18: Crazy for Daisy

18: Crazy for Daisy

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

Crazy for Daisy

Properly trained, a man can be a dog’s best friend.

~Corey Ford

I’d lost three Basset Hounds in the span of only ten months to various maladies. I was suddenly dogless and lonelier than I ever could have imagined. I lasted three months before beginning the quest for another.

I had raised puppies before. The prospect of sleepless nights, shredded shoes and swabbing puddles of piddle off the floor had lost its appeal. Daily, I searched the local pounds and shelters for adult Bassets, but found none. Then an ad appeared in the newspaper: Basset Hound, female, 1 year old, $150. Patience and Dolly, two of my former Bassets, were both a year old when I adopted them. Both were wonderful dogs. I called and drove out to see the dog in the ad.

When I walked up to the front door and rang the bell, I heard the baritone bark of a Basset, music to my ears. Ah, a good watchdog! Score a point in favor of this candidate. Our former Basset Hound, Patience, could never have been mistaken for a watchdog. A doorstop, perhaps. The people introductions were brief. We got straight to the matter at hand—that is to say, paw.

“This is Daisy.” The lady held the glossy, tricolor Hound firmly in check with a choke collar. The dog was clearly healthy. Score another point. Daisy strained at her collar as though she were in training for the Iditarod. Perhaps this dog was too healthy.

“You can release her now,” I commanded. The next instant she was all over me like lint on a lollipop. I retreated to the couch and sat. Good human! Daisy catapulted from the floor to my lap, planting her forepaws squarely on my chest. A sixty-pound Basset is no lap dog, but Daisy wasn’t aware of this or any other rules of acceptable canine conduct.

When she upturned to have her belly scratched, gazing at me with Hershey’s Kiss eyes, I melted. The scales tipped further in her favor when I was assured that I could have her for free; the $150 was only to deter any Cruella de Vil trolling the classified ads for dog #102. Daisy even came with her own leash, bed and sky kennel. I’d found Barbie’s Basset Hound!

“She’ll try to dominate you,” they told me. The warning fell on deaf ears. The sight of their battle-torn family room should have served as clear enough portent of my fate, but budding puppy love is blind.

I should have bolted for the door. Instead, I asked, “Do you mind if I take her for a walk?”

“Sure, go ahead.” She had never been on a leash in her life, but by the time she dragged me halfway down the street, I was heeling perfectly.

I didn’t take her with me that afternoon. I drove home and thought it over for a whole hour. Then I called and asked Daisy’s soon-to-be-ex-mom to drop her off on the way to work the next morning for a one-day trial. After three months I still had her, even though Miss Daisy was driving me crazy.

She woke me hourly every night until 6 a.m. for the morning feeding. I began to imagine I could hear her whining at my bedroom door, even when she wasn’t. She was as snappish as a crocodile in a sushi bar. The first time I came too near her food bowl, I was nearly a double amputee. I should have sent her back to her former owners before I grew too attached, but it wasn’t long until we’d bonded like peanut butter and jelly. I was the jelly.

After many years of receiving love and attention from me that she never got from her first owners, Daisy became a good dog—sort of. Several weeks after I adopted Daisy, I drove to the SPCA to donate the last of Patience’s senior diet kibble and her battered wicker bed. Daisy rode beside me in the same seat Patience had. If I squinted hard enough, I could see my sweet old girl sitting there next to me. I’d been through a lot with Daisy the Doggy Disaster. She was nothing like our calm, gentle Patience. For two cents, which is more than Crazy Daisy cost me, I would have left her there at the shelter. Anyone in her right mind, or less determined to make this canine/human relationship work, probably would have.

I felt a moist nose nudge my hand. I stroked Daisy’s silky fur as she sat beside me in Patience’s old co-pilot’s seat. Then those chocolate eyes met mine. In them I clearly saw the unflagging trust and devotion I’ve read only in the eyes of my dogs. In that instant it was understood that she would still be sitting beside me when we returned home that day. I knew that in the years to come I’d be driving Miss Daisy, and she’d still be driving me crazy.

~Sue Owens Wright

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