Chewbacca was a Wookie. I think of this every time I think of my dogs. They remind me of Chewie – brave, loving, loyal and smarter than others give them credit for.
During my entire childhood, we always had dogs. When I was born, there was a child before me. Her name was Perky and she was a Shetland Sheepdog. She was beautiful, and I had the pleasure of having a wise, kind, older dog sibling.
After my brother was born, my parents got another Sheltie. Her name was Little Bit. She had a little bit of an under bite, which Crazy Pat (my mom) said disqualified her from being shown around Houston, but she was the sprightliest dog around. I would dress her up and call her Bitsy, Itsy Bitsy or Nugget. She was hilarious.
She would follow my brother and I all over the neighborhood as we rode our impressive Big Wheels. Bitsy would chase us when we moved to bikes and sit longingly on the porch watching us when we left with friends. We were never without Little Bit.
Growing up with dogs was a must. Unfortunately, humans usually end up outliving these amazing animals. Perky passed away when I was 14, and Little Bit soon followed – less than a month later.
We were without dogs for two years. It was miserable.
Luckily, my grandfather, who was a dog guy himself, sent us the perfect gift. He put a little Sheltie puppy on a plane from New Orleans to Cleveland. This was the sweetest little dog – who we fondly named Cajun, or CJ for short. CJ was, like most Shelties, full of personality, spunk and herding skills. He was the best dog, and continuously herded me away from some crappy boyfriends. By the time I graduated from high school, CJ was not only a sibling to me, he was my protector. He was just as smart as most of my guy friends and much more empathetic. He was a peach.
At the end of my time in college, my best friend Callie gave me a golden retriever puppy. We named him Romeo because he was such a love. He showed us how much he cared by eating an entire strand of Christmas lights, and pooping on certain people’s shoes (including one dude I had a huge crush on – had being the operative word here). After graduation, it was me and Romy (I shorted his name a touch) against the world. Once, when a boyfriend broke up with me, Romy lifted his leg on the guy’s spanking-new car’s tire. Ahhh, the good old days.
As Roman (this is what The Captain called him) aged, The Captain gave me an anniversary present – another golden. We named her Lucy, although secretly I called her (and still do) Lucifer. She was a maniac. Of course, by this time, Romy was up in age – almost 9 – and all of his insane youth was well forgotten.
Lucy and I would go rounds. She didn’t want to go to the bathroom outside, she didn’t want to sleep in the crate, she didn’t want to be alone for one minute. It was quite a nightmare training her. And she was strong, so taking her to dog training class was a complete and utter horror. I gained a lot of upper body strength training Lucy. Finally, Lucy settled down, and Roman, sadly, did not make it past age 11. Lucy was alone for three years.
And then came Maisy. Here is a link to how I persuaded The Captain to go for another dog. Maisy is a Havanese. She is a fluffy, prissy little thing and oh, so charming. She is my alter-ego. If I was a dog, I would be Maisy – fuzzy, vocal and right next to whoever would give me a special snack or attention. She is a doll, as am I. 😉
My dad still has dogs. Two rescue dogs that are vivacious little critters. We Facetime and get to speak to the dogs. It is quite a treat.
The Captain’s family was also a dog family. They always had a pooch, but usually not by design. They didn’t visit the breeder or check the newspaper for certain dogs. They were given dogs that were older or couldn’t be placed in a normal home. One interesting story is of a toy poodle they were given named Jacques. Apparently, The Captain and his brother, Coach, were fond of making Jacques crazy. They would taunt this poor dog, who would growl at them and snap at them. But the dog closest to the in-laws’ hearts was named Mabel. The in-laws, let’s call them The Legend and Salt, lost this special dog last year. Mabel, who we fondly referred to as The Captain’s sister, lived a long life. The Legend took it hard. He became the Soup Nazi (Seinfeld) about dogs. I would ask him, “Hey, how about looking at a new dog?” His reply, “Grrr, no dogs for you!”
My father believes in getting back on the horse, and this is not just because he lives in Texas. He has loved and lost animals that were close to his heart, but he always finds room in his heart to accept a new dog – not as a replacement, but as a new companion. I, too, feel this is important. So I pushed the issue with my in-laws.
The Captain warned me not to do this, but I had to. They had to have a new dog. They both could use a special buddy. They needed a pal to wag their tale and welcome them every morning. So, I went on a quest to find them a great friend. And I succeeded. A male Havanese who looks like Chewbacca. He could be a miniature Wookie. It was time to get back on the horse, so to speak. And the best part? They named him Chewie. Oh yes. Han Solo would be proud.
Chewbacca was a Wookie, and the in-laws are happy. Love those dogs, and may the force be with you. With dogs, that is.