Mimi is pregnant, or as Deana often says, “preggers”. Nonetheless, she will soon become a Maloney. The plan is that she will move to the Maloney household sometime in early May after giving birth. When she moves, however, her newborns will not come with her. To be blunt about it, we do not want them to join our family. Just yesterday, Deana called the midwife and found that Mimi had given birth to a male and a female a few days ago. Mother and offspring are doing fine. Thus after a little time with the newborns Mimi will leave them and come to live with us a few weeks after Easter. Mimi Maloney is the new dog that we have finally decided to join our household.
For about a year Deana has been campaigning that we get a dog. She is constantly reminding me that she really enjoyed having animals around the house in her early youth and later in life when she was rearing her two children. I, of course, have never had a dog except for the few days when the Maloney household had Finnegan. Never having had a household dog, I was not enthusiastic about letting an animal into my life or let alone into my home. Deana, however, keeps reminding me that I enjoy playing with “Sweet Tart”, or “Poochie” as I call her, the Labrador that Deana’s son in Dallas has. I keep reminding her that it is different to play with an animal for a few minutes each day as opposed to the responsibility of permanently taking care of one in your home.
On a trip to New York for Jimmy Maloney’s wedding Deana spotted a lady walking a dog in front of the Plaza Hotel. She was attracted to the dog and learned that the animal was a Lakeland terrier. Upon returning to Virginia, Deana researched the Internet and found that a Lakeland breeder was in the greater Williamsburg area. Soon after, we attended a local dog show and met the breeder. Since then Deana has periodically remained in contact with her while simultaneously working on me about the benefits of acquiring a pet. Deana never accepted my suggestion of using the computer dog that I somehow obtained with some software program I had purchased. While never positively against the idea I was always reluctant to get involved in house training some animal. When Deana learned from the breeder that we could acquire a housebroken 18-month-old Lakeland, I did agree to go see the animal. Deana told me that if we acquired an older animal we would not be confronted with the responsibility of house breaking her.
The breeder lives about 10 miles outside Williamsburg. Although Williamsburg is not a large city, a short 15-minute ride outside of Williamsburg, off the main roads, finds you traveling in an undeveloped rural landscape with basic farmland. Although only about 10 miles out of the town with its modern trappings, the area looks like it probably did 100 years ago, except for a paved narrow road. We drove in the direction that the lady told us and found ourselves driving on a narrow two-lane road looking for an unpaved dirt road cutoff. To spot this dirt track and prevent us from over shooting the mark, we had to travel about 15 miles an hour. Luckily, no one drove behind us. I wished that some slow moving farmer’s tractor were in front of us so that I would have an excuse to drive slowly. There was no way to make a U turn if we would have driven past the turnoff. Fortunately, we sighted the road with a primitive hand painted road sign and we slowly turned left into a muddy one lane road. I hoped no one was coming the other way as even today I have trouble backing up. .
We drove down the one lane muddy road, which except for the recent rains would have been a dusty road, for about 300 yards when we spotted another hand painted sign that stated “Lakeland Lane”. From this muddy road, we could see a rust red sprawling farmhouse complex that was obviously our destination. The rambling complex was typical of a classical all American rural farm since the buildings were virtually surrounded by about six or seven old automobiles in various conditions of repair. We could see some horses and numerous dogs in an area another 100 feet or some from the house. We knocked on the door and a voice answered for us to enter. We did so and I gave Deana an odd look as soon as we crossed the door. The house was a mess with the deteriorating exterior looking luxurious compared to the interior. The room was filled with a pool table that was littered with old clothes and other items that looked like trash to me. The pool table was so loaded with debris that I was not sure whether the pool table surface was green. I thought that I had entered the famous New York City Collier mansion. This was worse than the Pakistani apartment I visited in Saudi
The lady that had invited us in was in another room with a man and a very large dog. She said that that she would soon be with us, after she finished some business. The woman was wearing an exotic costume of jodhpurs, Japanese one-toed socks and large Japanese sandals. Soon two little dogs charged at us barking and snipping at our heels and generally acting as if they were obsessed. I tried to make eye contact with Deana to give up on this mission, but she wisely didn’t make eye contact with me. Instead, she started to pet the barking, snipping dogs. The large dog in the other room soon joined us and soon three dogs were running wildly around the room, barking all the time. There were so many obstacles on the floor that I found it amazing that the animals could find a pathway to run around so. Nevertheless, they scampered as if it was a dog track. Forgetting about some subtle eye contact, I whispered to Deana that if the dogs for sale acted like these three, I was not interested in any dog. Deana quietly asked me to be patient. In the meanwhile, she was bending over and caressing the three dogs, talking baby talk to them. I looked for a hole to drop in, but there was too much trash in the room. I decided to make the best of a bad situation.
The woman finished her business. She was renting an apartment on her farm and we learned that the renter had also never had a dog although he was petting and baby talking the large animal. I guess he thought that rent would be cheaper if he buttered up the landlady by talking to the dog. The woman put the two frisky small dogs in cages in the pool table room, and further explained that they were two recent pups not yet housebroken. She had over 15 dogs and several jumping horses. She apologized for the messy conditions and stated that the room was in turmoil because she was preparing to leave for the Westminster Dog Show in New York the following week. I thought she must have been preparing for a long time. Deana asked some questions about dogs and the lady very enthusiastically responded. To my untrained ears, she obviously cared for and seemed to know about dogs. She said that she had two Lakelands for sale that we could see and would bring them in one at a time. She left us in the house and went to the dog kennels to bring in an animal. Deana and I started to look at the pictures on the wall since there was so much junk on the chairs and sofa that we couldn’t sit anywhere. The pictures were all of dogs; many of them with ribbons that they had apparently earned at various dog shows. The pictures of the well-dressed lady and her prize-winning dogs were in stark contrast to the home’s furnishings and her odd attire.
Through the window, we spotted the lady carrying a dog in her arms on a muddy path from the kennel. I realized then why she wore the heavy sandals. I immediately thought of the comical movie, “Best of Show” and wondered again what I was getting in to. The breeder introduced us to the dog named Iris. Iris barked once at us and was quiet. Iris did some begging tricks by standing on two feet while her mistress offered her dog treats. Iris was also very docile and didn’t run around like a crazy animal. Both Deana and I petted the dog, although I didn’t baby talk to her like Deana did. Frankly, Iris’ behavior was such an infinite improvement over the two small dogs we initially encountered I was encouraged. The breeder did tell us that Iris didn’t get along too well with other dogs and that we would have to watch her closely when she encountered other animals. She also vehemently chased rabbits. The latter two characteristics somewhat dampened my rising enthusiasm. I didn’t picture myself chasing Iris over the golf course while Iris chased our numerous rabbits. I am getting too old to get a mean dog, no matter how nice she looked. I also like our rabbits.
The breeder returned Iris to the kennel area and returned carrying the pregnant Mimi in her arms. Mimi was slightly more active than Iris, barked twice at us, but Deana immediately bonded with Mimi. She, Mimi, not Deana, didn’t misbehave and run around the room. Deana encouraged me to pick her up and I did so. She wasn’t heavy despite her pregnancy nor did she squirm to get away from me. Was it possible that Mimi was seducing me while seeking a permanent home? The breeder explained that Mimi had a poor shaped jaw that prevented her from competing in shows, but was otherwise show dog quality. I searched, but even with my newly acquired knowledge of dogs, I was unable to identify the failings in her jaw. The breeder and Deana talked about the dog with Deana asking numerous questions on her care and feeding. I also asked some questions, but can’t remember what they were as I was busy scratching Mimi. All the time Mimi gazed up at me and was generally extremely well behaved. We were with her for slightly less than an hour.
The breeder’s sister soon arrived with a Lakeland terrier on a leash. She identified the dog as Dudley. Dudley was set to enter the Westminster Show in New York the following week. Dudley was well groomed and very well behaved while Mimi was not as well groomed having just come in from the muddy farm kennel. Dudley and Mimi behaved well together and I wondered how the supposedly ill behaved Iris would have behaved. Actually to my untrained eye Mimi looked as good as Dudley except that she needed a combing. I somehow resented Dudley’s showing Mimi up, but didn’t express my opinion. I didn’t want Mimi to know that her jaw line was not perfect nor her hair uncombed. She might have been unaware of it, but why emphasize it? . Just before leaving, Deana told the lady that we were interested in acquiring Mimi.
On the ride home through the farmlands, we discussed whether we should have Mimi become a member of our household. I knew that Deana had her mind set on a dog and at least Mimi made a positive impression on me, so I agreed to try it. The breeder had told us that if within a reasonable time Mimi did not work out, she would take her back. The following week we went to some pet stores and learned about doghouses, food, leashes and various necessities required to maintain a housedog. I also checked the Westminster Kennel show results to see how Dudley did. He didn’t make best of breed, good jaw and all. Actually, the papers did not mention him. I did read that over a thousand dogs competed so this in itself wasn’t a bad omen. I’m sure Mimi would not have finished in last place. . As I write this Deana and I are just sitting around waiting for early May to bring Mimi home. We plan to visit her in mid April. We have not decided, however, who will be responsible for walking Mimi. I have a feeling that I will inherit that responsibility, but as I write this now it may not be much of a chore. I hope no one notices her jaw line.