I have dogs. I don't have children. The reason I don't have children is because I have dogs. It's not that I am so busy with my dogs that I don't think children will fit into my lifestyle. No, no, no. It's much more basic than that. First, I had a bitch. Due to my husband's travel schedule, that bitch's heat cycles and my hormone highs and lows....there was only time and money for one of us to be fertile. And, as she was older and I was younger - - - okay, that was a few years back - - - her breeding took priority over mine. Hers never took; neither did mine. But, my husband has 3 grown daughters. And, I've always aspired to be an Alpha Bitch.
Well, weeks flew into years and that "girl" is at the Rainbow Bridge. Into our lives came IKE: male, virile, stallion-type, 93 pound German Shepherd Dog. My mother, impressed with his endowments, calls him "hunka-hunka burnin' luv." Of course, she's a senior citizen and we try to focus her attention more on his beautiful brown eyes than his "lipstick," - her second favorite term for his true masculine self. Soon, we needed to decide whether IKE was going to "use it or lose it" and that decision to breed or not to breed was also carried into the lives of the Homo Sapiens in our pack. This is the story of the night that decision was made.
Now all of you "dog" people know something that "non dog" people don't. Sorry, I've got to squeal, rat, tattletale and expose this insider joke. Here's the revelation: Our dogs are just as interested in our sex lives as we are in theirs.
Think back guys, and gals. Don't you have at least one really great story about the first time your new pup heard the bedsprings squeak? Or, better yet, what about the episode when your new significant other discovers there's a menage-a-trois happening in your bed and the third party has - gasp! - four legs.
Back to my story. One hot, August night IKE and I lock up for the night and enter the master bedroom. The toy poodle is tucked into her "tunnel" at the foot of our king-sized, extra tall, pillow topped bed. My husband - who is really home - - for once - has turned off the TV (a good sign!!) and it looks like the household is ready to settle in for the night. The cat, my husband's cat, was nestled onto my husband's pillow. That cat and my husband are never far apart.
Now, IKE was told "bed" and thankfully landed in his, not ours. Of course, this is just more proof of my expertise as a handler. Or, could it be proof that IKE is smarter than I am and knows where to sleep when "Dad" is home?
Now, please bear with me while I digress for just a moment.
If you've read my stories, you are starting to know "my look." Comfort and wiggle room define my taste in clothing. I'm practical and I sleep in boxers and the husband's discarded T-shirts. You've read that before. What you don't know is that my sweet-talk is limited to: "whadda poopy puppy breathf dis oogums has." Yep, that's it. "Talk dirty," in my jargon, means: "let's discuss IKE's inflammatory bowel disease and just how far the projectile diarrhea, well....... projected."
We are a loving couple; we are not romantic. When "the husband" proposed, it was more like raising the stakes in a poker game: "I see your car payments, aging mother and school loans." I upped the ante with: "I see your three daughters, ex-wife and one cat and raise you two dogs and home cooked meals." He said: "I fold." I said: "I do." And, we've been together ever since.
OK. Back to THAT August night. Picture this. I'm crawling into bed. Can't disturb the poodle. She's just a puppy and if she wakes up, she'll have to piddle. Can't disturb the cat. If he wakes up, he'll disturb the poodle. So, gingerly - quietly - eagerly.....I crawl over the cat, keep one eye on the poodle, and slide my feet around my spouse.
The husband winks; I wink. The husband kisses. I kiss back. The husband stretches. I reach. The husband moans. I moan. The husband pulls me down onto his pillow and I am blocked.....by the CAT! Immediately, without thinking, my knight in "shining armour" makes a pass. This pass is not directed at my anatomy. Rather, it is a football pass. The cat is the ball and my side of the bed is the end zone. And, what happened next can be described, but only in s-l-o-w - - motion.
In his lust for pass completion, the man in my bed completely overthrows the end zone. Cat does NOT plop onto my side of the bed, or even onto my pillow. Cat catapults onto German Shepherd, landing on "the lipstick," back arched, claws extended. Dog does not take this lying down and arises with a loud yelp. As I dip my head over the side of the bed to assess why my IKE is yelping, the dog's ascending head intercepts my descending nose. Then, MY blood drips on said cat.
Cat - caught between 93 pound dog and steady flow from my nose, rises up, anew, and in one lurch reclaims his position as King of the Hill - landing, claws first, on my husband's bare tummy. Husband sees cat speckled with blood. Husband first jumps to mental conclusions: MY dog bit HIS cat. This mental jump is immediately followed by a physical one. Brimming with righteous indignation, very tall husband stands upright in King sized, pillow top, extra high bed. King sized, pillow top, extra high bed sits directly below a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans, in Arizona, in August, always twirl.
Husband's head makes full contact with rotating ceiling fan. Luckily, there is some type of safety stop built into the fan and therefore, no blood from head is shed. However, spouse does immediately fall, dead weight, onto said king sized, pillow top, extra high bed. And, again, here's proof I didn't cut physics class in high school. I distinctly recall that: "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Not unlike a marble on a trampoline, immediately the toy poodle is heaved from the bed onto the cat, who has now escaped onto the floor. And, as they say.....the rest is history.
Being a nurse, I immediately perform triage. FEMA is not called out. Wife is happy husband's head is intact. Husband is happy wife's nose isn't broken. Poodle's potty training took a step backwards that night. And, in all the confusion the cat was not dismembered by the German Shepherd. He was, however, found pouting in his litter box..... still intact.
Intact. Now, that's a word that can no longer be used to describe the Shepherd. He isn't. Seems that my husband just had no sense of humor when push came to shove. Our family life, and ultimately our IKE, just wasn't suited for a stud. And, for the past few years, the only procreation I've tried to schedule is my own.
Great news, friends. There's an announcement to make at the end of this story. Within this new millennium our family will expand. We're expecting - - another girl. I'm lobbying for the name Lola. "Isn't that a bit old fashioned," my mother asked last week. "Not in the least," I replied. Because, in our expanding family of four-legged kids, 'Whatever Lola Wants' is exactly what she'll get! It's the perfect name for our next German Shepherd. Don't you just love puppy breath?
About author Shirley Greene: From the day I climbed on a cow to ride down to the Kentucky River and watch a hound whelp, I've been a dog person. Later, in my 20s, I dabbled with AKC conformation and obedience. Watching Schutzhund matches and making a pest of myself with trainers and knowledgeable breeders, I had the feeling I was getting closer to my niche.
Eight years ago, when my husband was out of town, two men tried to break into our home. As our senior citizen canine slept, the PD K9 unit chased the perps. Watching them work, my addiction was born. I began a journey of learning, listening, reading and watching the many trainers who would put up with me. Many people, and their dogs, have been my heroes and offered encouragement and information. Special acknowledgement has been earned by:
Butch Cappel, founder of K9 Pro Sports, who says: "K9 Pro Sports' goal was to bring money to trainers and create a sport with true professional attitudes. It has evolved into a forum where novice trainers interact with some of the world's most experienced; and, they ALL have a ball. The one word each competitor has used to describe their Pro Sports experience is FUN." Thanks for including me in the party.
Ken Schilling, Northwest Law Dogs, has taken me into his pack. A "dog whisperer," Ken is a trainer who breeds, not a breeder who trains. Your ethical approach to the business world of dogs has renewed my faith and serves as inspiration.
And, there's always one dog that makes you think harder and work smarter. To IKE - - that Alpha male, abused, starved, rank, sharp, Czech lines pup who grew into the confident GSD stallion on whose right side I proudly lean - - I'm still YOUR pupil!
This article Copyright 2000 by author Shirley Greene is reprinted here with her permission; all rights reserved.