We have two dogs – Bruno, who my husband rescued from the pound several years ago – and a puppy, Frida, who is also a German Shepherd mix. Frida was named by the Westside German Shepherd Rescue, the group from which we adopted her. We named Bruno ourselves. Together, we think that they sound like a bad German New Wave film.
Frida is still a puppy – a 60-pound, energetic puppy— who likes to hunt. Some view her enthusiasm and willingness to bark at anything, loudly and for a long time, as Cujo-like. She occasionally nips – she is just about a year and a half old – but when you see what she or Bruno can do to a bone you realize that the nips at human ankles mean no harm – their jaws could destroy the joint if they were so inclined. Animals on the other hand, well, Frida is a hunter who loves her mother. Sometimes hers is a tough love.
Frida brought me a gift recently… a dead squirrel that she placed in front of my desk. I was working on my couch and didn’t notice the offering until I got up to exit the room. I screamed and stood paralyzed in the middle of my office, unable to step over the carcass. Embarrassingly enough, I had to call for my housekeeper to pick it up. We both laughed – at me. I often remove ticks from Frida without much distress so why couldn’t I even step over the squirrel, let alone give it a proper burial? Was it the fur? The size? I’m not sure, but my NYC apartment upbringing did not prepare me for this nature thing. Nature is out to get me, I remind anyone who asks about the possibility of my hunting, camping or hiking off a well-traveled trail.
I had a glass of wine to overcome PRSD – Post Rodentia Stress Disorder. Frankly, I think that reading about the incident is excuse enough to knock back an adult beverage of your choice. Once half of the glass had had its intended effect, I scrubbed the part of the carpet where the squirrel had been – which Frida kept sniffing – and forcibly banished thoughts of putting the rug in the garbage. Taxidermy is clearly yet another hobby that is not for me.
I hate that I am so girlie in this regard. But alas, it is who I am. Thankfully, my children were not home to see my shameful, cowardice. Hopefully, they’ll be the types who can deal with anything dogs – and life in general – throws at them with a confident nonchalance – unlike their mother. Pity we can’t self select the traits we want to pass on as there are many traits – the above included – that I would like to unselect from my bloodline.
Hopefully, Frida will stop giving me unwanted gifts because my housekeeper is not available 24/7 and my kids may see my bad-side-of-girlie side. I know, I know it’s the thought that counts not the gift itself. I’m sure Frida had the best of intentions. Dead animals are just not a gift I ever, ever want again.