Wednesday 26 Oct 2016

Gandalf is Home
AJ Robinson

My wife and I love dogs. We particularly love to rescue dogs from the pound. Actually, I guess that term has fallen out of use; these days we say humane society.

Anyway, after we had to say goodbye to Juliet, there was a big hole in our lives. We decided to get another dog. As we live in an apartment, we specifically aimed for a small dog. We found a little shih tzu, with a short coat of white and tan fur. He has a little Pom-Pom like tail that arcs across his back; it wiggles and bounces when he is happy. He was perfect.

My wife settled on the name, Gandalf, immediately.

He looked like the wizard from “The Lord of the Rings.” Once home, he quickly checked out the whole place and was soon comfortable.

Gandalf is the smallest dog we’ve had, about twenty-five pounds. The top of his head was barely a foot from the floor. Jumping on the furniture isn't a very big issue.

That first night, with Gandalf, I did as I'd done with Juliet; I took him for a walk before bed. The thing is that he wasn't enthusiastic about the whole staying outside for a while. We live in a condominium complex where most of the units have a uniform look. As we strolled along, every time we passed a front door, Gandalf would trot on up to it thinking we were home.

It fell to me to explain that it wasn't home. Then I had to drag him away. I'd hoped that we'd have a nice long walk; I often get my best story ideas while walking, but that was not to be the case this night.

Gandalf wanted to go home!

Finally, I gave up and led him to our door. He raced up to it, froze a few feet from the stoop and looked back at me as if to say, "Okay, so, no tricks this time, this is home, right?" I smiled and nodded; we walked up to the door. It took a couple of big jumps for him, but he managed to get in the door.

Gandalf was home and he was happy. It quickly became clear to us that Gandalf was a homebody. Unlike Juliet, and quite a few other dogs we’d had and known, – Gandalf didn’t like going outside, which didn’t seem to make sense.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if he wanted to go outside, it was for one reason and one reason only. Beyond that, he liked staying inside. This made it easier in terms of caring for him.

Gandalf also made it clear that he loved his toys. We had several in the apartment and we got him more. The louder something squeaked, the more he liked it. We made a point of getting him a new toy every week or so.

We keep his toys in a little basket on the floor. He’ll go over and root around in it every once in a while, dig out one and then want us to chase him around the apartment. After that, when he’s nice and tired, he’ll flop down on the toy, to protect it, fall into a deep sleep and then snore. Gandalf snores quite loudly.

Gandalf is quite the interesting and entertaining little fellow.

We love him already. We foresee some fun times in the coming years. I’ll be sure to write more about him in the coming months and years.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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