Twelve Little Rennie Things

March 11th, 2016 10:00 am by Kelly Garbato

2016-02-19 - Rennie - 0003 [flickr]

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.

2016-02-18 - Digging With Rennie & Jayne - 0062 [flickr]


 
Twelve Little Rennie Things

  • Her pokey little piggy belly.

    2011-09-11 - Another Afternoon Sunbathing - 0159

    2010-05-26 - Terriers Outside - 0022

    2013-11-16 - Rennie Barking at a Bird - 0004

    She is the baby piglet to Kaylee’s mama sow.

  • The way she climbs up on my pillow in the morning and rubs her piggy fat in my face to wake me up. The sparse, silken hair and baby-soft skin is a bonus.

    2006-05-09 - OrenJunk0005

  • Eyes that look human.

    2013-02-23 - Rennie - 0002

  • The way she doesn’t simply lay on a pillow, but burrows into it. The pillowcase, I mean.

    2014-11-10 - Rennie Burrito - 0001 [flickr]

    2013-01-21 - Cozy Rennie - 0002

  • Frog legs!

    2011-08-27 - Rennie Frog Legs - 0005

  • The girl likes to get it on.

    2005-08-01 - RalphiePeedeeORen-0035

    2006-09-30 - PM-Kaylee&JayneMake5-0308

    2009-03-13 - Dogs Playing - 0010

    Sadly, Ralphie is the only dog short enough for her to mount, and he is entirely too old and too blind for this shit.

  • The sound of her happy pants: ach, ach, ach.

    2007-05-23 - Peedee, O-Ren & Kaylee - 0015

    2013-10-09 - Rennie & Her Ball - 0003

  • That tuft of hair on the end of her tail.

    2011-04-02 - Rennie Macro - 0010

  • BALLS.

    2005-05-04 - DogsChasingSquirrels-0030

    2006-05-24 - Ralphie+Rennie+Peedee-0021

    2008-03-12 - Dogs Outside - 0022

    2007-05-23 - Peedee, O-Ren & Kaylee - 0016

    2011-04-01 - Rennie - 0005

    2013-10-09 - Rennie & Her Ball - 0006

    2011-09-26 - Rennie's Balls - 0006

    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.

  • Wallowing in her mud hole.

    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.

    2013-08-10 - Rennie & Finn at the Park - 0001

    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.

  • How she’s able to seemingly doze off – almost but not quite – while doing her laps in the pool.

    2014-09-20 - Mags & Rennie Swimming - 0024 [flickr]

    2014-09-20 - Mags & Rennie Swimming - 0025 [flickr]

    2014-05-23 - First Swim of the Season - 0003 [flickr]

    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.

  • Now that she’s lost certain teeth, the contours of her lower mouth are all misshapen –

    2015-02-10 - Post-Walk Laziness - 0037 [flickr]

    2014-12-25 - Opening Presents - 0084 [flickr]

    – just like Kaylee’s!

  • ###

    Previous years: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2011 | 2009 | 2008

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    2 Responses to “Twelve Little Rennie Things”

    1. Jeffrey Coolwater Says:

      By some strange coincidence, I just decided to read your Goodreads review of “Getting Grief Right – Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss” by O’Malley in an email update from them. Quite apart from the usual amazingly approachable prose that you always create, I noted with shock Shane’s passing. To say I’m sorry is an understatement. Not that I feel any more badly than I have at the other losses you’ve been subjected to in recent years, but somehow I was a little relieved that through all the heartbreak of Ralphie’s and Kaylee’s and Peedee’s and Jayne’s passing, at least you and Shane could lean on each other.

      I’d noticed I had not seen anything of yours for quite some months and wondered from time to time, whether my meager comment offerings on Flickr or Facebook were to blame for your lack of response or whether your fourth heartbreak had pushed you into a state of depression (something I’ve wondered about myself since little Michael’s and Jennie’s passing). I did not know you’d been dealt yet another very heavy blow. It may be of little help coming from the likes of me, a relative nothing in the ether of the internet, but since I first fell in love with all of your fur babies (and the holiday photo shoots) and all those eclectic pizza pics (and observed Shane’s soft side in numerous glimpses), I have always also admired your voracious reading habit and I think it is a testament to how touching and humble is your ability to communicate in writing.

      May your stories continue to pour forth. They may be helping you. They most certainly are keeping the memory of those others near and dear alive. And they are there to maybe help others of similar experience.

      Please accept my sincere condolences, Kelly, at Shane’s passing and my continued love to Rennie, Mags Finnick and Lemmy too, and fond remembrances of dear Ralphie, Kaylee, Peedee and Jayne always.

    2. Kelly Garbato Says:

      I was wondering how many of my internet friends would actually spot that. I’ve been meaning to make an official announcement (grieving in the age of Facebook, indeed) for a few months now, but just haven’t been able to summon the time, energy, or emotional fortitude. It’s six months on and I’m just now going through my thousands of photos, copying pictures of Shane to send to his family and friends.

      Thanks for all your kinds words, Jeffrey – in the past as well as today. I’m sorry if my general unresponsiveness ever felt personal or like it was your fault. (I owe a ton of people similar apologies, fwiw.) I’ve had a lot of trouble coping (an understatement of epic proportions), for reasons both obvious and not so much. Some I’ll write about, probably; others maybe not.

      Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I’m here, I hear you, and I appreciate it.

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