You may or may not know that my family recently adopted a new dog. She’s a laid back little mutt named Gretchen, and she’s a good dog. She’s got all the right doggy moves. She has the tail-wag, they happy pant, and even the whiny-yawn. She’s a great dog that is perfect for my parents. (I insist, this is not my dog. This is my mother’s dog)
The story of how we decided to get her is a tale in and of itself. A few months ago, I stumbled across the Lewis and Clark County Humane Society website. They have videos of the animals currently at the shelter, and I decided I really needed to watch some puppy videos.
Then, because puppy videos are incredibly communicable, my mom started watching them. After an afternoon of cute puppies, I lost interest. There will never be a dog that can live up to the Ab-monster. They just don’t exist. They can’t exist. Abbey was the single greatest dog to ever dog.
It is a scientific fact.
I’ll come back to that in a bit.
So, my mom, very much missing my dog, probably more than I do, kept watching the puppy videos. This became her regularly showing a dog to my dad, commenting on how cute or funny or goofy it is, and then sighing. Each time, my dad would say something along the lines of, “We can get a dog if you want one,” and my mom would insist that she didn’t want a dog.
Fast forward to last weekend.
I was sitting in my room, pretending to write while waiting for the edits on Fallout. I’m not going to lie. I was playing Zuma Blitz on Facebook and faking anything remotely resembling productivity. Sometimes a guy just needs a weekend, right?
Which is why I didn’t complain when my mom came in and asked me if I wanted to go with her to the Humane Society. I immediately agreed (PUPPIES!), and started putting on my shoes and making myself socially presentable while she printed and filled out her application to be a pet owner.
She had set her heart on a de-barked lab named Dexter. He was a friendly looking goof-ball that someone had tortured by removing his ability to make dog noises.
Side Note: The Human Society will not give you the information on who had a dog before them, even if you promise not to let the house fire spread to the neighbors.
When we arrived at the animal shelter a few minutes later (it is exactly 2.3 miles from my house), we made a horrifying discover.
Dexter was pending adoption. He’d already found a good home.
My mom was saddened by this, but, it’s hard to stay sad when you are literally surrounded by excited puppies. So, we walked through the kennels to meet the other dogs and see if any of them were down for living with us.
It took awhile. If there is one thing I can say, it’s that there are way too many dogs needing a good home. If you have a home, and can take care of a dog, you should definitely go NOW to your local animal shelter. I can almost guarantee there is a dog there that will love you unconditionally.
Even though you have that weird thing you do. You know the thing.
Anyway. After meeting a few dogs, my mom decided she’d test drive one that really struggled against the kennel to get some pettin’ love. He was a big, hefty guy that was almost a year old. He was pretty strong and easily excited.
He won’t have any problem finding a good home, hopefully one with kids. He was a lovey guy.
My mother, on the other hand, is not a strong lady. She was looking for someone a little more, well, slow.
It just so happened that right next to the eager puppy was another young dog. She wasn’t excited to meet us. She was really excited about anything. We were there during doggy lunch time and when all the other dogs would jump up when the door opened, she was fine with just chillin’.
She looked… well, sad. So, I told mom we should take her for a walk and see how she did.
Long story short (CLUE JOKE), she was about as perfect on the leash as any dog could ever be. She never once pulled. She was relaxed and chill.
My mom had found her soul mate.
An hour or so later, we were taking her home. She… didn’t like riding in the car.
It might have literally scared the poop out of her.
You may be asking yourself “Matt, why are you telling me all of this completely useless back story?”
Yes, I assume you call yourself Matt. I don’t. I call my self Grothox the Awesome, but you know… to each his own.
Well, gentle reader. The reason I’m telling you this is because I wanted you to know that Gretchen is a good dog and a perfect fit for my parents.
She does, however, have a horrible obstacle before her.
One she is incapable of surmounting.
One that I can empathize with all too well.
She’s going to suffer pretty hard from younger-sibling-syndrome.
You see, my parents knew Abbey. As we’ve already covered, Abbey was the single greatest dog that ever did dog. There is no way that any other dog can ever live up to her memory.
But poor Gretchen. It is her duty as a dog to fill that void.
She will live out the rest of her life happily spoiled by my parents. She’ll get all the tummy-rubs and dog treats she can handle. But, every single day from now until eternity she’s going to be compared to the Ab-monster, Legendary Dog of Pure Amazing.
Whenever she perfectly executes a sit, she’s going to hear something like, “She sits really well, but she ain’t no Abbey.”
Whenever she makes happy-puppy-dream-noises, she’s going to be regaled about Abbey’s happy puppy dream noises.
That’s right, poor Gretchen is going to forever be the Jan Brady of dogs, and there is nothing she can do about it.