Some moments are etched indelibly on my memory.  The day I looked at BrightSide and knew, way down in my bones, that I loved him.  The morning I fell into T-man’s liquid brown eyes and discovered an entirely different kind of love.  The evening I held Bear for the first time and realized I was equal parts enthralled and terrified by this tiny being.

And then there are times when your dog leaps out the car window like superman.

Our dog Virginia (Ginny, for short) was what some in polite society might call eccentric.  Set in her ways.  Independent and spunky.

As I recall, most of BrightSide’s commentary ran more toward Why the hell did we get this dog again?

Why?  Well.  That would be because of me…..

BrightSide and I were young when we lived in St. Louis – footloose, fancy free, and newly married.  Our sweet Heidi (fur baby #1) was smart as a whip and utterly devoted to BrightSide.  The three of us were doing just fine until I got a bee in my bonnet about Heidi needing a friend…she was home alone all day while we were at work, and what kind of life was that?  (There may also have been a smidge of me dreaming about lap sized pets.  Ssshh…)

In retrospect, if Heidi could have weighed in, she might have said it was a pretty peaceful life.  But I guess we’ll never know.

Our trip to the animal shelter resulted in Ginny, a scruffy (some might say street smart) papillon who wasn’t taking any crap off anybody just ‘cuz her ilk tended to be snazzy show dogs.  As BrightSide and I spent time with her in a room at the shelter her internal monologue may have sounded something like this: Oh man, smell this.  And this.  This place is so much bigger than my cage, I never wanna go back.  Why do these annoying humans keep trying to touch me?  And the yammer, yammer, yammer with the good dog, good dog, good dog?  Can’t you see I’m busy here?

Our dialogue sounded more like this:

  • me:  I love her!
  • BS:  Really?
  • me:  Yes!  She’s adorable!
  • BS:  (glances sideways at scruffy dog)  Well…okay…but she hasn’t paid attention to us at all.
  • me:  So she’s independent!  Whatever.  She’s coming home.

True to BrightSide’s initial impression, Ginny was indeed independent.  There were times when she’d take off down the sidewalk, little legs scurrying madly, then look at me in utter confusion as I picked her up to carry her home.  Clearly she was on her way somewhere; why on earth was I interfering?  But true to my ways, I stuck to my guns and insisted she would learn to love being fur baby #2.

Shortly after Ginny came home we took her to the vet.  BrightSide was driving the Miata (go ahead, I’ll give you a moment to process the image of his six foot frame folded into that car) while I was sitting in the passenger seat, holding Ginny as she happily stuck her head out the window.  I remember it being pretty out – a blue skies, green grass sort of day – but otherwise unremarkable.  No joggers on the sidewalk, no dogs being walked or cats frolicking in the yard.

So you can imagine my surprise when Ginny suddenly went sailing through the open window while we were stopped at a light.  There was a split second of wait, WHAT just happened? as I processed that we were on a busy street with cars behind us and the light had turned green, but at least she’d taken off toward the houses.  I hopped out and sprinted after her – those short legs of hers gave me a big advantage in a footrace – firmly closing the window after we’d both returned to the car.

I can only imagine what it must have looked like to the driver behind us…the papillon soaring through the air with a woman scrambling wildly after her.  I know I’ll never forget the sight.