It is a well known fact that the ratio of dependents to adults directly correlates with just how crazy said adults are. Captain Laser Pants and I have a baby and three high energy dogs- we are officially crazy beast keepers. If we had two Golden Retrievers or Basset Hounds, our life would be much, much calmer. Instead, we have a baby who moves constantly and three dogs that don’t rest until their batteries are fully drained.
This is Lenny. His official name is Leonard Lewis. He is a Beagle- Corgi mix. Somehow one of the smartest breeds jumped out of math class and mixed up with one of the, ahem, “most stubborn” (that is code for dumbest) breeds, and -tada!- we have Len. He is absolutely cute and takes FOREVER to warm up to people. Lenny is the oldest and smallest, weighing in at 35 lbs. He is vocal like a Beagle, long and midgety like a Corgi, and has personality for days. He does the cutest crawling/ bounding/ head tossing like a pony action when he’s excited. Captain Laser Pants told me a story about Len when he was about six months old- he pulled a chair out from the table, jumped on the chair, jumped on the table, and then ate dad’s wallet. Considering his legs are like, three inches long, that’s pretty awesome. Seriously, he’s our little Lou, and he’s presh.
This is Jovee. Her name is taken from the word “jovial”, and believe me, she is the happiest dog ever. She is also the most energetic. She is an Australian Cattle Dog mixed with a Greyhound- too energetic for her own good, and ridiculously fast. If she gets out of the house, we are hard pressed to catch her. When she’s not mauling her brothers, she is chewing eagerly on her tennis ball, staring intently at her tennis ball, or inventing games with her tennis ball (she buries it in blankets and then “digs” it up). She potty trained in a week, and learned to ring a bell to go outside within a few days. Jovee Bean can often look like Ed from the Lion King. People have asked me if she was a “deer” (yes, a deer. Seriously!), a “dingo” (because it’s totally legal to have Australian wild dogs as pets in the US), and “the kind of dog that eats other dogs” (there are cannibal breeds as domestic pets?!). Aside from not looking particularly dog-like, she is an awesome running partner. She is the sweetest/ craziest animal I’ve ever, ever met.
Let me introduce you to Gambit. If he could speak, he would sound like Antonio Banderas. He is a Basenji- Lab mix (Basenjis are African barkless hunting dogs). He whinnies and yodels, but doesn’t bark. He can put on a pair of shorts by himself, loves to wear scarfs, and is a very, very prancy boy. His nicknames include: Prance, Gambo, Bambo, Bambit, a curse word that sounds eerily similar to his name, and Prance Pants. He is usually found laying on someone (read: anyone) or acting as Jovee’s chew toy. His singular mission in life is the pursuit of food. He is infamous for his ability to jump onto counters to retrieve brownies, cake, pie- you name it, he’s eaten it off the counter. He is the reason our house has baby gates. As a street puppy, he must have hunted for his food, because he loves to stalk squirrels. One night in Minneapolis he got out, and a few minutes later, came back with a plum. He has launched himself out of the car window on two separate occasions, eaten glass from baking dishes after knocking them off counters, eaten pounds of chocolate fudge, and lived to tell the tale. Or tail.
When I was pregnant we had predicted that Jovee would be the most protective of the baby, Lenny would be the dog most likely to bite the baby, and Gambit would be ambivalent. After mini Gwinn came home from the hospital, Lenny was the first to receive him into the pack. Gambit, as we predicted, was totally ambivalent, and Jovee was quite unsure of the new bundle. Now that we’ve had the little dude around for six months, Lenny and Jovee fawn over the baby. Lenny is incredibly protective of him, and goes so far as to mean mug or growl at newcomers holding the kid. Jovee alerts me when he’s crying (“Um, mom, I know you’re in the shower. But he’s crying, and I can’t get in his crib. Please help.”), poking her head into the shower of death to risk her life for the baby. Gambit is slowly warming up to him, sniffing and licking on occasion, and “keeping him warm” by laying close to him. They all let mini Gwinn pet them, to varying degrees.
So, in the zombie apocalypse, my bet is that Gambit will be the one with whom to hunt- we will just have to take the food from him before he eats it all himself. Jovee will be the one with whom to run through the rubble of the cities, and Lenny will be the alert dog (although Jovee would be the one to actually kill zombies). In my Mad Max mental image, we’re all decked out in torn, post- apocalyptic clothing, the dogs have gunner turrets on them, and mini Gwinn is wearing a bullet belt in the style of Rambo. After saving a pocket of barely surviving humans from destruction, we’ll hop into our family-sized SUV and ride off into the sunset, dog faces hanging out the windows in bliss.
People told us that our dogs would take a “back seat” once the baby was born. In some ways, yes, they don’t have the same amount of attention as they did when it was just the five of us. But, instead of losing our love for them, we’ve really just made room in our hearts (and our bed). CLP still walks them almost every day, we take family walks, we play outside together, and they are still our constant companions on the couch after the little duderino has gone to bed. They’ll be in our Christmas family cards and our family photo albums. Crazy beast keepers or not, we love our dogs.