My introduction to Adam, a scrappy little puppy, white, fluffy coated, pug-nosed Shih Tzu, was sudden, thrust upon me be my then wife. We had agreed not to get pets without consulting each other. "But, he was sooooo cute, and Sarah (our not quite one-year old) just loves him," she said. "And he only cost $600!" "What!?!" I exclaimed. She quickly retorted that it was an investment. We could breed him because he was pure and had papers.
A week later, she had poor ole' Adam fixed…so much for my Shih Tzu Ranch Empire.
Maybe that's when I started to feel empathetic to the little guy…and him toward me. We bonded together, as only dog and man can. The roles completely reversed. I became his hero, and my wife turned on him, a foreboding sign in our marriage.
When my wife and I split, the only thing she left me without litigation was my new fast friend, Adam.
And fast he was.
Living on a golf course, Adam and I would venture out on the cart, me driving and he riding shotgun. The pup would dive off at first sight of squirrel, bird, rabbit, or other dogs.
He especially liked chasing a huge Irish setter.
One time the red dog decided he had enough. Adam and Red got into a fur flying, teeth gnashing, brawl. I threatened the red dog with my wedge. He backed off. It was a good thing because I was under clubbed.
The lead dog must face the cold wind first…
Turns out, Adam was an adventurous lad, determined to find out what the world was like.
He disappeared for a month. I missed my old friend and was worried he was eaten by a pesky poodle or a small hawk. The ad I put in the paper proved fruitful. Farmers about five miles away called and said they had a scruffy white dog outside their back door barking up a storm.
As I pulled up their driveway, I marveled at how far my little puppy had traveled. Adam was marched out, emaciated and dirty, a torn bandana around his neck. I told his saviors that he looked like a pirate. Then they revealed that he was seen by them and others leading a pack of wild dogs. I asked, "Are you sure he wasn't being chased for lunch or as an appetizer?" They replied, "Nope." He'd been spotted leading the same pack of dogs for a couple of weeks. One day it appears he'd had sowed enough of the wild tribe and began barking at their door leaving his vassals rudderless.
When Adam saw me, his head sank and he slowly walked back to my car as if to say, "BUSTED!!!"
Just when the world is in the palms of your hands, your nose begins to itch
Several years passed. They were happier years. Adam seemed content with his routine of chasing critters both on and off the golf course and snuggling with me at night.
Then he disappeared again.
I was co-hosting a local morning TV show, and flashed Adam's picture on camera. That day I got a call from people that lived in a subdivision about a half mile away.
This time Adam played it smart. He cased the 'hood and found just the situation he was looking for. He barked his way into the hearts and home of three little girls. He spent the next two weeks getting the spa treatment, baths at least once a day, hair trimmed, brushed and curled, doggie pedicures, and curls buffeted by ribbons all over his petite, once manly, torn pirate scarfed little body. The biggest cut of all was the girls renamed him…"Popcorn." They had given him a doggie makeover or as I referred to it later; they pimped my dog.
Okay, I was a little jealous.
Adam, AKA Popcorn, seemed so happy that I offered him to the girl's dad and mom. They said they were moving and couldn't take him. Relieved, I lead Adam to the car. He looked back at the spa in remorse. I opened the door and said, "Nice to have you back…Popcorn."
Now that I'm happily married, Adam is still my best friend. My wife Joni brought a white Westie named Bennie, to the marriage. About a month ago she purchased a black maltese/shitzu combo named Ralphie.
As Adam has aged, he no longer chases critters when riding in the cart. But he maintains his stature in our house like the calm old leader he is, almost churchillian in his presence. The other dogs show their respect with head nips and sniffs.
Adam, almost 90 in human years has lived an adventurous and at times risky life.
When the inevitable occurs my one prayer upon his unlikely reincarnation is this:
Don't come back as a pesky poodle.