Tuesday, March 9, 2010


We have two dogs. One started off as mine though she quickly became my husband's, a pekingese, hubby and I brought home ten years ago. Long before the children. Ti Lung, is her name. Earth dragon. I try to name the puppies something reminiscent of their area of origin.

She was always an evil genius. Very smart and sure of herself. She'll listen and she'll do tricks but she does them on her own terms, always with that half-second pause to prove she's doing it because she wants to listen to you, not that she has to.

I have always loved that about her.

She's become an old dog and a real bitch. Not bitch in the dog sense as in breedable female, but bitch as in crotchety angry dog.

So she doesn't do something we all regret, we chose a second dog for the children. A dog that would be raised around them and wouldn't hide from them or growl at them. A dog they could play with. We let little girl choose the breed since she was old enough at the time and unsurprisingly she chose a poodle.

She didn't like any of the German names I came up with for the new puppy, so it ended up being Fu Tsang Lung. Hidden treasure dragon. I hoped the dragon name might give new puppy the same fierce independent spirit Ti has.

It didn't.

I often call the poodle Desperate Doggie.

Now there are a lot of differences in our house since we brought Ti home. Two children. We don't go out as much. I'm a home-mommy instead of having the same working hours as hubby. But I think the biggest difference is Ti.

She's gotten old. We came home from work one day years ago, back when I was working, and one of her eyes was dangling out of the socket. We think she spent a few years in pain as we went through a number of surgeries trying to fix it, though the vet kept saying she was alright. We tried to save the eye since the vet said she could still see through it and we had a number of surgeries for that before they ended up removing it altogether.

It's finally really healed. We haven't had to do a surgery in a few years, but it changed her.

Of course.

Now she guards the food bowl like we're going to starve her. And she often looks at other dogs like they're treats we're going to hand her to snack on as soon as she does the right trick.

We don't really see her bullying the Fu, she's always been too smart for that, but I've noticed Fu rushing to get a mouthful of food when Ti is out of the room and running to hide before she eats it. So we've gotten a second food bowl that we keep in another room, but I think it's too late to fix the personality issue I'm having.

She needs my attention. Desperately.

She follows me from room to room, skittering around to stare at me with longing eyes every time I stop moving. She gives me tortured looks when I feel the need to curl up on my usual chair and she doesn't have space to sit beside me. Sometimes she'll sit on the back of the sofa across the room so she can be level with my head and stare at me, nearly shaking whenever I look up and notice her.

I'm not sure what to do with this level of devotion. I've never wanted it. I don't enjoy it. And the more I try to push her away, the worse it gets.

I don't think I could find another home for the children's dog without putting Ti in danger -- because if she attacks our children we'd have to turn to a solution we'd prefer not to even consider. It's our only absolute rule. My mother had a dog that hid under the furniture to attack my sisters and me if we walked by. She always said we must have done something to it, even when she saw it happen, and I will never let my children believe I chose a violent dog over them.

I don't think I could find Ti another home because she's been with us so long I think it might break her -- and us. I can't get rid of the children no matter how much Ti wants to be an only child again. And yes, she does think she's our child, and above the human children in the household hierarchy.

It's one of those puzzles I'm having trouble fitting into a workable picture. The only thing I'm sure of is that we can't get another dog until Ti ... is no longer with us.

Other than that....

I don't know.

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