Sunday, December 6, 2015

Smiff and Dale

We named them after an old comedy team because they worked so well against each other and they made us laugh.
They had been at the vet for treatment of the neglect they’d suffered at the storefront pet shop where we’d found them. We had seen the white one in the window, looking scruffy and depressed. We came close to buying him, but we were both working and felt it would be unfair to leave a dog alone at the apartment. It would get lonely at home by itself. If there were some way to find it a companion...
And then we saw the black one, curled up at the back of the window in the shadow. And that did it. We bought the two of them for, I think $30, from the relieved shop owner who obviously didn’t want the expense of keeping them saleable any more. We took them straight to the vet, who recognized them. The store owner had had them in previously for some minimal treatment of a cough, but wasn’t going to spend the money to treat them any further.
The first fun thing about bringing them home was just arriving. Jean sat in the back seat with a blanket-wrapped bundle in each arm, and when George, our downstairs neighbor, saw her he practically fainted. She hadn’t looked pregnant.
We assured him they were dogs, and took them up to our apartment. It wasn’t that big, but compared to the store window where they’d been confined for who knows how long it was a prairie. They ran back and forth on the hardwood floor, their nails clacking, skidding into the wall at the end of each run, twisting backward, scrambling to their feet, running back the other way, for minutes at a time.    
You couldn’t tell for sure what breed they were when they were in the store window, but cleaned up and clipped they turned out to be miniature poodles. Smiff, the black one, was a runt; his legs were too short for his body. Dale looked to the layman’s eye to be conventionally proportioned, but was probably flawed some other way. Their being together and in that place told you that some breeder who wasn’t going to be able to sell them as show dogs had sold them off for a couple of bucks. It was the best thing that had happened for us, though. We’d been married only a few years, and Smiff and Dale were our family for almost the next fifteen.     
- - - - - - - -