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With the death of The Pig, L’il Sis (and I, for that matter) has been devastated and lonely. Going home to an empty apartment (with all due respect to her Java Rice bird) was getting her down. And she missed The Pig’s warm body and snoring at night.

She has been trolling the rescue dog sites and came upon the perfect dog to fill the void left by The Pig. And so it was that, last weekend, we drove to pick up the new family member. He is a rescue from the Dominican Republic. He is, wait for it, a bassett-dachshund cross. And yes, I too am wondering just how the mechanics of that mix worked. Either way you figure it, someone was assaulted.

He is a cute little thing — brownish red, the same color as L’il Sis’ hair (at the moment and until her next salon appointment). His front legs turn out slightly, just like a basset’s. The paws are large, again like the basset’s. His snout and long body are from the dachshund and his tail a combination — it’s long, perky, and wags a lot… like The Pig’s. One of his ears is flappy; the other is broken. A neighbor suggested we name him ‘Evander’ since the ear looks as though it has been the victim of someone’s teeth.

He is a friendly, kissy, hugging dog and took immediately to L’il Sis. He took to me as well — but the relationship was cemented yesterday when he came to my house and I treated him to some salmon and chicken. L’il Sis had offered him some ‘delicious’ (her description, not mine) tempe, but he ate it begrudgingly. In contrast, he wolfed down the real meat. He’s a man after my own heart!

We took the dog across the road so he and the neighbor dog could meet and play. They spent at least 30 minutes playing and racing each other around the yard, a sight to behold as they joyfully trounced through the forget-me-nots that were in full bloom, ran beneath trees, and fell in the fish pond. Well, actually the new dog was the only one to fall in. But his reflexes were fast — he jumped out as quickly as he landed in it (to the surprise of the fish!).

So, about his name. Since he came from the Dominican Republic, he had a Spanish name: Gaucho. He was called ‘Guac’ for short (as in guacamole…which makes no sense, but when did dog names ever make sense?) L’il Sis decided that she’d change the name ever so slightly to ‘Groucho’, for Groucho Marx, the great comedian. This dog, after he fell in the pond, had already proven his penchant for all things comical and deserved a fitting name. Plus, L’il Sis already had his Hallowe’en costume figured out. With the proper mustache, large eyebrows and cigar (she hadn’t figured out how she’d get a cigar in his mouth, but there was still time), he’d be a dead ringer for Marx.

But before we jumped in the car to get him, she told me she’d changed his name again — naming him after a well-known Latin musician. Well-known to everyone but me, that is. Fine, he was going to be HER dog. I will not tell you the name, dear readers. I have become somewhat paranoid about revealing too much information in a public forum. I wouldn’t want him to be hurt or kidnapped (although, if I’m being frank, he looks so funny with his broken ear and bent front leg, I doubt he’d be much of a target). So for purposes of this blog, he will be known as Groucho. He could do worse…

True to form, L’il Sis felt it necessary to make up a ‘back story’ to explain Groucho’s history. She, with the help of Other Brother, came up with the following: Groucho had been a law enforcement officer, working under cover to track down members of the Mexican drug cartels. (Li’s Sis never was that good at geography and when I pointed out that The Dominican Republic was NOT Mexico, she threw her hands up and said, “Doesn’t matter! Do you want to hear the story or not?” His undercover name was Officer Scraps. His sidekick was Lieutenant Tubs. Together, they had been in a gun battle with members of the cartel. During the fight, Lieutenant Tubs had been killed and        Scraps had been shot in the ear and leg, while trying to protect his partner. After he healed (well, the leg kind of did, albeit it was a bit crooked), he was put into the Witness Protection Plan and sent here to Canada to live out his retirement in comfort. It does make a good story and lends a certain panache to him — something he might not, sorry to say, otherwise have.

Gill was happy to see the new family member via Skype and even happier to discover that he loves the fuzzy white bear that sits on her bed here. As soon as Groucho saw it, he jumped onto the bed, grabbed the bear and started chewing and shaking it around.

“No, Groucho!” I yelled.

Gill yelled back over Skype: “Go, Groucho! Ma, I never liked that stupid bear anyway. It gets in my way. Let the dog have it.” I was crushed at her dig at my decorating aplomb.

Groucho continued, grabbing an old stuffed rabbit, one of Gill’s treasured childhood mementoes. THEN she yelled:”Groucho, that’s mine! Step away from the rabbit!”

So this was a perfect opportunity to establish rules and boundaries for the new pup. Of course, anyone who knows our family knows this too will go out the window the first time he does something really adorable. We admit it: we’re wimps and love nothing more than a good laugh supplied courtesy of our pets.