Sunday, October 11, 2009

Celeste complains, Mina offers her sympathy

I've never wanted two dogs. One was always enough. Then eight years ago, my last dog, Juju died from congestive heart failure. In the same week, my aunt had a massive heart attack and died as well. By chance, I was "fostering"* Mina at the time. Having her around made the grief bearable.

As Mina got older, it dawned on me that perhaps, maybe, possibly I should consider adding a second dog. You know, a backup. Awful thought, but not having a dog is unfathomable to me (even if some parts of my life would be charmingly simple).

And so, 2.5 years ago, Celeste entered my life. She is not, I repeat NOT, the kind of dog I would have normally adopted. She does not make eye contact, a behavior Mina and Juju both enjoyed, and not in a creepy sort of way. Her constant need to please is sometimes off-putting.

She has all the qualities I thin a first-time dog guardian/owner would love (and I love too, btw). She is not troublesome. She is not a sassy dog on leash. She listens and minds. She greets people with a submissive grin. She is, in fact, a people whore. She loves fetch and would probably adore hunting small, fast moving mammals (her only catch so far is a baby mole...not that I encourage the hunting of fast moving mammals by any stretch). Of course, my barometer for Dogdom is Mina. Mina who is leash-reactive, dog selective, neurotic, intensely devoted...and who I love fiercely. They are not two peas in a pod, rather two distinct species growing in far-off gardens (cheesy analogy, yes).

Yet they work well together. Celeste has brought out the adolescent in 10.95 yr-old Mina. Celeste does not understand why Mina feels the need to snuggle, while Mina is flabbergasted at Celeste's lack of interest in keeping each other warm. When Mina acts like an idiot on leash, and I have to focus all my attention on keeping her in a sit, watching me (or at least watching my legs, not the dog), Celeste is grinning stupidly at the other dog or sitting or just sniffing some grass. I can actually walk both dogs at the same time, because I know one isn't going to be that dog, the one whining and acting like she "really wants to say hi" but who has the social graces of a boulder.

I love this picture above. It may not be the greatest, but I want to print it out, frame it and hang it everywhere. Celeste is getting her costume adjusted, and she is enjoying it because someone is touching her, and that makes her heart pitter-patter in joy. Then there is Mina, coming up to check in, doing an un-Mina like submissive lick lip. I can just imagine Celeste talking to Mina, discussing her fears and hopes, and Mina patiently listening. Minus the lobster costume.

Right now, as I type this, Mina and Celeste are actually curled up next to each other, although Celeste is keeping a 2-inch distance from Mina. I put out a big, fluffy blanket because Mina gets cold when it's below, I dunno, 90 F. Celeste surprised me by thinking the fluffy blanket was also cool, awesome enough to endure nearly touching Mina (do not misunderstand, Celeste worships Mina, but she has a submissive-sensitivity-weirdness in which she thinks Mina is going to perhaps eat her if she gets too close...something Mina has never considered). Oh, and now I hear the thwap-thwap of Celeste's tail - sometimes just thinking about her makes Celeste happy.

In conclusion: Dogs are neat.

*It had been four + months of "fostering", perhaps I was still in denial?


Kembree said...

Mine are so different too, and my Lennox is a little socially crazy, where Lane is the dog everyone comes over and loves...but Lennox is easier for us to have at home with just us..and yes they love one another..and wouldnt know what I would do with out the two of them!

Kari in Redwood City said...

I have to admit, I couldn't imagine not having two dogs. I only had one growing up but once I was able to get my own dog I got (well I got one and then a second three months later). They keep each other company and are the best of friends. My biggest fear, though, is that once the first passes on (we all know it will happen some day) that the second won't be far behind. I don't know how I would deal with that

Rinalia said...

@Kembree: It is fun having such two opposite personalities around, isn't it? :)

@Kari: Having two dogs is nice, especially for the dogs (if they like each other of course, heh). I think it might be a little more difficult if they were really close in age - in my case, Mina is almost 8 years older. I certainly hope you don't have to deal with them both passing one after the other. :(

Kari in Redwood City said...

If I had to do it again I wouldn't get dogs so close in age, OK I say that now but who knows what the future will bring. Mesa and Baily are only 3 months apart in age (based on our best guess of both their ages as they were 2 months and ~8 months when we got them).

Daisy Dog said...

Oh yes! Dogs are neat! BTW, I love your blog :)