Sunday, August 14, 2011

“Koi”




            For years my son, Paul, searched for a white Pomeranian because he wanted the contrast of a white haired dog with his own dark hair. I’m not certain what drew us into our local pet shop, but about eighteen months ago, we entered the store. I headed over to the puppies and kittens while Paul lingered around the snakes. When I saw two white puppies, labeled as Pomeranian, playing in their pen, I knew Paul’s quest had ended. One of the puppies had more cream within his coat, but the other was almost entirely white. Paul cradled that puppy in his arms, trying to decide if he should bring the puppy home. Not wanting to make an impulse buy, Paul reluctantly returned the pup to the store clerk. It didn’t take him long, though, to return to the store and nestle the dog within his arms again. We bought all the new puppy items we needed: brush, bed, ceramic bowls (with skull decorations), food, shampoo, and toys. The white fluff became a member of our family.

            After a few dips in the pond out back, someone suggested the name Koi for the puppy. Suddenly, we would all go Koi fishing as we dangled toys and ropes before the puppy to tempt him. Within days, Koi attached himself to Bridget. The older dog tolerated Koi’s too hard snips on her legs and ears. She allowed him to follow her through her daily routine and made room for him at the foot of our bed.

            All of our pets have distinctive personalities. Rambunctious describes Koi perfectly. Our laid-back cat, Sassy, still keeps her distance from Koi’s tumble and tackle play. Padme, our other cat, has a commanding aura. I’ve seen her bat Koi aside even though he outweighs her by quite a few pounds. Bridget, at first, indulged the high energy of the puppy. Like any momma dog, she let him nip and swipe at her tail. Some evenings, she’d recline on her pillows on the couch and give me this bewildered look, and I suspected she wondered when the puppy would go home. Eventually, she pulled him into the unusual pack that we call family.

            Koi communicates through “talking” in sharp yips. An intelligent puppy, he noted easily where we kept the Milk Bones we used for training. When first going through training, he’d run to the tin and jump against the cabinet demanding his reward for performing the desired behavior: sit, come, leave it. During the day, he’ll yip a few times if he wants a treat, jump against the counter, and yip again. Both dogs love chewing on rawhide sticks, which I decided to store in the bottom drawer of the kitchen desk. Paul showed Koi the stash one day, and the puppy learned to open the drawer within minutes. Fortunately, he’s never made off with the stash. He’ll bark at the open drawer until one of us comes and hands him the stick.

            Kio mastered the art of flirtation early in his puppyhood. He’ll tilt his head left, then right and give his fluffy tail a little twirl in order to get his way. If you ask him, “Are you my friend?” he’ll give you a head bump and lick your cheek, looking very dashing and coy. When my mother moved in with us last fall, Paul rented a house in our neighborhood. The house had a “No Pets” clause, so Koi still lives here with us. We’re glad that we get to continue enjoying his charming energy.








Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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