When we found out we were moving to Guam, one of the only things I could say to my children (read: Ellie) to keep them from fuh-reaking out and melting into a puddle of tears and hysteria on the floor was to yell out: PUPPIES! KITTENS! You can have one of each! And after several moments of describing awesome rainbow, fairy dust sprinkled, and glorious adventures to be had with said puppy and kitty, I could eventually talk her off the preschool aged ledge that leads to: The Tantrum of No Return. Of course these fantasies were perfect and in them everyone was wearing wrinkle-free clothing and had perfectly glistening smiles while we played in slow motion in the afternoon sun with our equally perfect puppy and kitty. Because that's how fantasies work, right? Kind of like what you imagine it will be like to have a baby before you actually have one and then you have that perfect baby you imagined and one day some weeks later in a sleepless haze, wearing a breast milk and poop covered shirt you look in the mirror, don't recognize yourself and go: WHOA. This is not exactly what I had envisioned. And then that adorable ball of eating and pooping and sleeping flesh coos at you and bats its glorious eyelashes and you fall in love again and forget your reflection for at least thirty minutes.
So what did we do when we got to Guam? Plan? Shop? Budget? Make lists about goals for our future? Bahaha! WRONG! Well, I just wouldn't be me if I didn't rush right out and immediately locate all the nearest animal-bearing facilities. I found a pet shop and an animal shelter and I scoured the paper every day for weeks looking for the perfect puppy and kitty. The only SNAFU was that we didn't exactly have a house yet. ONE CAN DREAM AT LEAST! At the very least it was a good diversion for my kids while we spent weeks at the hotel waiting for a house. And it kept me away from the pool bar. Side note: As I just typed that I accidentally spelled poop bar instead of pool bar. I can only imagine what THAT would have been like.
Eventually after looking at several pure bred puppies here we decided to rescue a dog from the local shelter. There are a lot of packs of feral dogs roaming around Guam and often times they're in pretty bad shape. We decided it would be better to save a life than have an overpriced pedigree. So we looked and we looked. I walked up and down rows of cages in the scorching sun, sweat dripping down my back, staring into mournful eyes, many of whom I knew would not live to see the next full moon. It broke my heart and I wanted to take them all home with us, but I knew we were only allowed two animals and by God Ellie was getting that KITTEN! So we looked and we looked, in the sun and in the rain. And then one day...I saw him. A fat black puppy too big for Ari to pick up but still little enough to have all the adorable qualities that puppies possess.
When we talked to him he lowered his head sheepishly and licked his lips. We took him to the play area to "test" him out (but in my heart I already knew). He was so well mannered. He didn't jump up on the kids or act aggressively, he was just so gentle. He followed us all around the yard and before we put him back in his cage, I looked into his face and said: You will be mine, oh yes you WILL be mine. He licked his lips and I think he even blushed a little. He watched us walk away with those sad eyes and all the fantasies we had envisioned played out in my head like clips from an old movie. Rainbows! Fairy dust! Sparkling teeth!
We had to wait for a week before our house was ready and we could pick him up. During that time, we discussed potential names. I voted for Stinky Ass Hippie, which Jeremy promptly vetoed citing improper use of profanity. The kids came up with some good ones that I would have loved to see Jeremy yell out angrily as the dog ran in the opposite direction down the street. Names like: Fluffy Buns and Unicorn Head, Poopy Pants and Fart Smeller. While amusing, they just weren't right, although, I may have agreed upon Dingleberry but no one else was going for that. Eventually it was decided that we would go for an old favorite. Jeffery Lebowski, or The Dude. And so he became... Dude.
Just like that fantastical newborn baby, it was all rainbows, fairy dust, and puppy breath at first. And then somewhere between him eating my favorite flip flops like they were a tasty bit of bacon and having explosive bouts of diarrhea for nights on end which resulted in us caring for him through the night like he was a newborn baby I just lost that lovin feeling. I had to remind myself for several days as I spray cleaned the crap out of his kennel through the night that I, we, wanted this gastrointestinally challenged beast with a voracious appetite for things that are not made for doggies to eat. I will now compile a list of his sins for your amusement. As you read this, please (If you have ever seen The Big Lebowski) affect, in your head, the voice of Maude Lebowski.
Bad, Bad, Very Naughty Things The Dude Has Done Since He Became Our Dog:
- Chew the laces out of Jeremy's very overpriced and waterproof hiking shoes. BAD DOG!
- Hump my leg in your puberty stricken frenzy while I was trying to take a nap on the couch. BAD, BAD DOG!
- Sneak into the pantry and eat the crap out of the car's litter box. I CAN SEE THAT LITTER ON YOUR FACE, JEFFERY! You're not fooling me! BAD DOG!
- Chew countless toys that did not belong to him. Pink does not suit you, Jeffery, you should really stick to colors that flatter you best. Like, beige.
- Bark incessantly at the creaking of my bed on a Friday, Saturday, or perhaps even a Wednesday night. NO ONE IS GETTING HURT, DUDE. I know it may sound like it, but I assure you, everything is juuuuust fine. BAD BOY!
- Run away to say hello to the neighbors dog early in the morning while I was still in my robe, thus causing me to run through the grass barefoot and half-clad screaming: DUUUUUUUUDE! YOU ASS! COME BACK HERE!
- You made us think that little patch of missing hair on your ear was just a scratch from your prior, wild life. But, no Jeffery, it turned out to be RINGWORM! Which you gave to my children. What did I tell you? To see my Doctor. He's a good man. And thorough. BAD, BAD, DIRTY BOY, DUDE!