It’s not healthy to live without dogs. That’s a fact that anyone who has a dog can tell you with conviction. It may well be a fact that cat lovers would wholeheartedly dismiss, but what do they know? After all, they’re “cat people.”   They haven’t yet seen the light.

After my long time companion Eglantine passed, the house just didn’t feel right. I was hesitant to get a new dog, because I knew there was no replacing her. However, I knew that when the time was right, I would know. The time came sooner than I thought when a saw that a litter of Papillion puppies had just been born at a breeder near Atlanta. I had always wanted one and had even thought of getting one to keep Eglantine company. The time seemed right, so I contacted the breeder and put down a deposit on my new friend, Emelius. Little did I know that the next day, the right time would come again. Some church friends of ours, Alison and Tom Strait, are foster parents for dogs for the local humane society. Alison contacted me on Facebook with pictures of little “Peanut.” My first thought was that the name Peanut simply wouldn’t do. My second thought was that there was no way I wouldn’t adopt him. I mentioned it to Ken and he didn’t seem too receptive. However, he had a chance encounter with Alison at the mall and he saw the pictures as well. Apparently Alison is an excellent salesperson and the next night, we paid the Straits a visit to meet little Peanut.

To make a long story short, after meeting Peanut we decided to adopt him and we went back and picked him up the next night. In the car on the way home, we decided to rename him Barton.   It doesn’t seem like the proper name for a Chihuahua mix dog, but it turned out to fit him perfectly. For about two days, he hardly raised his head and kept his tail between his legs. However, as the days turned into weeks, he became more and more at home. For such a small dog, he has a ferocious bark. Whether it be the UPS driver, the neighbor’s cat, or someone walking down the street, Barton lets us know. From the sounds of him, you would think someone has broken in and is about to kill us all. That hasn’t happened yet, but if it does, rest assured, Barton will let us know. Barton is an introvert like me. As I’m writing this, he’s curled up in the corner with his head covered in a blanket. Barton knows how to live.

A few weeks after getting Barton, we made the trek to Atlanta to get Emelius. When we first him, he looked like a rabbit. The breeder’s toddler was carrying him around like a ragdoll and even dropped him a couple of times. With little to no small talk, we picked him up and returned home. He and Barton became fast friends. From the beginning, they would run through the yard together, stopping periodically to wrestle in the grass. As far as personalities go, they couldn’t be more different. Barton always looks like he’s guilty of something for which he can’t repent. Emelius could set the house on fire and then leap into my lap as though nothing happened. Though their personalities are polar opposites, they are the perfect foils for each other and are the best of friends. I’ve often said that Eglantine was such a good dog that it took two to take her place. While that’s not exactly true, it’s certainly a good anecdote.

From the sound of it, Barton and Emelius have been perfect angels. That’s not exactly true either. They’ve made their mark on the house. Through a combination of boredom, youthful curiosity, and perhaps insanity, they have eaten through the sheetrock in one bathroom through to the wall studs and have started making progress on the stud itself. In fact, carpenters are here this week to repair the damage. Hopefully they’ve grown out of that. If not, I guess we’ll have to replace whatever they target next. One thing is for certain. They have both found their way into our home and hearts. Though they may be mischievous, we all have a lot of love left to share and many more memories to make.

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