This entry is about pets. Over the past 20 years, our family has had six cats, two dogs, two rabbits, two hamsters and some fish. For the most part, we didn't go looking for these pets; they found us. It seems like we are magnets for pets in need of a home. Since it would take several posts and many days to cover each pet, I'm going to just cover the dogs, which will then lead up to our newest addition.
New addition? Now, hold on! I know what some of you who know me might be thinking or even screaming. "Curtis! What the H-E-Double Toothpicks are you thinking getting another dog?! Katie hates having dogs. Didn't you learn your lesson after the last one?" Well, all I have to say to you is, "Read on."
Picasso, the Miniature Pinscher
About six years ago, an extreme dog-loving co-worker told me about an abused and neglected dog that lived in her neighborhood. The co-worker had been sneaking the dog food and water and was desperate to find someone to take the dog. Up to that point in our marriage, Katie and I hadn't owned a dog, and I had very fond memories of my family's dog, Tinker. I called Katie and asked if we could rescue the dog. As I remember it, Katie reluctantly agreed, but if you ask her, she'll tell you that I completely railroaded her into getting the dog. Along with the co-worker and my sister, Lori, who was visiting at the time, we went over to the house and
Fu, the Chinese Pug
Even though I think Katie was genuinely sad about Picasso's death, she was relieved to be dog-free, so we didn't get another dog right away. But like I said earlier, we're magnets.
Ever since seeing them in one of my favorite movies, "The Great Race," I have always wanted a Chinese Pug. To Katie, they are positively one of the sorriest looking things on the planet, but to me, they are cute and very comical.
One day, I found out I was about to lose my job. This was a rough period in my life. It was also during this time Katie struck up a conversation at a friend's wedding with the mother-in-law. Somehow, they got on the topic of dogs and the fact that the groom's aunt was looking to get rid of a pug. I think Katie must have been feeling very sorry for me and thought I needed something to cheer me up because it wasn't more than 24 hours later that we owned a pug. I named the dog Fu, which is Chinese for "luck," and Fu turned out to be the good luck charm I needed to get another job.
However, Fu turned out to be a nightmare of a dog. He smelled bad, he shed year-round, and he was the MOST hyperactive dog. I tried everything from dog training classes to exhaustive walk to neutering to techniques learned from the Dog Whisperer. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, worked. I even took Fu to the vet to see if anything could be done. The doctor said Fu had ADHD. I immediately asked if they made puppy Ritalin. The vet said there were medications, but he didn't really recommend using them and they were expensive. Bummer.
After putting up with Fu for a couple of years, I finally decided he had to go...and to a good home. I wasn't sure this was going to be possible. I couldn't believe anyone in their right mind would want this beast. But, my in-laws suggested I list the dog on ksl.com classifieds. Less than a minute after posting the ad, I got a call from a woman who wanted the dog. Less than a half hour later, I had a waiting list of 20! The family that took Fu had always wanted a pug and loved hyper dogs. They even had another hyper dog for Fu to be friends with. We were very happy to see Fu go to this family, and I will forever sing the praises of ksl.com.
The one funny story I will always remember about Fu was when the secretary at the vet's office called and left a message on our answering machine to remind us about Fu's appointment the next day. It went like this. I suggest reading it out loud for maximum effect.
"Hi. This is a reminder that F. U. has an appointment to be neutered tomorrow. Please do not feed F. U. after 5 p.m. If you have any questions concerning F. U., please feel free to call the office. We look forward to seeing F. U. tomorrow!"
I thought, "How dumb could this lady be? Who would name their dog F. U." But then I thought about it, and I'm sure there are people who would.
Scooter, the Maltese
We said good-bye to Fu last January, so we didn't even make it a full year.
Shortly before leaving on our trip to Vienna, a student I work with asked if I would like his wife's dog. They were moving and couldn't keep him. I told the student I would love to have another dog, but I liked being married more. Two weeks after our return, I saw I had missed a call on my cell phone from the student. I had a strong feeling I knew what he wanted, so I didn't answer. But then, on a Sunday afternoon, I was caught off guard when the student called again. The student and his wife were moving the next day and still hadn't found a home for the dog. I was in the living room doing a pretty good job of declining the offer when all of the sudden, Chloe ran in from the kitchen saying Katie said we could give the dog a try. Of course, the student heard this and went in for the kill.
"He's really cute and well behaved. He doesn't shed, and he knows a lot of tricks. Could you at least take him for a week and see how it goes?"
I marched into the kitchen to see if Katie had completely lost her marbles. What was she thinking? She was glad we were finally dog-less, and now she wants to take another for a test run? But she truly agreed. And with no pressure from me, I might add.
So, Scooter the little white Maltese came the next day. Katie had to leave the house before the dog arrived because she couldn't handle the pressure of being the mean lady who doesn't like dogs that the dog had to impress. I also have to add for those of you who think I might have forced Katie into this that I made it absolutely crystal clear to the student if Katie had one reservation during the week, the dog was going back.
During the probationary period, Scooter mostly had good days. There were a couple of moments like when he got into the bathroom and shredded toilet paper everywhere and when he and our cat, Chester, decided to duke it out. However on the seventh day, Katie finally said under her own free will and of sound mind that Scooter could stay. She's still not a big dog fan like the rest of the family, but she thinks as far as dogs go, Scooters not so bad. He's small, he doesn't shed, he can calm down, and he's pretty well trained. I'm still a little wary of looking really happy around Katie about having another dog because I don't want to jinx it--but I am.
However, I have but one thing left to say to end this incredibly long blog entry. The Isaak Hotel is now full.