June 23, 2013 Dogs Gertie, der Hund It happened again on our anniversary. Catherine called to tell us she was leaving the house with her sister. Oh, and by the way, there was another stray on the driveway. She couldn’t just leave it there and risk her finding The Big Road like Duke, now could she? So as Kerry and I drove the last curve to the house, a brownish tan dog came bounding across the front yard. She was the happiest little dog we had ever seen. She was practically telling us, “Lookie here! I found you! I’m home!” We both knew when she did this that we were going to be hooked, but we said nothing to each other about it. “What shall we do with this little puppy?” Our romantic evening alone turned into a search of ticks (of which she had few) and settling the puppy into our master laundrobath for the night. Dill and Atticus Finch met her before we tucked her in. They had little to say, fortunately. Basically, it was a simple, “Whatever. We’re used to this by now. We won’t get too bothered because she won’t be around for long.” She settled down pretty quickly. Day Two involved photos and a posting on Facebook. I tried to be generous and not “accusational,” implying that she could be a pet whose way was lost on That Road. But, whom was I kidding? This little 11-pound baby couldn’t have made it here alive along that dangerous road with nary a shoulder. The longer I got to know our little visitor, the madder I became. Who could throw away probably the sweetest dog we had ever met? Pure sweetness We decided she was a mix of dachshund and something else, Possibly a terrier, either Rat or Jack Russell, or even Chihuahua, none of which had previously piqued our interest. But she was so clean and pleasant smelling that she didn’t even need a bath! As we introduced her to our home and gave her more leeway, she showed us that she was already pretty well housebroken. In addition, her teeth were white and her tummy normal. She didn’t exactly love our Purina Fit & Trim, but she got used to it. Catherine treated her to bologna for the first couple of days during the transition; Kerry hand-fed her dog food morsels. What pushovers! Gertie playing. Atticus Finch loves that she likes to play chase. We started falling in love with our little Hund. Since she was of German descent (like me), I decided she needed a German name. Gretel? Greta? Liesl? Kerry moaned when I told him we were naming her. He could feel what was coming. We settled on Gertrude or Gertie for short. My Facebook posting turned a little snarky. I told that person who would never even see my page that it was too late to come looking for a lost dog. A trip to Dr. Hammond for a check-up (passed with flying colors) and a visit to Petco for a new collar and tag sealed it. Gertie was going nowhere. Napping on the sofa with the pack. Folks, I am here to say that I love the dog aesthetic. I have books on breeds with their histories and standards. I browse them and memorize so that I can identify them when I see them in their pure form or mixed. (I chafe at the term mutt, because it demeans animals. I prefer mix.) I melt any time I see a bird dog of any kind, particularly an English Setter or spaniel—any spaniel. Yet, I can now say that my little short-shedding-hair, long-body, wee-headed Hund is one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen. And when she nudges my arm at night and crawls under the covers to my feet to curl up, I think only of two things: that things are right in the world and will she be able to breathe all night down there?