Eleven years ago today Shane and I drove up to Animal Haven (now the Great Plains SPCA) in Merriam to meet a few dogs available for adoption. There was Sir Wagsalot (actually I think his name was Wagsley, but I like my version better), a beagle mix who looked friendly enough but had just arrived and wasn’t quite ready to be adopted out yet. Then there was Rachel, a rat terrier who was so disagreeable around other small dogs that she got a whole outdoor run to herself. Her kennel had one of those igloo-type dog houses, plopped down right in the center of the yard; I remember when we pulled up, she was perched atop it like she was queen of the world. And last but not least was Rennie, our lukewarm porridge: just right. Ready to go ASAP and a little ball of friendly energy.
Trouble was, we weren’t the only family interested, and the staff wanted to introduce her to Ralphie and Peedee before taking her home. So we raced back to Stilwell – a twenty-minute drive one way – to grab the little buggers.
Ralphie was totes chill about the whole thing, as per usual, but Peedee. Peedee! He was soooooo nervous. Ralphie only spent one night in the pound before he was snatched up by DRNA and put right into a foster home – so maybe he didn’t remember enough to be scared by a visit to an animal shelter? But then Peedee went right into foster care too; I don’t think he really had any negative experiences to color his perceptions either. Probably it all came down to Peedee being a high-strung, overly anxious bundle of nerves. (Yet another thing he and I shared in common.)
So anyway, Ralphie went right up to Rennie and started checking her out, while Peedee hid behind me and tried to retreat back to the car. All while Rennie chased him around with no small amount of curiosity and excitement. He was terrified of her! Little ten-pound Rennie, scrappy and sniffling with kennel cough. Even back then, they were so cute together.
Of course, you all know how the story ends: we brought Rennie home and she and Peedee and Ralphie all got to be the best of friends. And then Kaylee came along and adopted her as a porcine daughter; and when she passed away, Mags stepped in to fill the role. She’s a little bossy and doesn’t have Kaylee’s curvaceous marshmallow shape, but I know that Rennie’s happy to have her just the same. I sure am.
Here’s the part where I share twelve little things I love about Rennie: one for each year of her life. I’ll keep adding to this list annually, until I run out – so basically from now until the day I die. Because Rennie? She’s all kinds of awesome.
Twelve Little Rennie Things
She is the baby piglet to Kaylee’s mama sow.
Sadly, Ralphie is the only dog short enough for her to mount, and he is entirely too old and too blind for this shit.
Fun story: Rennie overwhelmingly prefers found balls to store-bought ones, probably since they come with strange and exotic smells built right in. I often find tennis balls at the park, since it’s home to a (very cracked) tennis court. One time I found a whole pile of them, just sitting in the grass. I stuffed my jacket pockets with ’em and, when I got home, pulled them out of my pocket one at a time – slowly and with great dramatic effect – and threw them to her. Her eyes got real wide and at one point I thought her head might actually explode. She pounced on them – one, two, three, four-five-six! – running from one to another and back again. It was like her birthday and x-mas all rolled up into one.
Seriously, I can’t even tell you how happy that made me. Sappy but true.
Our local park boasts a few water spigots, helpfully placed at strategic points around the property. (Mostly near the baseball diamonds and pavilions.) While all are ringed with gravel (boo!), there’s one special fountain in the back whose base has been carved into a bowl – either intentionally, by some enterprising dog person, or from years of erosion, who knows? Either way, it makes a nice little pool to capture the water so the dogs can take a sip.
On especially hot days, Rennie makes a beeline for this particular field. After I’ve filled the crevice with water – her dancing impatiently around the stream the whole time – she likes to stretch out over the hole to cool off. Her pokey piggy belly fits perfectly into the curve of the ground. Words cannot express how much I love it. Some days I walk her just a little extra hard so she’ll want to go for a dip. The muddy fur? So worth it.
I’ve yet to get decent video of this event, so as an added bonus, I’ve thrown in a picture of her emerging from her mud hole and shaking off. Definitely one of my top ten favorite Rennie action shots.
The first few weeks after we started her exercise regimen, she was terrified: she swam at top speed, balls to the wall, eyes wide open in unadulterated fear. Then she became used to the chore, and started falling asleep with boredom. Some days I have to threaten to dunk her to jar her awake. Such a slacker.
– just like Kaylee’s!