It all started with a mutt named Chipper. Chipper (aka Chips) lived with my parents before I was ever born. They were concerned about how he would react when they brought me home from the hospital. They needn't have worried. Chips scooted under my playpen and growled protectively when any stranger approached to gaze at me.
Chips lived with us for a long time. He ran away once, was picked up by someone and then found his way back to us. Pretty remarkable. My early memories were divided into two parts..."it happened before Chips ran away..." "it happened after Chips got back."
He was significant in our lives.
Eventually, Chips had to go to doggy heaven and we were pet less for a time.
Then came Ginger. Our neighbors down the street were selling (giving away?) puppies and after one brief glimpse, my sister and I were in love. We begged and pleaded and promised all the amazing care in the world. Which we were very diligent to follow through with...for about three days. Maybe not that long. Mom did the feeding and the house breaking and Ginger was really hers.
Ginger was with us a long time. Until 1995, when Jeff and I moved to Uganda. Ginger was not doing well and was going to have to be put down. I asked them to wait until I was gone. I couldn't face that goodbye along with all the other ones. I cried when I got the email saying that Ginger was gone.
"Home" for me in my growing up years included a smallish dog...barking at the door when you returned. Playing chase around the couches. Doing funny and intriguing things that would be talked about for years. A buddy when you were sick on the couch. A loyal friend no matter who was against you.
I moved away from that home. We came to Africa, and we quickly purchased guard dogs. But it wasn't the same. I wanted an inside dog, but could never figure out all the logistics of caring for a dog with our frequent travel and long times away from home.
Fast forward to last week...
For our last two trips to the capital city, my husband has been pointing out the dog advertisements on post boards. I have trained my eyes away from the adorable pictures knowing that it wasn't going to happen...so why look.
Jeff persisted. The poster of the Maltese Terrier puppies gave me much pause. Yes, they were adorable. Yes, I would LOVE one. Yes...they WERE adorable.
And at each of my logical reasons why it wouldn't work...my dear husband replied, "But this is something you really want."
Now, if I didn't know better, it almost seemed that my "dogs are meant to live outside" husband was trying to convince me to buy an inside dog.
The next day, as I picked up our meat order at the butchery, Jeff paraded off with all four of the offspring bouncing after him. They returned with huge grins and twinkles in their eyes.
"The last Maltese Terrier puppy is yours, if you agree."
How in the world can you say no to a bunch of jumping, squealing, exuberant children of your womb.
That and... I REALLY WANTED THE PUPPY!!!
We made the deal and met the owner the following day to get the dog.
This is Baxter.
And he has stolen our hearts.
Silas ran laps around the couch today with Baxter. Alex works diligently to teach him tricks. Isaac has become the Baxter-radar informing me what room Bax is in at all times...and what he is doing. Kinley is content to hold him while she reads.
But, I'm doing the feeding and housebreaking (oh goody! more poop to clean up!)...so, everytime he yips when I leave the room...or leaps up into my lap...or cuddles close while I read blogs...I am reminded...
He is mine. Smile.
Our carved out haven in this far off land...feels a little bit more secure...a little bit more "right".
Welcome Baxter. We are so glad you are here!