When we last heard from Greg Kincaid, author of the novel A Dog Named Christmas,
he and his wife Michale Ann had just adopted a scruffy terrier named Chance after a long search for the perfect dog. Read all of Greg’s posts here.
Chance was a good name, but we wanted to try on a few of our own. We settled on Hank, the name of a favorite character in my book, A Dog Named Christmas, for about an hour, and then shifted sequentially to Denny (from my favorite TV show, Boston Legal), Joey (from my favorite musical, Pal Joey), Lewis (my favorite comedian is Lewis Black), Jerry (my second favorite comedian is Jerry Seinfeld) and then, out of exhaustion and fear of bodily injury from our vet’s tech if we called one more time to tell them we’d changed the name, we finally settled on Rudy (like the famous third-string Notre Dame football player).
Unfortunately, Rudy soon earned some additional nicknames.
When we brought him home, we were expecting the five-month-old pup to be a little rambunctious and in need of at least some training. But Rudy seemed surprisingly quiet and extraordinarily well-behaved. He was so smart that we only had to tell him things once and he seemed to “get it.” He was naturally house trained and got along great with the cats and our other dog. We seemed to have hit the canine jackpot. At that point, being the proud adoptive parent, I gave him the name MIT (like the prestigious college).
But Rudy had been taking allergy pills for a rash, and once the allergy cleared up and Rudy came off the Benadryl, another dog took his place: A genuine full-fledged puppy we named Nubs — like horns we could practically see emerging on his devilish furry head.
Everything in the house had to be tied down or put up; otherwise it was
chewed or carried off by old Nubbie. A four-mile jog seemed to run him
out of energy for about 10 minutes, and then old MIT would make a brief
reappearance: compliant, wise, and gentle. (I, however, would be wiped
out for the whole day.)
Rudy loves to maul those little furry
toys that squawk when bitten into. Unfortunately, his favorite squeaky
toy is our 2-year-old dachshund, Ruthie, who now spends most of her
days hollering “Uncle” in Rudy’s death grip.
Twenty minutes of playing
with Nubs and she wants to crawl under the sofa and hide. Sadly for
her, that doesn’t work because I’m already hiding there. After all, I
too need a safe zone to ponder the replacement cost of running shoes
(the soles have been chewed off).
Two or three long walks or runs a day seem to help keep Rudy
under control. He loves being outdoors and frankly I can’t imagine
anything more fun than taking him for walks or runs. On the first run
or two, through the back fields of our farm, he was hesitant. He wasn’t
sure about those giant hay bales or fallen branches, so he cut a wide
swath away from these creatures.
By the second week, Rudy had
mastered the inanimate objects and now only hesitated around the more
animated creatures like quarter horses and Angus cattle. He would stop,
stare, and tilt his head as if to say, “Whose idea was it to make dogs
Rudy now leaps from one exciting find to the next with his
puppy exuberance, fully aware of the real treasures of this earth. His
biggest find by far this month has been turkey feathers. I must admit
they make an impressive ornament dangling from his mouth as he runs
full speed through the pasture.
After a month, Rudy, a.k.a. MIT/Nubbie, had settled into not
only our home but our hearts. We think about him when we’re at work and
miss him. Our vet summed up our thoughts on old Nubbers just fine.
was resting on his stomach, enjoying being petted by three or four of
the vet techs. He was clearly very happy. Our vet walked in and just
stared at Rudy for maybe 20 or 30 seconds. Finally, he put his hands on
his hips and said, “That’s about the most perfect dog I’ve ever seen.”
We agreed. Thanks to Petfinder.com and Wayside Waifs for helping me to get to Rudy, the most perfect man-dog ever. And thanks too, for letting me brag just a bit about my dog.