We didn’t know it at the time but he had been in many homes in our neighbourhood, scratching on doors and when they let him in he instantly worked his way into their hearts. He was so cute and spunky, all 7 lbs. of him friendly and always hungry as a bear. He loved everybody and everybody loved him back. We found out later of some of the homes he had vacationed at and how they had gone through the process of trying to find out who he belonged to by placing found ads in the papers, posters on poles, carrying him around knocking on doors and if he didn’t escape their home first eventually took him to the pound. He had been there so many times they recognized him and knew his moms number. She had paid the fine to get him back many times.
He scratched at our back door one night in a storm, terrified of the thunder and lightning, soaking wet, tired and hungry. We brought him in, bathed and dried him, fed him and took him to bed with us. Yeah, we were that easy!At the time we had a hundred lb. Doberman and even though they were an unusual combo they very quickly became best friends.
Since we didn’t know Fluffys wanderlust history it wasn’t long before he spotted an opening and he was gone. Our yard was fully fenced and Dobie couldn’t get out but we weren’t prepared for this tiny escape artist who could find an inch or two under a fence board and he was soon gone on his way to greener pastures. He started returning off and on throughout the day and he’d often find me in the greenhouse, get some lovin’, have a game of tag or hide and go seek with Dobie and then he was gone again. Of course we left those gaps under the fence so he’d be able to get back in. He never did learn to go to our front door, he was a back door kind of dog.
We called him Fluffy as that fit his description and he wasn’t our dog, so we had no right to be naming him anything but simply something to refer to him as in “the fluffy little dog is here again”. He and Dobie played so well together like a very odd Mutt and Jeff high energy type couple running around the yard then a minute later he’d be gone and then we’d worry, all the while thinking how are we going to handle this; he isn’t our dog but does his owner even want him? What's a body to do?
One night he was at the back door again, soaking wet at midnight although it wasn’t raining. We soon figured out he must have been at the pool party at the house up the street and he had been swimming either by choice but as they sounded like a rowdy bunch we decided he had probably been thrown in.
The next day i knocked at that door with him in my arms and his mom accepted him from me although not very enthusiastically; it seemed as though she hadn’t even noticed he’d been gone. But at last i knew he had a mom and a home. She said his name but i didn’t quite get it; sounded like Gunga and i didn’t like it so we continued to call him Fluffy. She didn’t offer her phone number so I gave her mine and as well pointed out my house to her in case he ever took off again. Guess i should have said when he took off again. Needless to say he did come again but there was no call. I returned him several times and sometimes she didn’t answer the door and so he'd come home with me for another day. When she did answer the door she was in her housecoat, unfriendly and indifferent. She finally begrudgingly gave me her phone number and i called her one day to ask if she’d like to come to my house and get her dog. She said she would later. Later didn’t happen and i could see it was a case of an unfit mother. It was time to take custody of this little pooch!
Fluffy lived with us for 12 years never losing the urge to wander. He absolutely loved new people, a new bed to lie on, new hands to pet him and new lips to kiss him, new and different food to try out and plenty of loving and fawning all over him. He was a real tramp who always thought the grass was greener on the other side of the fence and the one he loved the most was his most recent aquaintance.
He was so darn cute and friendly and by then we loved him and so we welcomed him into our family. We closed up all the holes he had been entering through. He was going to live here whether he wanted to or not! I watched every morning as he and his pal Dobie at his side walked every inch of the fence line in search of a crack to escape through. There was none and so he settled in as our dog, but not without making an attempt to leave every chance he got when a door was opened. His real mom never called or came to our door. He was our dog now.
Once we had decided to take ownership of this dog we took him to the vet for a checkup. We were surprised when the vet told us us that he was actually a she and guess what; surprise, she’s pregnant! Well, we knew he peed like a girl but we didn’t have any reason to really look through the fluffy mess as his sex made no difference to us. He was just him to us and we never did get the hang of referring to him as she. But pregnant? Nah, i didn’t believe it then and still don’t now, in fact i found that to be impossible as he hadn’t been around any other dogs in many months. The vet insisted that Dobie would be the father and that Fluffy had actually helped him out by standing on a chair or the back of the couch. The whole idea was preposterous and to this day i think that vet ripped us off by charging us for an abortion as well as the sterilization.
In the first spring of Fluffys life as a member of our family we took him to a dog groomer as he had become an unruly tangled matted mess. We had never had a dog that went to a groomer before and so i guess we were unprepared as to what he’d turn out to be because upon our return we walked past the cages of dogs waiting for their owners to come get them. We didn’t recognise the fancy little one who was prancing, acting cute and yelping happiness and get me outta here at us. Yes, it was Fluffy looking like a Hollywood starlets little arm decoration and we felt rather sheepishly proud carrying our pom-pommed expensive looking little toy poodle out of there. Needless to say we became regulars at the groomers and Fluffy started sporting ruffles or pink bows on his ears. I was a proud mama!
Life with Fluffy was anything but boring. He was a character with an unforgettable personality. He loved sweets and one night we inadvertently left a bag of candy on a side table. I woke at 4a.m. to see the lights from the tv flashing through the darkness and when i felt for my husband he was there beside me. OMG, what the heck is going on? A burglar who watches tv? I woke hubby and we crept slowly down the hall to find Fluffy had somehow maneuvered from a chair over to the table to get a candy and he had stepped on the remote.
Fluffy knew he was special and so played the prima dona but always with the undercurrent of a very fickle tramp. He got away from us three times despite our constant watch. The first time carpet cleaners left the door open for a couple minutes but he was outta there within seconds. Soon a pickup was spotted driving slowly down the street and sure enough there was Fluffy on the drivers arm with the driver asking him “is that your house”? and “is that your mom?” as I flagged him down. He had made it to the elementary school nearby and had been flirting with the kids, maybe trying to make arrangements to get a new room mate. Another time as we entertained guests he somehow got away and some of those guests still tell the tale of how funny it was when the stove and oven were suddenly turned off and everyone had to scurry off frantically in every direction to search for him. Of course your dog is priority, so what if dinner is 15 minutes late!
The third and last time was after Fluffy became blind and he had unbelievably made his way down to the busy River Road as huge semi’s and container trucks wizzed by. A kind lady had rescued Fluffy snorkling along with his nose to the ground as he did since becoming blind and it was raw and bleeding from road burn but he was on a mission to find a new place or a new friend or a new food or whatever it was that he always longed for.
Fluffy was about 10 years old when he began having epileptic seizures. At first we didn’t know what was going on as he would simply stop playing and suddenly lay down for a couple minutes. We thought he was just tired from playing with his big companion. But eventually this developed into a ritual of walking in circles first and he had to go on a med but it didn’t completely stop the seizures from happening. His vision then went gradually until he became totally blind but that didn’t stop him from making his daily rounds to check and see if an exit had miraculously appeared somewhere in the fence or the gates during the night. The little bugger was blind as a bat but the gypsy in him was strong and he still wanted to roam the world. He could feel his way around and he knew there’d always be someone out there who’d help him. It was truly amazing how well he managed totally blind and wonder just how much Dobie had taught him as his seeing eye dog. Then we lost our precious 11 year old Dobie to a sudden heart attack and Fluffy went alone to check the fence line every day. But he wasn't alone for long and soon he had a new sister; Jodi, inherited from my husbands folks after they passed away. Jodi was a larger version of a toy poodle and all girl, very feminine, delicate and refined and so didn’t understand Fluffy or his ways. Jodi had been an apartment dog all her life and didn’t like the outdoors much so she hung out in the house and wasn’t interested in learning any of Fluffys wild shenanigans.
She liked to have her wavy hair brushed and she'd sit and look nice and she was just not into the stuff of wayward tramps.
It was around this time Fluffy lost all his teeth and he went on a diet of soft foods. He continued to be king of the house and he’d gallop around with no hardships going very fast from room to room and he could still jump up onto a bed or couch and off again without a problem. When it was apparent he was going deaf we were shattered for him but his quality of life was still good until he developed arthritis in his joints. But even with the meds he seemed happy and content until one day he didn’t revive quickly from a seizure and we knew it was time to let him go. Fluffys been checking out all four corners of heaven ever since with his pal Dobie at his side and a few years later Jodi joined them both.
Our home is quiet now, too quiet really without a dog. Every home needs a dog and every dog needs a home, even a wayward tramp like Fluffy.
"A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. You can't get it by breeding for it, and you can't buy it with money. It just happens along."
- E B White, The Care and Training of a Dog