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Vicki Wentz column: All dogs go to … uh … me?

It’s just that I didn’t know you could inherit a dog. I mean, a necklace, a set of china, a nice chair, even a savings bond ... but a dog? Don’t get me wrong, she’s a really cute dog. A tiny little white Maltese who has known me and my dog, Gabby, for many years. In fact, we used to call them cousins. But, they only saw each other when we — or they — were visiting. This meant that they got along well … because in a few days someone was going home. (Not unlike humans who visit, am I right?)

This tiny white ball of fluff was named by her first “mother”, and for some extremely unfortunate reason she was obsessed with the British royal family. Hence, I am now the proud — if just slightly reluctant — owner of Lady Diana, a name that is longer than the actual dog.

Anyway, the death of a dear family friend caused our visits to become permanent. She adored her little Lady Di, and no one in her family was able to take her. Her daughter, and my very good friend, said to me, “Mom would have been so happy knowing that you would love and care for her.” Now, how do you answer that: Are you nuts? No way? You wish? Do you have any idea what canine knee surgery costs?!

Please. I was toast. And I do love her. Gabby, on the other hand, keeps looking at her like, When are you going home already? She’s not completely on board with the whole “forever” thing yet, but Gabby is probably the kindest dog on earth. When Di barks at Gabby (yes, it’s just “Di” now … sometimes “Di-Di” … I wanted at least to start calling her Lady, but my friend said she was used to Di now, and it wouldn’t be fair, and she’d never adapt, yada yada … meanwhile, I’m thinking, if she can adapt to a whole new house, town and “mother”, you’d think using the other half of her name wouldn’t be such a stretch) or when she starts eating Gabby’s food, Gabby will simply back off, lie down and say, “Whatever.”

Lady Di has a real Napoleon … I mean, Napoleonetta … complex, and she will bark at you so hard you think she’s going to friggin’ take you apart, limb by limb. In reality, being the size of, like, a golf ball, I don’t think she could even take apart one actual limb.

So, here we are, back to two dogs. Just when Gabby thought she’d be an only child for a while. Oh, well. Being the oldest of five children, I was hoping the same thing myself, for about thirteen months before my brother Jimmy came along. I saw no need for another child in the house, we were getting along just fine. Gabby, no doubt, feels the same way.

Yesterday, I introduced Lady Di to the group at the veterinarian’s office. They were, of course, wonderful, handing her around the office, and Dr. Digadog made a huge fuss over her … (why shouldn’t he; her care, along with Gabby’s, will help take his family to Cancun for Spring break!) We had her first check-up, and she needed a couple of shots, and some itch medicine, and eye drops. Dr. D looked a tad disappointed that my friend’s mother had recently had Di’s teeth cleaned, but even if she hadn’t, I would have had to let a few fall out before I could afford another visit.

It’s all good now, though. I’m happy to have little Di in the house. She’s sleeping at the foot of the bed along with Gabby, who seems to be accepting the inevitable. Plus, after fourteen years of having two dogs, it’s easy to fall back into the choreography it takes to walk them.

Having lived for several years with just one elderly lady, one thing Di isn’t used to is all the exercise and excitement at my house: always someone coming and going, always someone taking her for a walk, or down the long drive to get the mail, or to a nearby park, and folks are over for dinner, or the grandchildren are wanting to pick her up and put her on beds, on couches, in the sink, in flower pots …

Di spends her downtime sacked out … like me.

So, I’m happy. Two doggies. Life is good. Then, the phone rang, and my sister said, “Remember when you said that if ever Mom and Dad weren’t able to take care of Rosie any more, you wanted her? Well, I think that day is here. It’s just too much for them, and none of us are able to take her. Can you come up in the next few weeks to get her?”

As the saying goes, OMG. Dr. D’s office is going to get a whole new wing.

Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Contact her — and order her new children’s book — by visiting her website at www.vickiwentz.com.

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