Now, the truth of the matter is that this dog is SO friendly, it probably was having the time of its life in that kennel. But my mind painted the picture of one of those impossibly huge-eyed sad dogs you see in velvet paintings, and by the end of the week, I'd made my decision: I was getting this dog.

So I went to the pound to spring him from the clink. I had a few questions, though. How old WAS he? Three months, they guessed. Wow, he really WAS just a puppy. Was this dog done growing? Nope, thought the vet. They estimated he could still put on up to 40 more pounds.

I ignored it at the time, but upon hearing that, I knew I had a change of heart. I MIGHT be able to have a little tiny thing in my apartment, but a fifty pound dog? My cats would never forgive me. My apartment's barely big enough for me, let alone a dog that could grow up to be a third my size. Still, I had made up my mind to spring him from the joint, so I ponied up the dough and adopted him -- but did so in order to find him a perfect home.

Step one, though, was picking a name, even if it was destined to be temporary. I thought it would be funny to have a dog with a common name. My friends and I considered Eric, Tim, and Doug, before settling on... Randy. Yep, Randy the Dog. And a few days later, when Randy discovered his own nether-region and what exactly he could, umm, DO with it, I realized the name was appropriate.

But more on that next week. Right now, I just need a nap.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

congrats on the puppy shane. Randy will be some work, but then someday he will climb onto your bed and snuggle up under the covers and it will all have been worth it.