Sunday, 18 August 2013

Just to love, and be loved in return

Staying in the hospital for tests and vaccines
A year ago this weekend, I came home with a skinny little brindle puppy. A 'foster'. A 'trial'. She had been abandoned on the doorstep of the vet where I then worked with nothing but half a bag of chow, an overly tight flea collar, and the crate she was dumped in to her name - another thing she didn't seem to have. She sat crying outside the front door of the hospital from about ten minutes before we were due to open. We thought that someone was stood waiting by the door for the minute we turned the key so they could drop their dog off (not an uncommon occurrence when people have to get to work!) but the crying just continued. When we opened the door, there she was, alone, crumpled into a crate with the aforementioned half-bag of food by the side of it. When we opened the crate, she was nervous but friendly, and crawled out to sit with us on the doorstep.

Walking and leash training at the vet
Over the course of the next few days, she stayed at the hospital to be checked for the usual (worms, parvo etc.) and to get her vaccines. I texted a few friends who I thought might want a(nother) dog. While I was spending time with her, walking her in the outside runs and generally going in to the hospital to give her some attention, it made me feel bad that she didn't have a name. As you can see from her photo above, she has one green/brown eye, and one blue (if you can't see it in that one, try her Facebook page for, ahem, a few more photos). This is a rather convoluted link, but her eyes made me think of Elton John's 'Your Song' and the line:

So excuse me forgetting, but these things I do,
You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue.
Anyway the thing is, what I really mean,
Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen.

This led me to the Moulin Rouge version, where Ewan McGregor's character, Christian, sings a passionately delivered, bellowing interpretation of that very line to Nicole Kidman's courtesan female lead 'Satine'. Yes, it's a tenuous connection! As it happened though, not only does she have heterochromic eyes, but she is also the softest dog in the universe and she's a bit of a tart when it comes to male dogs. So you can take your pick of reasons for her name!

Bringing her home was genuinely supposed to be a trial, but I knew I wanted her to be ours. I just wanted to be fair and give Ben the chance to say no! So I paid for all her medical care (I had her fully vaccinated and microchipped before we left the vet that Friday) and the supplies needed to get her started with us, so at least he wasn't totally put upon. Just, you know, quite a bit. I still feel kind of bad about that.

The first few nights in our house were, of course, a little strange for the poor girl. She wasn't used to having people around or being allowed to explore the house, it seemed. She found it hard to sit or lie down - resting when people were nearby appeared to make her nervous. Bertie and Satine absolutely loved each other though. They played and wrestled and generally had a ball. Satine also started to grow on Ben. She slept in her crate at night to start with, partly because we didn't know if she was house-trained but also because it seemed like that was the only time she would close her eyes and really sleep. By Sunday, though, she was curled up on the sofa with us and her eyelids started to droop. I was relieved to see she'd begun to trust us! And that was the start of her life as a lapdog...

Then there were two... 

TINY Satine. Sa-tiny.
Derpy, happy girl - even after a spay!

The first week we had her.

Trying to make friends with Wash.


She has good taste in films.

Satine is a joy - unreservedly
happy about simple things.

Satine has by no means as long a story as Bertie, because once she stopped being so nervous, she fit right in and never really gave us any major challenges. She doesn't have anxieties or separation issues in the same way B does. She didn't really need house-training after the first couple of weeks. She had some mild drama when she chewed open her rear dewclaw stitches (she had that removed at the same time as her spay) despite being both crated and wearing her cone - impressive! But that really has been it. She's a very docile dog who seems to just love being around people and being cuddled.

So what to say about our soft, silly brindle girl? The thing I would mostly note about Satine is how she is a big bundle of contradictions. She is dopey (or derpy, as that is the word we mostly apply to her) but actually very smart and trained remarkably easily. She is terrified of odd, unthreatening things (the wind, shoes when they come off your feet, the vacuum cleaner, dinner trays) but very happy to run up to large dogs who are clearly barking at her to go away. She is unbothered by being lifted five feet off the ground but pulling a chair out from under the table sends her skittering across the room. She is sweet and loving but stubborn and grumpy. She's quiet and calm but has a sudden hound dog wail that comes out when she's alarmed or nervous. She has long, elegant and strong legs but no spatial awareness. She runs like a greyhound but is as lazy as a lion (and hogs the bed, too). She's 45lbs and still thinks she's a lapdog. She is, quite simply, brilliant. I adore her.

Bed bug

He loves her now. 

Thank you, Cassie.

Garden derp. 



She is so good at this trick!

Sticks are her favourite.

Snow is also good.

Long legs
This is a seat, right?

Peaceful, beautiful, derp dog.

Satine, my sweet girl, I love you more than I could ever tell you. You are bewildered by odd things, you approach the outdoors with gusto, you cuddle and play as a priority, and you've made me smile every single day we've had you. We're so lucky you're part of our family. Never change. 

I can't help it. Sometimes she reminds me of Ed.