I'm a cat person. My parents and the mass majority of my friends are dog people. I prefer a cozy kitty to snuggle up with while reading a good book, while everyone else desires the loyal companionship of man's best friend. So when it came time for Linus to come into my life a lot of people asked me, "What? A dog?" They all know me very well. Dog's aren't my forte.
However, my love for all things related to Snoopy made me want a beagle. After a series of strange circumstances that led Linus into my life, I was hooked. Having a dog meant not only getting to take him for walks and play dates with other pups, but the promise that I'd have someone close by at night, a guard dog to warn off any un-welcomed guests to the house.
Over the past year Linus and I have adjusted well. He's had a nice, big yard to run and play in and I've had my little buddy, a close companion that desires my attention just as much as I desire his. But I'm too much like my mother, having been birthed with the special "gene," as we call it, that can't stand to see any animal abused or left out in harsh living conditions. If there is an animal that I can take care of and give a nice home to or help find a nice home, then I'm am all for it.
Believe me, I've had my moments of jumping out of moving cars to save a cat or holding up traffic on a main road for an animal to pass. This all started when I was a child. My parents are the same way, even my dad, who won't admit it, but has just as much a heart we ladies.
For a year now I've considered getting another dog just so Linus would havea buddy. Linus is not only overly hyper and full of unending energy, but he also becomes bored easily. Way past his teething stage, Linus has ruined a good number of shoes, rolls of toilet paper, a few shower curtains and even a prized set of Mickey Mouse ears all out of frustration, I believe, from not having a friend at home. I finally told myself that if God led the right needy dog my way to become part of my family, then I would take he or she in.
Be careful what you ask God for because you might just get it.
Enter Lucy - a stray hound dog twice the size of Linus that has taken up residence at my house, primarily my backyard and garage. I didn't want to keep Lucy, but she has for the past few months made a nice outdoor dog. She's very territorial, letting me know with a deep bark when something is going on outside that isn't to her liking. Linus and Lucy get along great too. They run all over the backyard in the afternoons, playing and chasing each other. When Lucy does come in the house, she is also friendly with cats, which is nice because they hate everyone but me. Lucy is low maintenance and very thankful for the food and bed she has in the garage. She sleeps by the garage door and in the morning I catch her sunning on the deck. Give her a bikini and a pool float and she'll be set this summer.
Enter Schroeder - a stray eight-week old puppy that crossed my path two weeks ago during a evening out with my best friend. I'm not sure exactly what type of dog Schroeder is. Could be a little bulldog. Could be a little sheltie. Could be a little hound. One thing is for sure - Schroeder is all puppy. He's got the puppy eyes that look up at me with a gentle smile, big puppy feet that warn me he's going to be a big boy, tiny puppy teeth that have discovered my toes as a good chew toy, and sweet puppy breath to wake me up in the morning.
Schroeder was in the road the night Jana and I found him. We were eating dinner at a small, middle of nowwhere place on the cusp of Blount, Walker and Jefferson Counties. Amidst our dinner, Schroeder kept being picked up out of the highway by customers, warning everyone that, "the sweet puppy outside is going to be dead if someone doesn't get him." The evening ended with Jana and her boyfriend urging me to take him home. I argued about it for a solid hour, because, again, I really didn't want another dog.
"You can find him a good home," Jana told me. "And if not, then I'm sure you'll keep him."
She knows me to well.
Schroeder bit me twice that nice before finally settling down into a happy state on the two-hour car ride back to Scottsboro. Filthy and covered in the beginning stages of mange, Jana and I put him in a box and wrapped him in one of her brand new sorority t-shirts. Schroeder rode in my lap the whole way home.
Linus and Schroeder met late that night, bonding instantly, as if they'd known each other their entire lives. After about a week of them spending time together and a few vet trips later, Schroeder was growing on me too. At this point in their friendship I couldn't think of separating them. Even Lucy likes the little guy, nosing him around the yard like a tennis ball.
Since Schroeder's arrival Linus has become another dog completely. The energy is still there and so is the frustration, but he's managed to take it all out on Schroeder in a nice, friendly fashion. He's also teaching him how to bark, how to rip open the bag of dog food, and how to chase the cats. All bad habits, I'm afraid.
On Easter I decided to let them both stay in my bathroom, figuring they would enjoy a few extra hours of company together. They had plenty of water and plenty of toys from the Easter beagle. But no, they didn't want to play with any of them. Once home I discovered I would have a new house project in the coming weeks, as Linus and Schroeder took it upon themselves to begin ripping the wallpaper off my bathroom walls. Their tails wagged proudly as they showed off their skills, looking up at me as if to say, "Mommy, see what we did?"
I know their names are all derivative from Charlie Brown and his gang. Yet, if you think about it, my pups really are a Peanuts gang - a bunch of misfits from different breeds and different backgrounds that have landed in my path for some purpose greater than I know.
There is a Snoopy related book titled “Happiness is a warm puppy.” For me, happiness is three warm puppies. And for now, that is just how it needs to be.