Thursday, July 06, 2006

Loving Scruffiness...

Ever since I can remember I've had a soft spot in my heart for scruffy animals. The scruffier the better. One of my first (and favorite) toys as a young child was a stuffed pink bunny that came wedged between two bottles of some cleaning product my mom used. His name was Cornwallis. Corny for short. I loved that bunny. And as his hair became matted and his eyes were replaced with buttons, he took on a certain air of dignified scruffiness that made him all the more endearing.

As I grew older, my attraction to scruffiness blossomed. Remember the game "Mystery Date?" I was the girl who actually thought the "Dud" with the two days' growth of beard and the scruffy hair was the cute one. All the other guys looked a bit too much like my Ken doll. Yeah, I had a Malibu Ken, but my favorite guy doll was my GI Joe, the one with the real hair and beard. Only mine came with some of the hair rubbed off. He was cool.

I didn't convince my parents to get a dog until I was 13. This was a full-on marketing campaign that began with research: I checked out dozens of dog books from the library and thoroughly studied dog care and feeding. I then checked out more books of dog breeds and marked the pages of some of my favorites. My goal: win Mom over and she would convince Dad. I hit the sweet spot with the Cairn Terrier (apparently Mom had a thing for scruffy dogs, even though Dad was quite well-polished). Within a few months we had Katie. She was scruffy and feisty and she had all of us wrapped around her paw within about a day. I'll share some Katie stories at another time.

Fast-forward about 23 years...My husband and I decided it was time to grow our family. Not to have children just yet, but to get a dog (this was a huge commitment for a couple who took six years to decide to get married). We went with some friends to a dog show, just to check out a few breeds. Luckily my husband also turned out to be a scruffy dog enthusiast, and we found ourselves looking longingly at the Irish Wolfhounds and Deerhounds and Airdales. Then we saw Six...he was in the ring with the winners of the hunting dog breeds. While the retrievers and setters and German Shorthaired Pointers eagerly stood at attention, practically vibrating as they waited for their turn to run around the ring, Six took a look around and decided to lay down. Amongst all the commotion, he actually looked bored. We soon learned that he was a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. We met Six after the competition (which he didn't win, even though he was obviously the best dog there) and we fell in love immediately. The owner refused to give him up. We figured the breed was rare enough and expensive enough that we'd probably never get one.

We were planning a two month sabbatical in Europe and decided to get a puppy as soon as we returned. My husband says I brought up the subject when the airplane wheels touched the ground. I picked up the local paper that weekend, checked the pet section and to my amazement, there was an ad for Wirehaired Pointing Griffons in a town just a few hours from our home. Up next..."Baxter: Love at First Scruffy Sight"

1 comment:

KM said...

Love the scruffy guy's wink!