The Deuce Club, 3.26

by: Peter Bodo | March 26, 2010

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By Jackie Roe, TW Social Director

Greetings, TWibe! Countless thanks for the warm reception of my Indian Wells report last week; I'm so glad I was able to share the experience with y'all, as I knew you'd appreciate it just as much as I did. Still wish I could've made it to Miami ...

Speaking of Miami, are any of you planning to attend the tournament? (Or maybe you're already there? I know Coby and GVGirl are.) If so, feel free to send me reports or photos to post here in the Deuce Club. I think we all enjoy hearing about our fellow TWibers' live tennis adventures.

As previewed by Pete last weekend, today's DC is all about ... pets! He just welcomed a new puppy into his home, so he'll be here in a moment to tell you more about it. But before he does, I thought I'd contribute my own pet story. Disclaimer: It's rather somber - Pete's will be a good pick-me-up after this.

When I was 6 or 7, my family decided to buy a cocker spaniel. I was ecstatic, being an avid animal (especially dog) lover. I knew nothing about taking care of a pet at that age, of course ... and turns out, neither did anyone else in my family. We tried our best and loved that puppy like he was a member of our family, but taking care of him was a struggle from the get-go. Not to mention, cocker spaniels aren't the easiest dogs to train - or so I've read - so it's not surprising that things didn't work out. After only a few weeks (and a biting incident that I tried to cover up since I couldn't bear to see him get in trouble!), we gave him away to some friends in the neighborhood.

Less than a year later, we heard that those friends put him to sleep because of the biting. It still pains me to think of how his life was cut so short, perhaps unnecessarily so. And for a long time, I harbored guilt for the role we may have played in all of it ... but what's done is done, and I'd like to think he enjoyed his time with us. It's funny - I knew him for barely a month, but decades later, I still remember his impossibly soft fur, still blow a kiss in the air on his birthday (June 20). That's the effect that animals have on us, huh.

We settled for goldfish after that.

Told you that was less than uplifting. Pete'll rescue this post - take it away, Cap'n!

Well, Luke finally has his wish – a dog. His name, when I located him at a rescue kennel in South Carolina, was Dana. He’s since been given a new name, Buck(y). I found Buck about a month ago via Adopt-a-Pet, a website where you can choose a specific breed (or mix) that you seek. Your alert goes out to an entire network of rescue kennels and such, and anyone who has a dog that might fit your needs then contacts you.

To tell you the truth, we hadn’t fully committed to getting a dog at the time I started screwing around on the Internet (famous last words in many other respects too, right?). But I posted my request anyway, and more or less forgot about it.

Then, about two weeks later, I received an email from FIDO, a kennel near West Columbia, S.C. Once I saw Dana/Buck’s face, I knew he was our dog, even though he was billed as a golden retriever-hound mix. Of course, I was somewhat concerned about the various logistics, including taking possession of a nine-month old dog without even having seen it, in person. But Charlotte Ramsey, the kennel lady, seemed such a thoughtful and caring person that I plowed ahead without hesitation. We must have exchanged 50 emails. Long story short: we soon booked transport for Buck in a mobile home that makes regular runs along the east coast, from Georgia to Maine. They have twenty-odd dog crates built into this Winnebago, and they just drop dogs off to new owners along the way (they charge $125 to cover gas and expenses).

So about a week before Buck arrived, I wrote Luke a letter, in kid handwriting, from a “secret friend” named Buck. Luke opened and read the letter, which asked if some unspecified “Bucky” could have a playdate with Luke. Of course, Luke was baffled and I played dumb (my default position in household matters). But two days before we were to pick up Bucky (last Saturday), I also wrote and printed out an email from Bucky to Luke, asking if their “playdate” was on.

On Saturday, we took the truck out to the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop on the New Jersey turnpike (a short 20 minute run from home on a weekend morning) and parked in a big park-and-ride lot near the Winnebago. Luke was a little bit nervous, since he didn’t know anyone named Bucky.

One of the men on board the Winnebago came walking toward us, with Buck on a leash. Luke got all excited seeing him and I said he could go yonder and pet the dog. I asked the man the dog’s name and he said, “Buck.” Luke put two and two together, but it was gradually and with some disbelief. He kept asking if we could take Buck home. I kept answering “Forever.” He would then ask if we could keep him overnight. . . like that. The little shaver was simply stunned.

Lukebuckcrate Buck has been wonderful – gentle but high-spirited. Turns out we have a terrific enclosed dog run right near our home on Riverside Drive, and we’re already known there. People just fall in love with Buck on sight. But as the person who mainly walks and looks after him, I notice a certain amount of. . . withholding. It’s like he hasn’t decided whether or not to accept me/us yet (despite how well-mannered and behaved he is).

It figures; it’s still all so new to him, and he had probably bonded with the trainer I kept him with for about 10 days before he arrived (I wanted to get a sense of his state of development and character). Buck loves to mix it up with all the other dogs, he wrestles endlessly and runs like the wind. He’s extremely friendly with people also, although he’s still pretty skittish and somewhat insecure. All in due time.

Tonight, Buck is going to game-rich Andes for the first time, and we’re curious to see how he interacts with our cat, Biscuit (who lives at the farm). Buck was “cat-tested” at the kennel and he seems fine. Frankly, I’m more concerned that Biscuit will smack Buck around, because he’s a brave cat who’s been known to walk over to a visiting dog as it’s eating, shove the dog’s face out of the way with his own, make the dog back off, then look back over his shoulder as if to say, “You got a problem with that?”

Biscuit always tried to lie down and cuddle with Cady and Lucy, my former dogs (Buck is my first male dog),  who just couldn’t handle it. Maybe over time, Buck will have a better, more relaxed attitude about that. It’s just one of the many things we don’t know as we embark on this great dog adventure yet again. Funny to think that, God willing, Buck will be around to see Luke off to college (or welding school). That notion makes me feel really good for some reason.

Aw, Pete - Buck is adorable! Luke must be in heaven. And I love how you arranged their "meeting"; for the rest of his life, no other surprise with compare! Enjoy your new dog, and hope you'll give us updates.

Now TWibe, in honor of TW Pet Day, tell us about your pets, past or present. If you've never had one, explain why not (doesn't appeal to you? living situation?) and/or what you'd want to get if given the chance. And if you're feeling especially creative - or are just in a tennis state of mind - give us your ideas of what pets would suit what player. Example: Another horse for T-Rob, duh.

Have a great weekend, guys. And psst, it's crazyone's birthday - make sure to sing to her!
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