Anyone who thinks childless women don’t use dogs as baby substitutes is lying. All they had to do is watch me over the last eight hours as Fred and I adopted our newest arrival, Halle Berry Lick. If you were reading this before, you might remember we lost our beloved Sadie last November to cancer. I swear I never cried so hard over anything. We raised that dog from puppy to old lady and then sat with her as she died. Heartbreaking.
Suddenly I couldn’t identify myself as a dog mom and I was lost. Everywhere I looked I saw someone with a dog. I have gotten relatively used to not having kids, but life without a dog feels empty. With my birthday coming up Sunday, I decided it was time for another dog. Forget work; we’re getting a dog, I announced.
We checked the local humane society again and saw the same sad dogs, then headed east to bigger cities with bigger pounds. We found dog heaven in Albany, just east of Corvallis, Oregon, more than a 100-mile round trip from home.
Making the choice was hard. I fell first for a puppy named Archer, but he was crazy and all teeth,and his fur activated my allergies. Then Fred went nuts for a teenage Rottweiler named Potter. He was pretty cute, but his idea of hello was a body slam to the knees, and he had a lot more growing to do. Sorry. Then there was Jerrod, about two years old, white with black speckles, but he’d never been house-trained and in fact didn’t know how to function in a house. Plus, having been beaten by his previous owner, he was afraid of men. Nope.
We made the circuit so many times, tried on so many dogs, including the Rottweiler mix whom I had to run away from. Ah, no. Also no to the incessant barkers and the teeth-flashers.
But among the quiet dogs was one they called Halley. She met all the qualifications. One year old, Lab mix, loving, house-trained. Similar to Sadie but different enough that I wouldn’t see my old dog every time I looked at her. We took her out for a walk in the yard. She was scared at first, and I was a nervous wreck. Gradually as we warmed to each other, I burst into tears. She let me hold her and cry on her silky black fur. Yep, that was our dog.
They sent us home with booklets and CDs labeled “New Parents’ Guide”, along with a collar, a leash, some food, two balls, a fleece blanket, and a nifty bag to carry it all in. Human babies should be treated so well.
We knew Halley was a good one when the whole staff gathered to hug her goodbye. This was a dog people loved.
She rode the whole 56 miles home dozing in the back seat on her blanket. When we finally reached South Beach, she set out to explore every inch of the house and yard. She helped me make dinner and sat by the table to mooch, just like good Sadie did, except the new pooch is taller. She can reach stuff on the table and the counter.
We changed her name a bit, making her Halle Berry Lick, because she’s a foxy black girl like the movie star and we chased her around the house trying to take a picture for our announcement. I got more shots of her rear end moving out of the frame. Boy, you can’t see a black dog in the dark, can you?
Halle, the dog, was a stray, and she is starved for affection. She came to the right place. She keeps bumping my hand off the computer as I try to type. I just type with one hand and pet her with the other.
Tonight I’ll get Sadie’s bed down and put it next my bed and hope this new dog will sleep through the night. I doubt it.
But let’s face it. I’m talking baby talk again, I’m obsessed by this black creature wandering through my house and I want to send out announcements to the world. Tomorrow we’ll raid the local pet store for new dog treats.
Sue and Fred Lick are pleased to announce the arrival of Halle Berry Lick, 53.7 pounds, tall enough to reach the counter. We’re dog parents again.