Sunday, July 3, 2011


My husband Richie and I are accustomed to having a lot of dogs around the house.  We spent sixteen years of our married life packed six to a bed – Richie, me, and four dogs.   The cats had their own suite.  We assemble ourselves like a puzzle each night, a dog pack in a cave, snuggled together, nose to arm, furry foot to furry back (the dogs’, not Richie’s). 

Note to you all - never have a large group of pets that are all the same age.  Stagger the ages and you won’t be so devastated when they die in the same year.

It almost killed me.  (I am nothing if not dramatic)

Then there was Poncho, our cat, the infamous Pinhead from my Vacation from Hell stories.  Shortly after we returned and I ripped Poncho a new one for being such a pain during that trip we found out he was very sick.  We put him to sleep last week.  The house was empty, except for us, for the first time in eighteen years.  It was so sad, so silent.

It almost killed me.  (I am nothing if not consistent)

So, on June 30, 2011, Richie and I made a trek to the local animal shelter.  There was a sweet dog there, very shy, but very lovable.  Her name was Princess and she had been taken from a home because of cruelty.  She had been chained outside day and night for a year at least, with no water and very little food, if any.  Well, that’s all I needed to hear.  Princess was mine from that moment on but the name had to go.  On the way home we experimented with Delilah, Gaston, Lucretia…ok, so I wasn’t trying that hard.  To be truthful, I had one name and one name only I wanted to give her…

Matthew Macfadyen.

Whoa!  Richie apparently is pretty damn sick of that name.  He also was not crazy about a future in which he would come to me to say, "Matthew Macfadyen just took a dump in the living room."  I mean, the guy did win a BAFTA award.

The problem with the second name I suggested, Colin Firth, was similar.  Although the name is shorter in length than Matthew Macfadyen and therefore easier to use in a declarative sentence such as, "Colin Firth is a good dog," there is now the fact of the Academy Award to be considered.  Have some respect. 

The next name of Laurence Olivier was considered too long.  "Laurence Olivier, you come back here - don't you dare try and run across that street..."  By the time that was out poor old Laurence Olivier could be a hood ornament for a Semi. This guy won oscars - lots. Larry is the greatest actor. 

Besides, my accountant brained husband reasoned, these are all men's names

Quandry...what to do....what to do... Then I looked at her, with her big brown eyes and it came to me, the only name suitable to someone who had won my heart so completely, loved so ardently.

There was only one name in the universe good enough for this new, and most precious member of the family...


Next post...the search for Fitzwilliam


Kaydee said...

So sorry to hear about Pancho, Karen, but I am happy to know that you adopted from the shelter. It is the only way to go even if it is hard to see all those animals waiting to be adopted.

My 2 cats are from the shelter. I don't need a high priced purebread, just need to save at least one animal from a shelter.

I hope Darcy brings you much joy and I look forward to meeting Fitzwilliam.

Karen Wasylowski said...

We don't go there with any idea of what we want - just a rescue dog. I don't care about breeds either or pedigree. animals are so precious i can't stand to see them hurt.

LucyParker said...

Look at her precious face! She's perfection. You know the only real way of getting into heaven is to rescue an animal. And have them rescue you right back. (I am nothing if not an animal lover.)

Congratulations on your new beginnings!

Karen Wasylowski said...

thank you both. I cannot wait to see what Fitzwilliam will be, male or female. One thing I know is he or she will be a mutt.

Sarah Billington said...

Bitzers all the way! Don't know what a bitzer is? When someone says "cute dog, what is it?" you say its "bits of this and bits of that". A bitzer.

My family had one of those horrible years. We had 3 dogs (including mine) and 4 cats. 2 dogs and 3 cats died within 18 months because of old age and illness, so I sympathise.
Karen you are a woman after my own heart. I don't know how I bear it, living in a flat where I can't have any dogs. But my dog (also a shelter dog) lives by the beach with my parents and a doggy best friend so she's happy. And the ecstatic reunions we have whenever I visit make it worth it. :)

Karen Wasylowski said...

I like that - Bitzer, the best breed in the world. A new breed that the AKC should recognize. Meanwhile one thing we have discovered is that Darcy is a major klutz. She runs hell bent for leather around the yard but then can't stop without sliding and spinning in a circle. Lots to learn still but she's just a pup.

Debbie Brown said...

Note to you. ;) I am nothing if not bossy. Didn't you know that if the dog sleeps at the same geographic level as you (read in the bed) he does not know that you are the leader of the pack? It is an important rule of obedience training. If they sleep with you, they don't have to obey you. You are not the leader of the pack. But enjoy your squabbles with the pack.

Karen Wasylowski said...

No wonder my husband doesn't obey me in the slightest.