I knew I was in trouble when my spouse came home about a year after we were married and announced we should get a dog. I was still trying to figure out who was in charge of what in our marriage and a dog was not on my list. I’d already abandoned the idea that I was going to carry the role of cooking in our household. This happened one Saturday morning when I melted a spatula into the burnt bacon on the stove and still tried to serve it.
Don’t misunderstand. I like dogs. I just happen to be one of those other kind of people. I love cats. So the negotiation began. I lost round one. He started looking at dogs. I told him I didn’t want to go look at all the puppies and feel guilt when we leave them behind. I’d end up dragging home a St. Bernard because I couldn’t say no. I said, “just find one that won’t shed, or yip, or bite, or shiver”. He hauled me over to the Portland Humane Society a couple weeks later and we brought home a tiny little thing. The lady at the pound promised that her breed (half chihuahua, half terrior) wouldn’t shed. The lady at the pound lied.
When people meet Ripley for the first time they smile and say “Oh just like Ripley’s Believe it or not”. We smile back and say “No, Ripley, as in the main character from Aliens”. Ripley, like her namesake, is a tough little woman who’d give everything to protect the ones she loves. She’s also a tad independent. As new dog owners, we bought a book all about potty training a new puppy. Ripley promptly peed on the book. Clever.
When Ripley was a puppy, she could jump. She’d take a running start and leap over the coach, from the backside. This was somewhat surprising when you were sitting unsuspectingly on the couch. Ripley is eleven. She’s slowed down a bit. She can still get up on the bed and does so nightly. She crawls under the covers and snuggles in right at my side.
My grandmother loved my dog. She liked to feed her bits of Taco Bell nachos. She couldn’t remember her name so called her Penelope. Ripley answers to anything if you’re feeding her.
Like most new mom’s, I was nervous when we introduced Ripley to the new baby. I shouldn’t have worried. Ripley routinely checked in to make sure the baby was okay. Ripley is hard to say for a toddler so for awhile the dog’s name switched to Lippey. I think it fits her. Now Ripley will sit and watch cartoons with our daughter. Its like her second puppyhood. We tell our four year old that Ripley is a grandma dog so you have to be gentle.
Ripley started breaking a rule. She gets on all the couches. She sheds all over new furniture. Neither of us have the heart to make her get down. If dogs years really do equate to seven human years than Ripley is 77. People tell us that little dogs with good health care live to be 14 or so. I try not to think about it.
My spouse emailed me the other day and said that Ripley was cuddled in front of the fireplace. This is my favorite place in the whole world to sit. He said, she’s your dog. Its true you know. Sometimes in life we get what we want. Sometimes we lose the argument. I like dogs. I love cats. But I adore Ripley. She’s my dog.