Monday, December 18, 2006

Spelling Kabbage with a K

This is why I spell Kabbage with a K. This is the "real" Kabbage, aka "Fluffy." Since I don't know exactly when her birthday is, although it probably was December or January, since they told me she was 8 months old at the shelter from whence she came, I celebrate it on the Solstice. This year, she turns 11.

Why do I call this dog Kabbage? Her real name begins with a K, and occasionally I've gotten a little frustrated with her. At that point, she comes "K___-you-bitch" which slurs into "K__-yuh-bidge" and eventually the polite company-usable Kabbage.

She has many other names and has a number of titles on the end of her name, but her real title is "best girl." I knew getting a dog would change my life, but I didn't know it would change my perceived values, too.

Before I got Fluffy, no dog would ever sleep on the bed or get on the furniture. That held for a while. Then I decided that since she hadn't yet started ruling the house, she could be on the bed while I read at night, but she would have to get off when I turned out the light. Then we started traveling for agility trials. Fluffy is true to her breed when it comes to guardian instincts. She didn't approve of other people walking past our low-end motel room when we were trying to sleep and let them know. She got moved up to the top of the bed so I could easily grab her to stop the 2a.m. barking. Since she was sleeping on the bed when we traveled, why not at home? Now she must wait for permission to jump on the bed, but she can sleep there once she's invited.

While arguably I saved Fluffy's life (as cute as she is/was, I'm sure someone else would've adopted her if I hadn't), I know she has saved mine once and possibly twice. I adopted Ms Fluff because I was in a relationship that made me feel truly loved, so I felt I had enough extra love to add another life to mine, in terms of this dog. When the relationship ended, I was devastated. For days, I dragged myself to work only to come home afterward and curl up in the fetal position on the living room floor. Poor Fluff was quite young at this time and didn't really know how to handle my distress. She just pressed herself as hard as she could against my back, letting me know I always had someone there for me. Every once in a while, she'd get a squeaky toy to offer me, because a good squeaky can help a lot of problems. If I didn't respond to the squeaky, she'd go back to curling up with me. I was in so much pain, I think I would've tried some drastic methods to stop the pain. The thing was, I had to find a way out of the pain that wouldn't lead to Fluff going back to the pound. That ruled out the lethal "cures." And in the meantime, I had to let her out of the house, feed her, and generally take care of her. I got on with my life, putting the relationship behind me.

A few years later, Fluff and I were on our way home from agility class when a car behind us started blinking its lights and motioning me over. Eventually, I pulled over, although I retained enough common sense to have the doors locked and the window barely cracked. The driver asked for my license. I countered by asking for his ID. He flashed something I couldn't see clearly. Fluff, by now, was bored with the car being motionless. She announced her displeasure with a few sharp barks. Instantly, the man spun on his heel, got into his car, and drove off in the other direction. Good girl, Fluffy!

I do love my little dog. You'll read more about her, I'm sure.


PPB said...

she sounds like a very. noble. dog.

joy said...

Wow. I'm still waiting for the time I can afford a dog- space and money wise [apt. doesn't allow pets :(]

I love the history behind her names and your blog.

kabbage said...

she's too funny to be what I think of as noble. Her sister can look the noble part, but Fluffy mostly looks happy and ready to go. Except when I'm not ready to go and she puts the "hanging judge" face on to encourage me to move.

kabbage said...

dogs are more time-intensive than they are space-intensive, esp. if you get a grown dog who's done with most of the adolescent zoomies. Expect to spend at least 2 hours a day dedicated to the dog if you get one like Fluff who needs mental as well as physical exercise and quality emotional time with her mum.