I grew up in a home filled with things. This is not important except to say that one of the many things my mother collected was animals. There was Mop-It the dog that looked like a mop, Bark E. Lee who got his name because he never stopped barking, and Grandpa the really large lop-eared rabbit. There were three other rabbits I don't remember the name of, several turtles, numerous fish, numerous cats, a cockatiel
name Damian and of course princess, the cat who ruled the neighborhood.
Out of literally hundreds of animals, I've only been close to a few. Princess was the first, but even though we called her my cat, she was really my mother's cat. The two of them would sit on the couch eating cheese corn and watch late night T.V.. They were two peas in a pod. Had I grown up in the age of Youtube, they would have been the source of many quirky pet videos.
The pea in my pod was Mindy. She was mixed with everything and then some. She had the long body of a Dachshund but she was too tall. She smelled like a hound and she had this red stripe down her back that would stand on end. She was very territorial and even among my family, whom she loved, she'd defend me to death. I was her person.
I first met her when she was the property of a young couple. They had adopted her from the animal shelter. She did not like them very much-- people can force themselves on pets when their temperaments are not compatible. I'm not saying they were bad to Mindy. They were very good to her. She just didn't like them and to be fair, Mindy didn't like most people.
Much to the couples surprise, their dog didn't try to bite me, but hopped right into my lap. They let me take her for a walk and our relationship was cemented. After they took Mindy home, I said to my Mom that she was going to be my dog.
The next day, Mindy showed up on our door step. And the next. And the next. Every time the couple took her home, Mindy came back. Still, they were determined that she was their dog.
Finally, their war came to a head, when Mindy chewed everything in their camper. And by everything, I mean if it wasn't nailed down it was shredded. And if it was nailed down, Mindy had put in her best effort.
They showed up with Mindy and ribbon around her neck. "She's your dog, by her choice."
In the years I had her, she never once chewed a hole in anything. Her biggest vice was wheedling her way into my bed every night... and threatening to chew anyone who looked at me sideways a new asshole.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018