Tonight I want to talk about my dog, Ziggy. He’s a shih-tzu. His “birthday” is October 15, another reason why October is a big month around here. Back during the spring of 2011, my brother was ending his first year of middle school. He was going to the same school I go to now. Well, he got in trouble all during sixth grade. My parents were so fed up with him getting phone calls home and being in detention, so my mom made a deal with him. If he didn’t get in trouble for the rest of the year, she told him she’d buy him a pet. He decided that he wanted a turtle. My mom had a box turtle as a pet when she was younger. She said that her Uncle Elmo (yes, Elmo, short for Elmer) found him in the dessert when he was moving from Las Vegas. His name was Herbie and he lived for an unusually long time – like ten years or something! So, my brother, Jacob, wanted a turtle too. First, he had to make it through the rest of the school year without getting into any more trouble. Well, lo and behold, he did it! So, my mom set out to get him a turtle. She and my dad went to the pet store and all they had were aquatic turtles. They went to another pet store and then another and no land/box turtles – only aquatic ones. We would have had to have an aquarium-like environment for them with a rock of some kind so they could come out of the water periodically and lamps for sunning themselves. That’s not what we wanted, so we finally went to a reptile place. When we got there, we still didn’t see the turtles that we wanted. So, we asked the store’s owner. She freaked out. She told us that in our state that it was illegal to own a box turtle and that if we were caught with one, we could face fines or go to jail! Illegal? Jail? She was basically foaming at the mouth. I know she was passionate about reptiles, but jeez lady, calm down! We didn’t know. And what’s so funny about the state I live in is that we see box turtles on the road all the time, we just never stopped to pick one up and keep it as a pet. But, the alligators she was selling were legal? Really?!
Well, that was a bust. No turtle for Jacob. So, then I had a plan. I told Jacob to go to mom and tell her that instead of a turtle, he wanted a dog. I started researching dogs. I spent all summer looking up different breeds of dogs and writing down facts about them. Which ones are child friendly? Which ones don’t shed? This went on all summer long. Still, by fall we didn’t have a dog. Well, in October, I was looking through the newspaper. I saw that our town’s botanical garden was having a big grand re-opening downtown over the weekend with all kinds of activities for families. I also saw that they were having a pet adoption fair. I asked my parents if we could go. I didn’t tell them about the pet adoption fair, though. Well, on Saturday, October 15th, we went downtown. We went through the greenhouse and botanical gardens, walked through the park, watched a performance or two, ate lots of food, and right before we were about to leave, I pointed in the direction of the dog park. My mom asked me why I wanted to go to a dog park because we didn’t even have a dog. I told her that I just wanted to see other people’s dogs. She said okay and so off we went.
When we got there, much to her and my dad’s surprise, there was a pet adoption fair going on. Wow! What a coincidence! It was still going on, but about to close up. There were about a dozen dogs left that hadn’t been adopted. All kinds of dogs in cages all lined up along the sidewalk. I felt sorry for them and wished we could take them all home, but my mom wasn’t having that. They were all so friendly and wild and running around and moving about in their cages and barking. One of them had just had surgery to have a tumor removed. It was cute and white and fluffy, with the exception that half of its fur on its side had been shaved off. My mom looked at the dogs one by one moving up and down the cages. She said that we tricked her. My dad was just rolling his eyes and sighing. He really didn’t want a dog. My mom didn’t either, but she likes for us to be happy and she did promise Jacob a pet. She passed along all the cages, went back to a few of them to pet the dogs through the cages and finally stopped at one. There was a little white and brown dog inside. It was a shih-tzu and through all the noise of the barking dogs, it was sleeping in the warm 70 degree October sun. My mom said, “Hey, I like this one. It’s sleeping. Maybe it won’t be any trouble.” The lady took him out of his cage and put a leash on him and gave him to my brother and said, “Go, take him for a walk.” We all did. My dad kept saying, “No.” My mom was still deciding. The lady called over to us to tell us that we didn’t have much time and that she was about to close up. Jacob announced, “We’re taking him. We’re not leaving here without him!” I said, “I agree.” After a little bit of paperwork and $150 later (my dad likes to remind us of that), we walked out of there with Ziggy. He was about 2 or 3 years old when we adopted him three years ago. Every year we celebrate his birthday. He is so quiet and subdued, just like my mom had hoped for. Good job mom, picking the little dog sleeping in the cage! So, I am going to add a new section to my blog called, The “Tails” of Ziggy, the Dog. I’ll keep you updated on all things Ziggy, so stay tuned……………………………….