This will not be a real slice of life, so much as a collection of thin slices that have absolutely no social or educational value. I suppose if you were trying really hard, you could possibly see a metaphor, but it isn’t really there. So, don’t bother.
First, we have always gotten rescue dogs, and they have always been of mixed heritage. With our first “mongrelle” (as my friend Pat’s daughter had once thought the name of an actual breed), we tired of having people ask us what kind of dog she was, so we invented a breed. She had a real affinity for that rare delicacy known as the milk bone, so whenever someone would ask us what she was, we would say, “Oh, she’s an American Biscuit Hound.” Nancy eventually developed an entire Westminster Dog Show description, “The American Biscuit Hound is an exuberant if mentally challenged dog, known for its distinctive head bump which houses the cranial nugget. Though lacking in any sense of smell, The American Biscuit Hound nonetheless can sense a crunchy treat with its keen sixth sense. This is The American Biscuit Hound, Number 64.”
The name went over very well. We sometimes didn’t let on that this was not really an official breed. We liked to imagine the people hustling home to look it up in the Encyclopedia of Dogs (the Internet hadn’t been invented yet) . “Would it be under American or Biscuit?”
Our next do had a similar appearance but a far different personality. His special skills and markings made him easily named, though it was only when we saw another dog show featuring the PBGB, or Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, that we realized what we had on our hands. Boo had come from North Carolina, or so we’d been told. He had a penchant for de-stuffing pillows, sofa cushions, and of course his own toys. He was an almost all-black dog, but had this very nice feathering of brown on his hind legs and backside. He became known to us as a Shepherd-butted Southern Batting Hound, affectionately known at the dog shows, though , as an SB-SBH. This one fooled a lot of people. We liked that, because really, why must we always ask about a dog’s lineage and background. Can’t we just appreciate him for his handsome sweet self?
When Boo was 7, McGee joined the family. He traveled all the way from a rescue organization in Arkansas. It seemed like destiny that he would end up in Connecticut, land of stony soil, because his absolute favorite puppy activity was digging up rocks in our backyard. After a few months, our yard resembled the surface of the moon. The little boy next door, similarly industrious, used to come over to play with McGee, but invariably ended up creating rock piles all over our yard. McGee always sported the tell-tale brown nose of a hard working rock miner. I did not love having a yard full of potholes, but this preoccupation did allow us to find our answer to “And what kind of dog is he?” Though it seemed fitting, we dismissed “A Mr. Potato Head Dog.” Everyone would nod in understanding when they saw his ill-matched body parts, but no one would be fooled. Instead we decided he was clearly a Little Rock Terrier.
Now, we have a new puppy. You might have seen him on Instagram, where he is becoming quite a sensation. He, too, is of uncertain heritage, and thus in need of an official tag for that obligatory question. He’s still only 4 months old, so his true personality and features may still be latent. For now, though, owing to his over-sized feet and his love of human contact, we’re testing this name: the Paddle-Pawed Snuggle Hound.
In case you missed my shameless advertising in my last post, here’s a way to follow Farley, the first Paddle-Pawed Snuggle Hound on Instagram. You’ll find him cuddlling with someone @farls.barkley