http://www.one.org Dixie Peach: Bonnie

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bonnie

The Big Finn didn't know that I have a dog. Let's remedy that with an introduction. You can't watch the game if you don't know all the players.

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This is Bonnie. We also call her Bonbon, Little Girl, Schmoops and when she's bad we call her Fräulein (Nicht so, Fräulein!). She's a mixed breed...something or other.

I've always had pets and when I moved to Germany that need to have a pet didn't change. My MIL had a little spitz named Tina but she didn't feel like my pet. Plus Tina was freakishly attached to my MIL.

In 2001 I finally talked B into getting a dog of our own. We wanted one from an animal shelter but small, apartment-sized dogs aren't always easy to come by. Aunt Annoying saw a photo of Bonnie in her local newspaper saying she was up for adoption at a shelter in a nearby town and told us about it and we immediately called for them to hold her until we could get there.

Bonnie was a street dog. She'd been running free in a neighboring village for about three months in the dead of winter before she was picked up and taken to the shelter. She was just the right size for us and all we needed to do was get her, pay her bail and sign some papers.

When my MIL and I got to the animal shelter we saw her in the same open area with much bigger dogs. She was painfully thin, filthy dirty and frankly, not too attractive. She was still quite young - probably just under a year old - and her fur and little Schnauzery beard hadn't filled out yet. And she hardly had a tail. Tail docking and ear clipping isn't normally ever done by vets in Germany so it meant that someone had done it at home themselves or perhaps her tail had become caught somewhere and had been torn off. Either way, it had to be painful and to this day Bonnie is extremely suspicious of anyone coming at her with a comb or scissors or a syringe.

She wasn't very attractive - not my idea of a cuddly pet - but one look into her eyes told me I'd found my dog.

From the beginning Bonnie's been both a joy and a pain in the neck. At first she wasn't too crazy about Tina but Bonnie learned to tolerate her once she figured out that Tina wasn't going anywhere. I figured that being a street dog would make her hard to housebreak but somehow she came to us housebroken. To this day the only time she's ever made a mess inside was when she was terribly sick and simply couldn't help it. Bonnie's a bit of a barker too. She's rather territorial and when she hears another dog bark she can't help but answer. Luckily in our new apartment building she's the only dog so the barking has lessened considerably. Bonnie hates to be bathed - the one time I attempted it she nearly bit my arm off - but we have a fearless groomer who gets her reasonably clean...except under her chin. You can only get so close to those snapping teeth. Pulling ticks off of her has to be done by stealth and taking her to the vet is a nightmare. It's nearly impossible to get a muzzle on her and the vet usually needs two assistants to give Bonnie her shots.

But Bonnie is wonderfully faithful. She's not always very friendly to other dogs but what dogs she does like she adores and she's really crazy about people. Pet her once and she'll remember you always. Give her a treat and she's practically yours.

She's got a few quirks as well. Maybe it's from her days of living on the streets eating anything she could manage to find but she's bad for eating paper. White paper. A stray tissue is like a gourmet meal to her. She's not terribly fond of meat except for poultry - feeding her dog food with beef or liver or lamb is a waste of time. She won't beg for your dinner but if you're eating a piece of cake she wants her share. And what she's really crazy for is rice, pasta, and vegetables like peas or carrots or green beans. I've seen her snub a piece of bratwurst and nearly knock you down to get your green beans.

Bonnie loves to watch TV. She'll sit on the sofa next to you and watch it like she understands it all. We figure that she believes it's a window because sometimes when something rushes by on the screen she'll run to the real window to see if she can see it again. However, having a TV addict dog isn't always so good. She hates to see other dogs on TV and will bark her head off and sometimes there are commercials that she hates for whatever reason - usually she hates the music or there's a dog in the commercial. She could be in another room but if she hears the commercial on TV, she starts to bark.

Over the years Bonnie became a shared pet. It started when my MIL had a summer house with a large fenced yard. My MIL would spend six months of the year there and she'd occasionally take Bonnie for the weekend so she could play all day in the yard. The next year she spent more of the summer there. And when fall came, Tina died.

We never thought that Bonnie would take it so hard - they often ignored one another all day long - but Bonnie missed Tina so much that my MIL had to put pictures of Tina in places where Bonnie couldn't see them because else she'd sit in front of them and whine. My MIL took Tina's death very hard as well. She was used to having someone with her in the mornings and late evenings and having a little dog around kept her from feeling lonesome. At that time we lived in the same apartment building as her and after a few weeks I suggested that Bonnie stay with my MIL overnights and be with us during the day. It worked out wonderfully. My MIL had someone with her and I didn't have to be the one to get up at dawn to walk the dog.

My MIL now lives a few blocks from us but our system still works. Bonnie's over there in the mornings, she comes over to us around noon and my MIL picks her back up in the late afternoon. Bonnie's virtually never alone - we have her during the day when my MIL is often out shopping or hanging out with her friends, and then my MIL has her again in the evenings when she'd normally be lonesome without a little buddy there with her. It also affords my MIL the opportunity to travel. When Tina was alive my MIL could barely go anywhere for more than a few hours because Tina cried constantly but it's completely different with Bonnie. As long as she's with one of us, she's home.

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And you know over the years she's gotten much, much cuter.

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12Comments:

Blogger LeaderOfMyPack said...

I think she is adorable. But I'm a sucker for dogs.

And what a perfect arrangement. I think it is great you and your MIL share Bonnie.

12:22 AM  
Blogger hexe said...

Cute photos. The kids would love a dog but I'm quite happy with the fish for now.

2:15 AM  
Anonymous Mollie said...

I love BonBon. Had the pleasure to meet her face to muzzle 6 years ago.

I did learn some important things about Bon:

1. Watch sitting too close to Bonnie on the sofa after dinner.
2. When she wants to go out- she wants to go out.
3. She adores Kim and Burkie. And her Oma!
4. That face will melt you!

Shops

3:55 AM  
Blogger Twango said...

Bonnie is a cutie. My dog loves green beans and pasta, but he would never choose those over meat. How cute!

Now what I wanna know, is she bilingual?

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Belinda said...

My dog was like that a semi-vegetarian paper eater lol

She loved carrots.

Bonnie is adorable! I want to scrunch her face and smooch lol

I'd love to have a dog right now but the flat is just too small and it wouldnt be fair. Plus, Christian has a slight dog phobia :( We've been working on it because I've told him that when we get a house, there's no way I'm not having a dog. lol

big hugs to all 3 of you!

9:41 AM  
Blogger The Big Finn said...

Nice story. Pooches are characters, aren't they? I miss having a dog around, but I also like the freedom NOT having a dog allows (travel, etc.). I won't let Mrs. TBF read your post because, if she did, I'm fairly certain that we'd be at the animal shelter tomorrow.
I'm sure that we'll eventually get another dog someday, but not while "King da cat" is still alive. He's earned "sole recipient of 100% of our attention" status - at least, when he's awake.

1:24 PM  
Blogger christina said...

She is sooo cute! That's exactly the kind of dog we're looking for. We did find one called Boris and the animal shelter a couple of years back and he looked an awful lot like Bonnie except he was all black. Very schnauzery with something else thrown in there. They told us he was really friendly but that he was absolutely terrified of going to the vet. We hemmed and hawed about that for a few days and when we finally went back, someone else had taken him. Damn. Still looking.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

I have loved Bonnie ever since reading one of the horror stories about having to do some sort of maintenance on her...a vet trip, perhaps? Anyway, she's obviously fallen into a slice of heaven with your family, and I'm happy for all of you!

8:33 PM  
Blogger melusina said...

She is a cutey-pie of a dog, for sure!

And the white paper thing - she totally shares that with one of our cats. Such a weird habit.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

LOL! I often have folks ask if Bonnie is bilingual and I say "Uhhh...no. She's a dog. She doesn't talk.".

I'm so sassy!

No really, she understands commands in both English and German. She probably hears more German than English though - even I usually talk to her in German.

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Zea said...

Dixie! Total cuteness on the Bonnie front. Thank you for sharing that. I had no idea that you shared custody of her with your MIL. What a great arrangemnt.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

You definitely picked out a charmer, Dixie, and I'm so glad for all three of you...well all 4 of you if you count your MIL.

2:19 PM  

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