Thursday, April 05, 2007

"...and your little dog, too!"

margie_gulch, originally uploaded by panthergirl.

My mother always hated animals. In Brooklyn, we would say she "shkeeved" them. If we were visiting someone who had a dog, she'd cringe if the little thing so much as brushed up against her. Every once in awhile I'd drag a stray kitten home, but it would be banished outdoors and would eventually leave. Since my dad loved dogs (sort of, but that's another story), we got a German Shephard puppy when I was about five. She was not allowed in the house except to sleep in a small area of the basement. Eventually she got sick. My parents took her to the vet and came home without her, tossing some matter-of-fact explaination, leaving us shocked and heartbroken.

When I was in High School, a friend found a puppy in a dumpster and gave it to me. I did a big sell job, promising my parents that she was going to be a small dog, and somehow my they agreed to let me keep her. AND because she was so little she was even permitted indoors. I named her Stymie, after the character on the Little Rascals. (Clearly she was neither male nor black, but those details didn't dissuade me.)

Stymie was kind of a pain, as she never really got the hang of "housebreaking", but we all adored her. She was the strangest looking creature (although no match for Mr. Winkle). We guessed she was a cross between a Corgi and a Pekinese, without any of the cuteness. But one day, much to my amazement, I heard my mother coo, "We love you, Stymie..." Huh? "We love you"?? She never even told her KIDS that she loved them!

When I was 17 and graduated from high school, my parents moved to Florida and took Stymie with them. A few years later she died of leukemia and they were devestated. We couldn't even mention her name without both of them dissolving in tears.

The face that softened my mother's heart?