Family takes many forms.
I first met George on February 10th, 2005 in the pet shop. I didn’t plan on taking a puppy home that night, but I guess it was fate. He was the runt, according to the shop owner, and all his brothers and sisters were gone, adopted into new families of their own.
They said his breed was a Min-Shi, a miniature pinscher, Shih Tzu mix. I’ve never heard of that breed … I think they made it up so they could charge $200 for a mutt. My brother said he was a Shit-Pinscher, which I thought was hilarious … I wish I had thought of it. He only weighed three pounds, and the way he looked at me and curled up into my arms melted my heart. I can still see his face looking up at me on the drive home. He seemed to have a mix of fear, not of me but of this new adventure, and wonder at this creature whose lap he was sitting on.
I wanted to name him Ringo, but my daughter said he looks like a George, and she was right … it fit perfectly. She fell in love with him on the spot, and I did as well.
George likes to play the games that dogs play. He loves to chase his favorite ball down the hall and plays keep away with me. He also loves to chase a frisbee in the yard. I have a soft, flexible frisbee that I throw on the ground so it rolls on its edge, and he will run as hard as he can to grab it before it stops turning and falls over in the grass.
He’s very smart also … he learned to sit, lay down, roll over, high five, and a game I call bang bang, in which I point my finger at him like a gun and say bang bang and he falls over on his side like he’s been shot. It seems like he learned them all in a day. I don’t remember trying to teach him over and over … he just seemed to instinctively know what I was saying and he did it.
He has his own blanket that he loves to chew on. He’s been through several of them, as they get ripped to shreds over time. When it’s bedtime, he’s usually ahead of me and on the bed by the time I get to the bedroom. I’ll say “George, get your blanket,” and he’ll run out to the living room and grab his blanket and bring it to bed.
He loves to be warm, whether it’s laying in front of the register when the furnace is on, burrowing under the covers in bed, or even jumping into the dryer when I open it to get the warm clothes out.
Lately, I’ve noticed he’s been slowing down a little, having a harder time jumping up on the bed, napping more. That makes me a little sad, mostly because I think about the day that he won’t be here to keep me company anymore. I’m choking up a little right now as I write this just thinking about it, but he still has the heart of a puppy and is ready to play at the drop of a ball, or toss of a frisbee.
George has been with me for over eleven years. I always say he’s the son I never had and it’s true; I love him like he’s my child. I’ve been single for most of my adult life, so he is my companion day and night. He is such good company and he makes me laugh every day … who could ask for more?
Photo: Dennis Thiel
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