When the Chocolate Labaraner (Weimaraner + Lab) chooses you, who are you to say no? So the day after I finished traveling 39 rings of hell home, I went to the pound with Mariah, our 14-year-old Labmation, for a check-you-out date with the dog who had two weeks ago arrived at our front door. They clicked, and Mariah, who is Ms. Submissive with us, excelled at being the most excellent elder alpha dog. We also had the dog to be formerly known as Dwayne cat-checked, which meant someone paraded him through the cat room to see if he bared his teeth. He didn’t.
After going through over an hour of pet adoption counseling (seriously! and actually a good thing), we drove the older female Labmation and younger male Labaraner home, debating what to rename him. I was sold on Desi Arnaz, Natalie (by cell phone) wanted Peter, Forest wanted none of these names, Ken wanted Shane, and Daniel and Natalie thought Shane was *insert curseword* stupid. Since it was Ken’s 57th birthday, he got final say, and he suggested Shay, which sounds enough like Dwayne so that the dog formerly known as Dwayne responds to it.
Shay is an energetic guy, and for the first day mostly stood next to one of us, making purring sounds in between eating and drinking everything in sight. The second day, he got sick as a dog, and a visit to the vet confirmed kennel cough, an ear infection, and as we and our mop, plus multiple towels, soon discovered, a horrific stomach virus all. night. long. The benefit of being so pathetic that the cats came out of hiding to stare at him from high shelves, changing their “evil-monster-come-to-kill-us” assessment to “you-call-this-a-dog?”
Whatever the cat’s opinion, I call this a dog, and a lively, handsome, smart dog at that. Within a few hours, he walked to the front door and put his mouth on the door knob when he wanted to go out, and after he figured out that obeying “Sit!” got him a treat, he started running to sit before any of us when we were eating. So I think he’s a genius, but most of all — as he sleeps on his dog bed beside me a few feet from where Mariah sleeps on hers — I know he’s our dog. He looks into our eyes as if he’s always known us, which may well be true.