When I met the woman who would become my wife, she had a dog. A long-haired dachsund named Peanut. After we moved in together, we started talking about getting another dog. I think it was me that came up with the idea of a cocker spaniel.
When I was a kid, we had a cocker spaniel named Christy. She died when I was still pretty young so I don’t have much of a memory of her. In family lore Christy was the best dog, the best pet, a family could hope for. She apparently let my brother teeth on her nose. She was mellow and happy and a great companion and pet for a young, growing family.
I wanted a Christy.
My future wife and I lived in an apartment where we weren’t supposed to get another dog. We did anyway, but knowing we couldn’t stay there with two dogs forever, we soon rented a house — the better for our little doggies to have room to roam and run. We doggie-proofed the backyard to make sure there was no way our exuberant little puppy couldn’t escape. The only problem was that the cocker spaniel still found a way.
I was in law school at the time and had odd hours. Typically I was the first home, somewhere around the middle of the afternoon. Twice, I came home to find our little cocker spaniel fur ball missing. So imagine my embarrassment when I had to run up and down our street yelling her name. Keep in mind that we had just moved in and nobody really knew me.
You see, when we found the dog we wanted, it was a black cocker spaniel puppy. We had to wait a couple of weeks to get her and we did what all new dog owners (or parents expecting a newborn baby) do. We discussed a name.
My wife came up with all sorts of names consistent with her coloring. Midnight. Blackie (not sure how that would work in a politically correct world). And a few other names. Like April. With each name she threw out, I would object. All too predictable. Too cute.
Finally, she jokingly threw out a name and I jumped on it and that was it. We agreed. My wife has the patience and understanding of a saint.
Yes. Because of my foolish sense of humor and sarcasm, I was the one running up and down the street yelling for my black cocker spaniel puppy. “Snowball, where are you? Snowball, come here?”
The good thing is that both times, there were neighbors who found her and kept her until I came running along. And Snowball lived a long, glorious life for 17 or 18 years. And she was a great dog. I didn’t mind the embarrassment that came with having to yell “Snowball” after her whenever she got loose. She was worth it.