Generally speaking, the pet-ownership world is reputed to be divided into people that prefer cats, and those that like dogs. I fall into the latter category. I make no judgment of folks that enjoy birds, fish, rodents, horses, amphibians, snakes, reptiles, insects . . . or dinosaurs.
Thus far, three Springer Spaniels have graced our household. It was a breed we came to like, on account of their affection and loyalty, if not towering intellect. All were rescue dogs: Jeeves and Gus were males, while Abby (pictured above) is female. Our present canine, whom we often call “Abby the Wonder Dog,” might have had the hardest start in life of the trio.
After having to put Gus down at far too early an age, we were uncertain whether some time should pass before we looked for his replacement. It was a sentiment that didn’t last for long. Finding Abby required an extensive Internet search: for a while the only Springers available were geriatrics, or were animals that had suffered an injury. At last we found Abby in a small shelter in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There was no way to know whether the seven-hour drive (one way) would result in our having a new pet – or not. After a short visit we decided to take Abby home with us, picking ticks off her coat all the way.
The personal histories of rescue animals are often sketchy. The shelter staff said Abby had been owned by an couple that planned to train her as a hunting dog. It didn’t work out, so off to the shelter Abby went. Living with her has given us an insight into why she wouldn’t have made it as a hunter: Abby runs and hides whenever there’s a loud noise, whether thunder, fireworks or when the family rabbit “thumps” an alarm. Gunshots would have sent her into a tizzy.
In the over three years that Abby has been among us, I’ve come to believe that dogs’ personalities reflect their genders, as it is said of human beings. Sure, Jeeves and Gus were individuals, but Abby differs from both of them. She expresses herself via an amazing range of vocalizations. It isn’t unusual for Abby to sit in a central place in the family room, “lecturing” any people present on who knows what subject. She often has something to say upon waking in the morning, too. Maybe we call her “Wonder Dog” because we are uncertain what she’ll say next?
Sure, Abby’s frequent habit of expressing herself audibly can get on our nerves. Getting her to, well, shut up can be a real trial. That being said, the photo of her is indicative of Abby’s generally sweet disposition. I think we will keep her; God knows she intends to keep us!