Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, my Bubbas

Exactly three year ago, a squiggly little puppy was born that would change my life forever.  My (now ex) boyfriend had recently come back from Iraq, and I was bound and determined to get a friend for my sheltie, Fionn. (Fionn MacCool, for those of you who know your irish legends) My family has always had dogs in the house, and they've always been shelties. Always. Aside from Lady the escape artist, and Maia the barker (rest their fuzzy souls), they were perfect. They could be off leash anywhere, totally obedient, never destroyed anything, perfect dogs. Fionn tends to be a little......ball obsessed, shall we say, but that's really his only quirk.  He basically trained himself. He moved across the country with me when I lived with Brandon in Harrisburg, PA, and was a perfect traveler when my Mom and I drove back to California when Brandon re-enlisted in the Marine Corp.  Fionn was always a bit aloof, and kept to himself a lot. I always thought he needed a friend.  So, we went to "just look" at puppies. Translation: When you have a determined girlfriend, "just looking" means picking out and coming home with. Just FYI. I saw a beautiful black, tan, and white sheltie boy, but Brandon was fixated on a black and white husky puppy.
    "Look at the husky!!" He said.
    "Yes, he's very cute. Look! Sheltie!"
    "We already have a sheltie." He countered.
    "So? They're great dogs!"
    "Look at the husky!" He said again. And again.
...................sigh.
     "Do you want to take him out and play with him?" I asked.  Big, big mistake. Sort of.  Brandon quickly said yes, and in a minute or two this little black and white butterball waddled over to Brandon's lap (not mine), plopped down and licked his face. Crap. We were going home with a husky.  Well, not exactly.  On the drive home, we talked. I told him he had no idea what he was getting into with a husky puppy, shelties are great, obedient dogs, a husky was basically like diving into the deep end of the pool with piranha hanging out there too. Energetic, challenging, basically everything a first-time dog owner should NOT get into. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that.  Brandon had never owned a dog in his life, let alone raised a puppy.  Fionn was already 6 months old when we met, and like I said, Fionn was a perfect dog.  He promised he would exercise the dog, that it would be great motivation for him to get out there and run every day. Ah, silly naive Bonnie. I believed him.  What's got two thumbs and wound up doing all the exercise and training? THIS girl. Right here. But I had faith in myself, I'd taken lots of animal care classes, worked at shelters and vets offices, I felt confident I could handle a more challenging dog.  For goodness sake, my goal after high school was to go to Moorpark to study exotic animal training and management.  AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Besides that, this is what I was up against:
Shmawww......could you resist this evil little face?
So we called, told them we were coming back for the male husky (there was a female too, which I would have preferred, but this was mostly Brandon's choice), and went and picked him up.  Here's the kicker. Fionn wanted nothing to do with him.  Oh, he tolerated him well enough, for the most part. But most of the time, the happy, friendly, wiggly puppy would receive a growl and a raised lip while Loki went and found a corner to hide in. So much for a friend for Fionn.  There were rare moments when they would play, but Loki was a bit too exuberant for mellow Fionn.  

Anyway, I could write an entire novel about new husky owner trials and tribulations, but I think I would lose my few dear readers.  I'll sum it up by saying there was a lot of destruction, frustration, tears, and snuggling. 

He was always a snuggly sweetie-pie, but not always the brightest bulb in the pack. That's how he got his nickname: Bubbas. He's a loveable, doofy mama's boy who loves me more than anything in this whole world. The feeling is mutual.  I love all the dogs in the house, and Rowan is my special brilliant baby girlie, but Loki is really something special. He makes me laugh, cuddles with me every night, and makes me feel like I'm the greatest person ever.  He turned three years old today, and has taught me more about the challenges of dog ownership, patience, and brought out the strongest maternal instincts I never knew I had. I love this damn dog so much, it kills me. Happy birthday, my bubbas. 
Loki is blowing out the candles on his birthday cake from Three Dog Bakery


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