I had an absurd premonition earlier this evening. I sensed that my bitch was going to do something great with her life. Immediately, as this absurd thought brightened my big screen, I thought back to Owen Meany. Owen knew he was destined for something big. No one else did. But Daisy, our supremely gentle standard poodle, doesn’t know. In fact, she has no idea.
Daisy is a mid-pack kind of dog. She’s six. We got her from a shelter 18 months ago. She was second choice addition to our family, losing out to another child (high fives all around on that). It was clear from the start that she is a timid animal. We’ve wondered so many times whether this is her nature or whether someone mistreated her at some point. In any case, she’s not, shall we say, assertive. Not the kind of dog with a destiny.
But somehow she has one. I know it now. I don’t know why. I mean, it’s crazy, right? What could she possibly do that would distinguish her. The obvious Hollywood option would be that she is thrust into an unlikely situation where one of my children is in mortal danger (probably from a human predator of some sort). She’ll suddenly become this ferocious animal, saving my boy and striking down the evil assailant. But no. That just doesn’t seem right.
It’s unlikely on many levels, not the least of which is that Daisy’s current packmate and fellow poodle bestie is Kaya, our 20-month old uber-alpha puppy . A more apt name for Kaya (had we known she’d turn out like this) is Kato, after Inspector Clouseau’s sidekick in The Pink Panther series. She stalks Daisy and then pounces with stealth whenever the impulse hits her. It’s playful harassment – puppy stuff – and Daisy is like a mother with infinite patience. Kaya loves her and looks up to her, even as she dominates her at every turn.
No, Daisy isn’t destined for violent vindication. So what is it? I really have no fucking idea. I just think it’s cool that I have somehow viscerally concluded that she is meant for something big. Her stock is up in the household, even though it makes no sense. That happens a lot. Just not to me.
UPDATE: Jan 2013. In a crazy turn of events, we ended up having to separate Daisy and Kaya. They just couldn’t get along. The stress of the relationship had Daisy engaging in destructive and unhealthy behaviors that simply had to be addressed. After a lot of agony, we decided that we would find another home for Daisy. (Kaya was still a puppy, and we just couldn’t bear the thought of being only a few years away from losing another dog.) So I placed an ad on Craigslist offering a free standard poodle to a good home. I received lots of inquiries, but one jumped out as the obvious choice.
A family with a special needs daughter was looking for a dog to be her companion. They needed a gentle, well-trained, hypoallergenic dog that would be able to immediately adapt to their environment. Moreover, they lived on an acre of land and had a vet in the family. Even more, the mother had grown up with poodles, so she was dying to have one in their home. Long story short – I delivered Daisy to this family – with tears aplenty all around – and drove away wondering if I had done the right thing.
I checked in with the mother 2-3 times a week for about a month. She told me her daughter was completely in love with Daisy, and that it was clear that the feeling was mutual. Daisy had no behavior issues at all. She seemed completely at ease with the situation from the very beginning.
A few months have gone by now. Things have only gotten better. Daisy lays all day in the palette the little girl made for the two of them to sleep together, waiting for her to return from school. She then is glued to her side until bedtime. The little girl even sleeps with her arm on Daisy. The mother tells me the little girl has “come out of her shell” so much since Daisy joined their family. “Like a miracle.”
Though we miss her terribly, I have no doubt that we did the right thing in finding her another family. We rescued her, but turned out to be only a halfway house in her journey to a real and permanent home. And when I think back to when I wrote this, I had no idea that the halfway tongue-in-cheek post I wrote would turn out to be so true. Life is beautiful sometimes.