I suppose I reference Trixy quite a bit, and whilst old friends who read this blog know her story, new friends don’t, and since someone asked about her recently, here’s the story of how she came into our lives.
At 19 and 17 Austin and Guy had their own, independent apartments within the house we shared in Chayofa in 2001, so they came and went without disturbing me. The house sat at the end of a cul-de-sac, on a hillside, so that entering the front door at street level, you walked through the living room to the terrace, and you then went down steps to get to the huge garden. Not wanting to risk losing his key, Austin used to hide it on the terrace when he went out to party, and then hopped over the garden wall, as the gate was always securely locked, and this is what he did on this, particular night.
The only thing was that he hopped over the wall and into a box…….which – moved!
I was already in bed (kids go out these days at the time I used to be catching the last bus home!), when I heard a frantic knocking on the terrace door. Obviously worried, I threw on a kaftan and hurried to the door. “Mom, quick, bring the key to the garden gate,” in urgent tones. I grabbed the key and scampered down the steps into the garden. Austin opened the gate, picked up a large cardboard box, and placed it on the garden path. By this time Guy had cottoned on to the happenings, and the three of us stood and stared in disbelief at one of the cutest sights I’ve ever seen. Five wee pups, probably around six weeks old, wriggling around, and making those appealing little snuffly, yelpy noises puppies make. A couple of the more adventurous ones were quickly on their hind legs and trying to get out, back legs flaying about as they tried to balance on something, specifically, their siblings. One of them succeeded and staggered towards my outstretched hands.
Our family dog, Buster, a feisty, wee Westie, sniffed around dubiously at this invasion of his space. You could almost read his mind, “As if the kitten they adopted a couple of weeks ago wasn’t enough – now they have this lot too!”
Needless to say, there was no sign in the street of whoever had left us this surprise package. In some ways it wasn’t a surprise, by that time we’d lived on the same street for around 12 years or so, and during those 12 years, well, we’d taken in our share of waifs and strays; several dogs (one of which killed a pet rabbit), various kittens (the latest just a few weeks previously), a Monk parakeet, a toucan (which was dying and I had to feed with a dropper) and another exotic bird I forget the name of, as well as maintaining animals for which we’d actually paid good money – the Westie, rabbits, turtles, a tortoise (which was at the vet more than any pet I ever remember. Question: how do you know when a tortoise is dead?), budgies and a couple of hamsters. However FIVE pups all in one go was a bit much.
The immediate problem was what to do with them there and then. Although the garden was large and great for romping, little puppies, we were sure, would easily find some way to squeeze out. The only solution was to put them in the bathroom overnight, which at least would be easy to clean up, and as the loo was separate didn’t present too much of a problem. We covered the floor with newspapers and put down dishes of water and cat food, gave them all some loving, and went back to what we were doing before the invasion…..for me that was going to bed with the nice fuzzy, warm feeling you get from cuddling puppies.
They must have slept well, I’m guessing all cuddled up together, because there wasn’t a peep all night, and in the morning I opened the bathroom door gently to find them quietly playing and rolling around. I sat across the doorway, and all five came, one by one, and crawled all over me, licking my arms and hands and face. I have the widest grin just sitting here remembering now. I think I could call it a Zen moment.
Now it was decision time. Already we had a small kitten, Buster and three budgies, Austin was 19 and about to leave for Australia on a course, and Guy was planning to go to university the following year. It was an easy and clear-cut decision, wasn’t it? I had more than enough pet-keeping duties, and there was no way I needed any more to cope with single-handedly, in the not-too-distant future. Case closed.
So, Guy and I loaded the pups into the car that afternoon and set off for K9 , an organization which does marvellous work in very difficult circumstances. It has to be said that, here, attitudes to pets and responsibilities thereof does lag behind other places I’ve lived. We’d had cause to contact them a couple of times previously, when we’d come across strays we couldn’t keep. We arrived at their compound to find that it was only staffed fulltime in the mornings, and by then it was around 2pm, so we turned around and went home.
Happily, we had a this wonderful garden, so we spent the afternoon constructing a sort of kennel with a long run for them, in between the constant interruptions to pet them, or Buster to assuage his jealousy. Austin was having a barbecue for friends that night, so my guess is that the pups thought they had landed in some sort of doggie heaven. For sure they spent less time in the run and more time in the arms of the girls at the party, being petted and admired and loved.
Morning saw us on the road to San Miguel again. This is where I should point out that, despite having had all these pets over the years, I wasn’t that knowledgeable about how to tell the sex of young ‘uns, and I’d thought them all to be chicos. One of my arguments in resisting the boys’ hints and suggestions about keeping any or all of them had been that one male dog (i.e. Buster) cocking his leg over everything in the garden was quite sufficient, thank you.
The nice lady at K9 was kind and welcoming, and luckily they had room for them. She oohed and ahhed over them as if she didn’t work with puppies and kittens every day, bless her. She picked them up one by one and examined them, “Three boys and two girls”, she declared with a smile, and Guy gave me a triumphant kind of grin………..and that’s when my body was taken over by a mysterious, outside force, and I felt myself snatching back one of the girls, and I heard myself saying, “Well, ok, if this is a girl, we’ll keep her then.” It was the same small brown and black scrap of fuzz that had been first to crawl out of the box and lick my hand, of course.
We filled in the paperwork for the others, and came away, Guy clutching this little bundle of life, which I knew full well was going to be his pal for only twelve months or so, and my responsibility for the twelve years or so thereafter. I can only put down my decision to temporary insanity. I knew Guy wanted a dog, but the practicalities of the situation were that my nest was going to empty in a fairly short space of time, the house with its wonderful garden would have to be sold, and I was supposed to be at last achieving my dream of travelling the world for a while before decrepitude set in. The other pets were all taken into consideration one way or another, but a new, probably quite largish dog was not in the plan at all.
Guy got to name her Trixy, and she was the faithful companion he’d wanted for the next fourteen months. Buster came to tolerate her, and she and Missy, the cat, were great pals until Missy met her fate on the road one sad day. She brought much laughter into our household – watching her and Missy chasing each other through the heaps of fallen Bougainvillea leaves (think Autumn leaves); teasing her with the hose pipe when we watered the garden; and perhaps funniest of all when she had to have one of those funnel type collars over her head after her op – more pups were most definitely not on my agenda – when she just refused to move and sulked in a corner for hours and hours.
Eventually, Guy went off on his university adventure, and Trixy became my pal. She’s spent a good few weeks in kennels when I’ve had the urge to travel, and she’s cost me money when I’ve returned and rented temporary accommodation because I felt bad about leaving her for longer, and, very likely I wouldn’t still be in Tenerife if it wasn’t for her. That said, if it wasn’t for her I would have missed out on things which I wouldn’t have missed for a million dollars. Had I not been here in 2006 I wouldn’t have had the experiences I had then and in the years following. Those experiences are something I can’t write about easily, but were a highlight of my life, they also led to deep and treasured friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise, so I have a lot to thank her for.
Without Trixy I wouldn’t have witnessed the breathtaking sunrises on La Tejita. I can’t really imagine how or why I would have been up at that hour out there were it not for Trix. Even on the laziest day I have to walk her, so she helps me keep fit. You know how a home is full of little sounds you never give much thought to, creaks and shuffles? Most in my home are down to Trix, so when I left in her kennels a couple of days extra after returning from England the other week, I missed those sounds so much! True, I didn’t have to sweep the floor twice a day, I didn’t have to check behind me before pushing back my chair, and I could turn over for an extra ten minutes when the alarm went off instead of jumping up to walk her along the seafront, but how weird was it to come downstairs and not have that tail thumping against a wall or furniture in greeting, and how empty was the apartment when I came back from shopping?!
She is also the most loving dog I’ve ever had, and the friendliest, people take to her immediately when we’re out walking (except for those idiots who know nothing about dogs and think she’s a threat). In almost everything she was quick to learn, and without a doubt the easiest to house train. We’ll never know her lineage nor who left her on our doorstep, and when she makes those funny, mournful, little noises as she dreams I’ll never know if she is dreaming about being abandoned, but despite her playing havoc with my life plans I must say – no regrets!
A new phase of my life beckons and all I can say is, I will find a way to include Trix in a lot, if not all, of it! Kind of looks like we’re stuck with each other, so i have to figure it out!
Oh, and I do have some cute puppy pix, but my scanner isn’t working and they were pre-digital, so they will have to wait.