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It was inevitable that L’il Sis would get a new dog. Frankly, I don’t know how The Mom has gone this long without a dog of her own, though she has been making up for this distinctly dog-shaped hole in her life by babysitting, walking, and generally borrowing any dog within a 50km radius. Honestly, I’m surprised she hasn’t been done for dog-thievery.

But never mind, that’s all come to an end now, sort of, because L’il Sis has a new dog– by the name of Tito. Though it’s hard to say. Names of creatures tend to vary, and L’il Sis’s pets in particular tend to have several names: good names, like one’s Sunday best, bad names, for when the pooch has inevitably disgraced itself, its family, and its name, and nicknames for those most familiar with it (which tend to vary depending on the person saying the name).

For my part, I’m terrible with this. I like naming things, or more to the point, giving things, people, creatures a proper title. One of my best friends, the artist, and I communicate exclusively in titles. If you’re not used to it, it takes a bit of adjustment. And it can be quite awkward when introducing someone (it tends to involve rather a lot of decoding and MI5-worthy subterfuge). So proper names are said aloud, and then, upon giving a two-cheek greeting kiss, the title is quickly whispered into an eager ear. You get the hang of it, eventually.

Each member of my family has a tendency towards a particular constitution in a pet. Personally, I tend to go towards goofy, goey ones, with a strong sense of themselves, confident in their place in the world, happy to travel wherever, whenever, with the same level of independence as your average five-year-old. Crazy D likes a perky pet, one who will come to heel when asked, one that takes instruction willingly, and makes itself a welcome guest in all homes. The Mom just wants something hilarious to follow her wherever she goes – for her, a pet, especially a dog, is more of a sidekick, the Robin to her Batman, if you will. And L’il Sis, bless her cotton socks, likes a needy pet. She wants to offer home and hearth to one without, to care for a creature properly, and give it the absolute best in life. She would rather give up something for herself, than see any pet in her care go without anything and everything. Were pets children with packed lunches, she would be the mom who includes (as I so often wished The Mom would in my lunches) a serviette with a smiley face and hearts on it.

Enter Tito, the new dog. Or Groucho. Or whatever he’s called. Suffice it to say this dog will answer to a voice as opposed to a name, especially if he knows what’s good for him as a calling voice in our family usually means someone’s about to get fed.

The new dog appeared on my laptop screen this past week. Held up in full view, meeting his Auntie Gill over the inter webs which is how I communicate with most things. He had, as The Mom describes, a broken ear and a gimpy leg. Which stands to form. He is a touchy feely kind of dog, desperate for cuddles and snuggles, which makes him the ideal companion for L’il Sis as she particularly enjoys sharing a bed with her dogs. In fact, everyone in my family except me likes to sleep with their dog. I have never had a dog of my own – rather a parakeet who was essentially a small child – and though I did, against The Mom’s vehement protests let him sleep in the bed with me once. (It didn’t end too badly, but I don’t think either one of us really enjoyed it.)  He ended up in the little tent beneath the pillows and I awoke early, nervous to find out what had happened to him in the night. The only reason I let him sleep in the bed instead of his ‘submarine’ (his hamster cage) was because he liked to nest under the covers. Anyhow, the idea of sharing the bed with something that smells worse than I do, who has worse breath than I do, and whose farts are… well, not worse than mine, but certainly on a par, is just counter-intuitive. Besides which, from what I understand, the minute you invite the dog into your bed, the bed is no longer yours. I am not sleeping on the couch because the dog got into bed first.

However, I am very excited to meet this new dog upon my return home this summer. I am certain by then we will have gotten the full measure of his quirks. And I’m looking forward to having a four-legged friend with whom I can share my dinner.

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