She's quirky, curious, funny, an instigator, a flirt, silly, demanding, brown, wild, authentic, sneaky, clever, brash, uncommon, athletic, bratty, excited, fearless, tireless, happy, a bit accident prone, loyal, unusual, hungry all the time, unexpected, loving, unique, ill-behaved at times, and always sweet.
She'll answer to a friendly voice, but to me, she's my Cheyenne, Cayenne, Little Brown Dog, Shiny Hiny, Tiny, and Shorty.
Seven weeks after she was born, she became the best Christmas present I could have received. We shopped breeders like we were buying a diamond. When we found the one we liked and drove forever north of Houston, I was overwhelmed by the puppies. Her brother was a tank of a boy, swaggering up to us like a bow-legged cowboy. Tough guy, he could have easily carried the name I had in mind for a male, Ruger. But I wanted a girl. And there she was, hopping along close to the breeder's step. He sat down beside me in the grass and she plopped down beside his leg and immediately flipped on her back. He shook his head and dropped his hand to scratch her stomach.
I ruined this one. Last night I rubbed her chest and her belly. She's been doing this all day today.
That was it. She became my girl in an instant.
Don't put her in that bed with you tonight, Alison. You have to keep her in the crate at night or she'll always expect to sleep in bed with you. And you don't want that.
Only that first night did she spend in the crate.
She was precious. I was weak. And who is to say what I want but me? We've been inseparable since.
Her puppy years cost me in books. Her preference was hardbacks, the more precious and dated in my life the better. When she tired of that, she'd knock framed photos off shelves and chew those to bits. She knew how to get me where it hurt.
Time padded forward. Her blue eyes turned gold.
She's put me through some times, that one. The kennel cough, the mysterious puncture wound in her chest the day after Thanksgiving. The alligator who thought he'd found a meal when she fell off the river bank. The brutal refusal to have her feet touched. The lump on her chest. The summer she spent throwing up every meal until we figured she had developed an intolerance to fiber filler. Which is like having a child who can only eat Caviar; her prescriptive food is equivalently priced. But she'll stomach any table scrap out there, not to mention her preference for cat poop, Christmas Ham, or anything at all foolishly left on the counter.
If I can get there in a car, she's with me. She loves nothing more than knowing she's going somewhere, and is quite content to ride shotgun with her head out the window, gazing at the passing world. She's happy to go where I go. And I take her. Often.
But she's happiest on a walk, at the park, and in the water.
Go on girl, fetch it up.
The dog smiles. She'll whip around a corner at the sound of your voice, squish her nose up, spread her mouth back, and then slowly walk up to you with a long toothy grin, head held low, body curving in a physical joy that is her own, and she lets you know that nothing in the world could make her happier at that moment than you standing there before her. Then she explodes into a tail wagging blur circling and hopping around your legs and all over the room.
She can pull a smile out of me on the saddest of days, and polish the shine on the best.
She's insanity and sweetness. Happiness and mood. Play and love.
She's five years old today. What joy she has brought my ife. Happy birthday, my little brown one. A truer friend was never had.