Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gypsy At Thirteen

Today my dog Gypsy turns 13. I guess. Almost 13 years ago, I decided it was time for me to get a dog. I talked to a couple of the local animal welfare groups before I went hunting. They recommended the local shelter because it was a nightmare and any animal rescued from that hell hole was truly a mitzvah. They gave me one very useful bit of advice. In NJ, shelters are required to hold a dog for 7 days, so if a dog is lost, the owner has a reasonable amount of time to find and claim it. However, they can euthanize it at any time. They suggested if I found a dog I liked and it wasn't available for release that I return daily until it became available so they would be aware that there was a waiting home.

So in late August of 1996, I walked down to the pound. I don't think it was technically a pound, but it surely wasn't a shelter. It wasn't very large. Maybe 100 dogs. I spent about 30 minutes looking, but I didn't find what I was looking for. I really wanted my dog, so I checked them all again. Still nothing. I was going to be living with this animal for a long time and I wasn't going to settle. But I couldn't bring myself to leave. I was standing in the puppy room frozen. And that's when she found me.

I don't know how I missed her. But this apparent shepherd mix in a crate against the wall saw me starting to leave and made her presence known! I still don't know how I missed her! Because she was exactly what I went looking for. I asked if we could remove her from the crate and she was so happy! We played for a few minutes and I said I would take her! I was told she just arrived and they couldn't release her for a week. My heart sank, but I was prepared. OK. Well, I'll be back tomorrow. And for the next week, I woke up early so I could walk back and visit her before I left for work. On one visit, she rolled over and I discovered she had a penis! What? I didn't want a male dog and I was positive she was a female. meh Turned out she had a brother. That was heartbreaking. But I couldn't take two dogs.

Finally, on September 4th, 1996, I woke up early and arrived at the shelter as they were opening and I sprung my dog! I still remember that walk home. I was so happy and so proud and so was she. I think we both almost burst. And so, while I don't know her true birthday, she was right around three months old when I found her. We decided that three months prior to that date would be her birthday. And we celebrate it every year. As we are today.

And here's one of my all-time favorite stories. August 6, 1993. I was on the road with They Might Be Giants. We were in Fox Island, WA for a big radio station sponsored show the next day. (Bremerton's Endfest) I was in my hotel room on a rare night off, catching up on some paperwork and relaxing, when suddenly there came a tapping. It was the road crew. "Hey, Otis! We're going to a strip club! You coming?" Yes. I was coming.

We drove a little ways out of town to a small building tucked off the highway. The Doll House. It looked like it must have been an old sailor bar, barely converted with a small wooden stage. When we walked in, we must have doubled the attendance. And we were all flush with per diems!

So we were pleased to find ring side seating for the evenings entertainment. One lady would take her turn on the stage and the others would mingle while waiting for their turn in the spotlight. One of them took the seat next to mine and introduced herself. She turned out to be a pleasant conversationalist and we chatted most of the night. After a while she confided in me that she was working under an assumed name. "Gypsy's not my real name. My real name is Lisa Marie, but there were already two Lisa Marie's working here, so I had to pick a new name."

And so to you Lisa Marie, wherever you are, SAAAAAAA-LUTE!

And to my little baby girl, my punkin sammich, my #1 #1, happy birthday, sweetie! Your daddy loves you very much!

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