Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Izzy's story

Eliza "Izzy" Doolittle

Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle

See the resemblance?*

*No disrespect intended to Audrey Hepburn . . . it's anthropomorphist for, "Isn't she pretty?" And they do both have big, brown eyes and, uh . . . shiny white teeth. Anyhoo.

Anyway, yes I named my darling little doggie after the character from My Fair Lady. In case you haven't noticed, I've named almost all of my pets after literary figures. Writers, characters, whoever strikes my fancy when I first meet the pet.*

*When I found Ernie, I wasn't at first sure if he was a he or a she (I didn't want to touch him to pick him up--read all about the rescue and subsequent events). So all along the slow, heartbreaking walk back to our farm, I talked to him and tried out different names (don't tell my husband that--he doesn't really need to know that I was thinking long term from the very beginning). I thought of Ernest Hemingway right off the bat, but since I didn't know if he was a boy or a girl, I threw in some girl names too. I kept going back to Ernie though, and I swear, that little devastated bugger perked up every time I said it. And that's how he got his name!

Eliza Doolittle, a.k.a. Izzy, Izzy Doo, Miss Doo, Izza, Izzadoo, Doodle, The Iz, Pooper . . . more to come, I'm sure.

We found both of our dogs on Read the story of their adoption and subsequent events. I'll never forget that it was a picture of Izzy I saw first. I sent an e-mail to Dan showing him the ad, and pointed out to him that it said they could be separated. We weren't looking for two dogs, just one. Just from that one little picture I knew she was going to be perfect for me.

The day of our first visit to their foster home arrived, and we went only expecting to scope out Izzy. We did not expect that Dan would fall completely, wholeheartedly in love with the other dog in the ad, Georgie.

Now what?

Well, we did some soul searching and decided that . . . two is okay with us!

The ad said the dogs could be separated, but even from those first two visits to the foster home, we did not agree. Without really knowing either of the dogs, just from those brief visits we knew they belonged together. So it was serendipity that Dan loved Georgie so much, and I loved Izzy.

Izzy is one hundred percent my dog. She loves everyone, but I'm the only one that can smoothly harness her up (neither of our dogs wear collars inside)--Danny almost always asks me to do it because she's squirmy for him.

When she wants your attention (ahem, that is to say: when she's not asleep) she plops her little bum on the floor in front of you and--it's the funniest thing!--her front paws dance. I've never seen a dog do this before, so it's hard to describe it with the proper amount of cuteness. But it's definitely dancing, not wiggling. Imagine a little kid that is really excited about opening presents on Christmas morning. Can you see him or her in your head?

There's a tension in the little body, a tautness like a string on a guitar. A readiness. This imaginary kid fairly vibrates with suppressed glee--can you hear the sound of in-drawn breath? You are watching this child, but the kid is completely unaware because of being so focused on the gift. Wide eyes, perhaps even some hand clapping when it's finally time to just tear into the gifts.

Well, that's Izzy . . . and you're the present. She concentrates on you like there's nothing else out there in the world. Her front paws palpitate against the floor. There's almost a zinging sound coming out of her because she can not wait for you to reach down and pet her. She is completely confident that you can not resist her adorability, and that you'll reach down to pet her and love on her.

Or, better yet, that you'll squat down. That is just pure joy for her because it brings your face into licking range.

Watch out!

Aww, too late. She got ya.

Never in my life have I owned a dog with a longer, quicker tongue. As soon as you start getting close to being somewhere in the relative vicinity of being near to her (that is to say, even if you just look at her from across the room, that's close enough), she starts licking her lips (hoping). That darn tongue can reach your face even if you're 3 feet away! Okay, perhaps that's an exaggeration, but for serious sometimes it seems that you're really far away and she still somehow manages to get you.

It's adorable in a disgusting way, because somehow (genetic? luck?) she has spot-on aim for your open, talking mouth. You never get used to that, nor the heebie jeebie feeling you get if she licks your closed mouth but manages to part your lips by sheer force of will. No amount of tooth-brushing or mouthwashing can get rid of that slimy rubber parting your lips. Yuck.

Izzy can talk. As an anthropomorphist, I frequently do the talking for my animals, but Izzy doesn't need a translator. She just looks at you with those big, brown eyes, whines a little (it sounds like "ooo ooo ooo") and very clearly, very distinctly, says, "I need!"

She needs to be petted, she needs to be hugged, she needs to go pee-pee . . . it could be any number of things, or nothing. Sometimes she doesn't even know what she wants, she just needs to be loved.

Little Izzy Doodle is one of the most well-behaved dogs I've ever met. She loves to do tricks, and would love to sleep on the bed with us if she could.* Sometimes she's too excited to do her tricks; she anticipates the commands and does it before you ask. Smarty pants!

*I wouldn't even mind, except Blake and Bunny already do (Ernie not so much, for some reason). And if Izzy got to sleep on the bed, then we'd have to let Georgie sleep in the bed too. Six bodies in a Queen bed is too many bodies. Foof is a small cat, but she is a complete bed hog. Blake gets hot, I think, so he doesn't usually stay up there all night. But sometimes I wake up in the morning aching from my legs pointing to the four winds (and my back pointing to the fifth wind), poor Dan hanging off his side like a bungee jumper about to take a leap, and both of those darn cats lounging across entire width of the bed. I can't even fathom what it would be like to have Georgie and Izzy in there . . . we'd probably just end up on the floor.

Izzy can "Sit!" "Down!" "Roll over!" love, and lick. She can not yet "Speak!" (on command) but she's really good at "Quiet." I think she doesn't speak because she's too much of a lady to yap like an idiot; I think she thinks that is like talking out of your butt. If she doesn't have anything to say, then she won't bark. And, not only that, but she looks at you like you're crazy for asking. "Why are you asking me to bark? You're always telling me to be quiet!"

Izzy has never had a grumpy day in her life.

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