Archie Dreams

I’ve been sitting inside, at our kitchen table, all day today, finishing a project for work. Archie’s been lying next to me, curled up in his dog bed, the one he’s prodded and pawed into the perfect nest for a rescue poodle. My family never had a dog when I was growing up — or a cat either for that matter, just two goldfish in 1978 (they lived about six months) — so I am not prepared for the pleasure of having a small warm creature lying next to me, happy to be in my presence and not really needing anything right now.

You know what surprises me most about adding a dog to our family? That we all feel so compelled to make up little stories about his past. We don’t actually know anything about Archie’s past. He was found at an animal shelter by Big Dog Rescue in Petaluma and taken to their ranch until they could find someone for him. Nobody knows how he ended up in an animal shelter. But we have one story that we all think must explain his fall from grace. He’s a very cute, poodly dog, and someone must have at least been attracted to his sweet face and bought him. We don’t think those people loved him properly though. They didn’t neuter him until he was pretty old, or at least that’s the theory of a friend, a theory that explains why he barks at dogs who could eat him for a snack in about a second. And when we got him, he didn’t seem to be much of a walker, because he got a little tired after tearing around the block once. He mostly just likes to be at your feet. He is least happy when people aren’t with him. When we get back from going out anywhere, he runs up to us and then lies on his back, begging to have his stomach rubbed.

So, our theory is that he belonged to two little old people who got him as a Christmas gift from their children, and who didn’t walk him much, and figured their kids had dealt with the shots and the fixing thing. All they did was keep him around, and pet him while they watched television and dozed. And then they died, and their children took Archie to the pound because they just didn’t want to deal with a dog, especially not a needy dog (did I mention how he jumps up on us when he hasn’t seen us in a while and THEN does that roll on the back thing?)

And that’s when Archie entered the frightening nether world that no dog should be in, one of cages, and loneliness and other dogs everywhere and not many people. People are Archie’s anchor. Without them he is so unhappy. It breaks my heart to think that he was in that place for even a second. I think he dreams about it sometimes, shuddering and shaking a little bit. He’s such a needy dog, and he doesn’t seem quite connected to us somehow. Maybe he doesn’t trust people not to leave him. I can understand that completely.


13 thoughts on “Archie Dreams

  1. Archie is one of the cutest dogs I have seen. We always had a dog when I was young and our dogs always seem to jump up when they hadn’t seen us for a while. I think it’s a dog way of saying – Good you are back!
    I know there are loads of dogs in shelters and I can’t bear that thought either.

  2. I love your dog’s name! We, too, wonder about our dog’s past, as he is also a rescue dog. My guess is that some young couple thought Malamutes were cool (this is LA, after all) and didn’t understand how difficult they are to raise and probably gave up when he was young. He still has problems around other dogs, but we’re dealing. When he lets me rest my feet on his back or tummy while I write or read a book, I think, this is the life, ain’t it?

  3. Mari, Oh, that is the life!

    Ingrid, Having no other dog to compare Archie to, I didn’t realize that the jumping up thing was so common. In the end, all dogs are “needy” aren’t they? They’re dependent and they love their people. They need us. And we them.

  4. All 3 of my dogs are rescues. 2 I found on the side of the road and my little poodle, Smokey, came from the humane society.

    I have never had a poodle before and have found him to intelligent, happy, lovey and always landing in my lap when I least expect it. He has springs for legs. When we are getting ready for a walk he will literally jump back and forth over Charlie and Monty.

    Your Archie is lucky to have a loving home and lots of attention.

  5. I read somewhere that for dogs, when you leave, it’s as if you’ve left them forever. So when you return, it’s a miracle, they can’t help but rejoice. Poor dogs and their yo-yo hearts!

  6. Bloglily, would it be too presumptuous of us dog lovers and bloglily lovers to please, please request a picture of Archie? He sounds like such a lovely companion. It’s just the best thing to have a writing dog curled up beside you when you’re doing a project…and so lovely to have one that just wants to be in your presence and doesn’t require anything back! I love what Marie said…poor dogs and their yo-yo hearts.

  7. Poor Archie has an attachment disorder, true of traumatized children as well. And what marie describes is true for babies too, the lack of object constancy, no sense that something still exists when it is out of sight. But Archie has the cutest smile.

  8. Oh Gloria, an attachment disorder! Do you think all dogs have that, even ones who weren’t abandoned? Anyway, he’s once again curled up on his little bed next to me and I’m discovering that I’m addicted to him. I think I might have an attachment disorder to.

    Bookfraud. Pictures. Have. Arrived. We took them yesterday. Archie was like a supermodel, turning this way and that, giving us his best smile, being elusive and mysterious. Until we gave him a doggy treat, and then he was back, loving the camera. or something like that. He is named for Archie, of Archie, Veronica, Jughead and Betty. That way, if we get another dog or cat, we have more names to give out. My boys love the Archie comics, although I can’t see why, because they’re not actually all that funny. Maybe it’s just that the weird, hyper-normal fictional world Archie lives in is so far away from their own Berkeley lives.

    For you, Ms. Shelton, anything. Picture is up. Archie is snoring right now. I think he is soothed by the clicking of the computer.

    Oh, Marie, I can see why you are such a fine poet. Poor dogs and their yo-yo hearts indeed. xo

  9. Actually, we had a dog twice and a cat once. 🙂

    The first dog piddled under the table in San Antonio when you were a wee baby. He disappeared soon afterward.

    The second dog was Ed’s dog, I think he was encouraged to run away. At Glen Burnie.

    We had a black and white cat called Fritz in Glen Burnie. One day he jumped at Mom when she was hanging out clothes.

    Another pet removed. 🙂

  10. They say when a dog is rescued he KNOWS you have rescued him and is grateful. Lucky you and lucky doggie!

    Both my dachshunds were rescued too–they are the sweetest creatures! One was found roaming the streets at 7 months old (he had mange and worms etc. etc.) and my other dog was dumped at a shelter at age 6 (she was so traumatized).

  11. He’s SO cute! We make up similar stories about our cat, because we just hate to think that some human abandoned a tiny little kitten to fend for himself. We like to think his mother was trying to carry him from one site to another, accidentally dropped him, couldn’t find him, and was as heartbroken as he was, that he was a tough little survivor but knew to find some kind humans to take him in, so showed up at a house FULL of kind humans all eating dinner one night.

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