Back on New Year’s Eve of 2004, I brought home a furry little thing that I named Lilo. She was nervous & her nerves tired her out, and she spent much of her first day in her new home sleeping inside her very large-for-such-a-small-dog house.
She eventually came out of her shell, and it turned out she’s pretty much the canine version of me. She has an innate sense of adventure and ADD that has led her down many neighborhood streets, giving me a heart attack every time she wanders off when I’m not paying close enough attention (which thankfully is not too often). She never runs away, mind you. She just catches a scent or sees a leaf and follows it to who knows where. And even when I’m scolding her, she is always THRILLED to have had one of her little adventures.
Rain and snow don’t really bother her, thanks in large part to her super crazy thick fur. I’m pretty sure she was a St. Bernard in a past life. And when she’s not adventuring, she is the most mellow creature in the world. Except when she’s hungry.
And then she is the biggest punk of a dog you’ve ever met. She will whine and bark and scratch at closed doors, even if it’s 4:30 a.m., until someone gives her what she wants.
She is also the only dog I’ve ever seen fake cry, which only ever happens when I try to cut her nails. She is my canine soulmate.
A couple of years later, on Nov. 18, I brought home another long-haired chihuahua, thinking Lilo might like to have a companion. It took me several days to nail down a name for her, and in the end, I settled on Rikku, after the Final Fantasy X character. It turned out to be apropos, as she turned out to be a tiny little ball of energy, much to Lilo’s chagrin.
For a while, I’m pretty sure Rikku thought that “Lilo” meant both of them, while “Rikku” meant just her, but she seems to have figured it out more or less. In those first few days, she would not leave Lilo alone, and she hated to be left alone. She’d howl like she was suffering the worst heartbreak in the world when she’d have to go in her kennel. And Lilo wanted nothing to do with her. I was actually afraid it wasn’t going to work out, that I’d have to take Rikku back, but then something kind of amazing happened. Rikku was all up in Lilo’s business, and Lilo, finally having had enough, bit her. And after that, they got along pretty spectacularly. And now, Rikku is still a bundle of energy, and she’s still pretty much Lilo’s inverse.
She doesn’t really care too much for adventuring unless there’s a human along with her, and in fact she’ll often make her way back on her own after only a few minutes. She is very, very, very wary of strangers.
But once you’re in, you’re in. And she is totally, absolutely in love with T.
She is a hilarious, patient little dog.
And I love her dearly, too.
And then there’s this little monster.
She’s actually only a monster about 53 percent of the time, but when she is in monster mode, it is pretty impressive.
I brought her home on August 11 to surprise T, who, as much as he loves and helps take care of the pups, is very much a cat person at heart. We’d seen her at Petco a couple of weeks prior, and she’d come right up to us and started licking our fingers through the bars of a cage, just like a dog. It seemed like a sign. Lilo has gotten used to her, and she and Rikku even hang out together (though Rikku remains wary, which is understandable considering that just the other day, Viola accidentally jumped from the counter onto Rikku’s head).
When she’s in monster mode, she sprints from one level of the house to another, leaps from the kitchen down to the parlor in one fell swoop, and goes from one “VIOLA, NO!” to another in a matter of seconds. The other day, I watched for two minutes as she attacked the stair. I’m certain that in a past life she was a cartoon. But when she’s not in monster mode, she’s actually incredibly sweet.
When I pick her up, she’ll literally hug my neck & lick my cheek. She’s been known to fall asleep on T’s shoulders (after she’s jumped from the ground up to them, whilst in monster mode, of course). She’s curious and hilarious, and I fell in love with her very quickly once T started cutting her claws. Really, though, she’s been a wonderful addition to our little family.
Between these three, I feel about as prepared for Mr. Baby as I can without actually having taken care of babies.
I’ve always hated it when mothers make exclusionary statements like, “You just don’t know love until you have kids.” (And if I ever say anything like that, please punch me in the arm in a faux-playful-but-actually-kind-of-serious manner.) Having pets is a unique and special love, too, and these three will always have their own very large compartments in my heart.