Thursday, January 6, 2011

Introducing my babies

As they are often the subject of my status updates on Facebook, and I speak of them regularly, I suppose now is as good a time as any to introduce you to my babies.

This is my beloved Virgil Joshua. While some believe he was named after Virg Bernero, that is not quite accurate. My friend Val Lea went with me to get Virgil from a breeder in Owosso. He was the only one in the entire litter who did not come out when we were looking. He had to be removed from the nesting box in the pen he was in. I picked him up and it was instant love. So on the drive back to Lansing, Val and I were trying names on him. I wanted to make sure that his name was as important as his soon to be brother's was. At home I had a beautiful, sweet pitbull mix named Windsor Titus Turing. Windsor, from the Merry Wives of Windsor, Titus from Titus Andronicus and Turing from the gay math whiz who helped break the Nazi Enigma code, and thus helped win World War II. Val said how about Virgil? I promptly thought of Virgil the poet. She, of course, was thinking about State Sen. Virgil Bernero whom we had all come to respect a great deal. Without asking her which Virgil she meant, the name was an instant stick. I attached the name Joshua because it sounds right, and also because it is a potent Biblical name. Thus was Virgil Joshua named.

And this my beloved Gypsy. Her full name is Gypsianna Rose. She came to live with me in May 2003, when I was managing the Cascades Humane Society in Jackson. At the time, she was coming to live with me only on a temporary fostering basis. I brought her home in a carrier, and brought her in the living room. I set the carrier down, and Windsor and Virgil were of course eager to see what was in the carrier and were sniffing around. I opened the door, and she flew out of the carrier and promptly kicked the hell out of both of them. From that moment on, Gypsy was at home. While her full history is unknown, here is what I do know about her life before moving here to Lansing with me. She was tossed, in a carrier, onto the front lawn of one of the board members of the CHS. From there she placed in home after home, each time being returned for behavior issues. She was a dominate aggressive dog and smarter than most dogs. She was generally bored in the homes she was in, and the families who adopted her generally had no idea how to deal with a dog that was incredible smart and incredibly dominate. Such dogs require a job. In my home, she made keeping the boys in check her job. And she continues to do that to this day with Virgil. She has slowly grown more affectionate and attention seeking over the years. It was not until 2007 or so that she began meeting me at the door with a wagging tail, and in 2010 she started letting people into the house without biting them. It was also in 2010 that she began starting the morning by crawling up my chest to very gently, almost tentatively actually, place a few simple kisses on my nose. Then she rises and is ready to go out.

Virgil teaches me to not take myself too seriously and to remember to play. Gypsy has taught me the power of transformative unconditional love.

These are my babies and I am pleased to share them with you.

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