April Fools’ Day
OpinionClosing Thoughts

April Fools’ Day

Shaindle Schmuckler remembers the pets she's owned throughout the years.

Shaindle Schmuckler spreads her energy and humor as a regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Shaindle Schmuckler
Shaindle Schmuckler

Arielle, Chien, Patches, Tippish, Shaina, Kelev, Ari. One of these things is not like the other. Take a guess. Nope, take another one.

One day, about 10 years ago, actually exactly 10 years ago the end of April, my hubby and I took four of my 10 grandchildren up to the North Point shopping district. We needed something to do, it was kids’ choice and the kids picked the pet store. They loved looking at the puppies, snakes, rodents, fish, birds and kittens.

My luck, the pet store was sponsoring pet adoptions day.

A little background music maestro please.

Growing up in the Bronx, my sisters and I never even considered having a dog, or any pets for that matter. Where would we keep it? It would have been cruel to have a dog in an apartment. Well, truth to power, every now and then over winter break, one of us would bring home the class gerbil. Believe me when I tell you, our parents were not gerbil lovers. Mom did have a bird, whom she loved, and who scared the kishkes (insides) out of me. I am terrified of birds ‘til this very day.

By the way, did you happen to see the movie “The Birds”? YIKES! That confirmed my greatest fears and it was then I made a vow to be much more of a discerning moviegoer.

Back to April Fools’ Day, the day our soon-to-be puppy was born. Yes, we do sing “Happy Birthday” in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. Who is this puppy I speak of?

This is a legitimate question. I shall now give you a legitimate answer. Hold on, this could be a bumpy ride.

From the very beginning of our journey in building our family, my hubby and I knew that having a pet, more specifically, a puppy, was part and parcel (what does even mean?) of the ‘deal.’

Soon our family grew in the best way possible. We were blessed with our four precious children, two rabbits, a gerbil and a puppy. They all seemed to get along famously, respecting each other’s space. Dogs inside our home; rabbits on the back porch. Children, of course, inside, nu vooden (where else)? All was dreamy until one of the rabbits committed suicide by jumping off the picnic table. The second rabbit lived happily ever after at his doctor’s family.

We never, no we never, had a bird! I would take a cockroach before I would take a bird. (Oh, who am I kidding, I would never take a cockroach!)

I present to you a quick rundown of the do’s and don’ts before you make a commitment as to which of the adorable puppies you decide to adopt.

First, I remind you, all puppies will eventually grow into dogs. This is important, or you would be in for the shock of your lives. There comes a day when, waking from a restful sleep, still a bit foggy, you notice the person sleeping next to you is not a person at all. Not a stuffed animal either. There is your dog sleeping on your bed, snoring. The realization that this dog was once your sweet, cuddly puppy would catapult you right out of your bed.

Second, and I might say critically important, check the background of your chosen animal. Vet that animal as if he/she were running for president of these United States. Who were his/her mom and dad? What about extended family members?

Any siblings? Were any one of them girls’ panty eaters? Squirrel, rabbit or deer chasers? Part of a gang of bums, who roamed the streets and it might take forever to call him/her home? Explorers who would cause their owners to ride up and down the streets of your quiet, tree-lined neighborhood yelling his/her name to come home, begging PLEASE and shouting his/her name over and over until all the neighbors came out of their homes looking at you as if you were a nut job? Did any one in their family bite the ankles of mail carriers? Did any of them come from a nice Jewish family? Were any of them veterinarians (just kidding folks)?

Third, check to be sure the family tree DNA did not sport any phobias. For instance: were any relatives scared to the death of doggie crates, or the shape of some cookie treats, or only accustomed to eating the most expensive dog food?

I know from whence I speak, believe me.

One day, thanks to Debbie Sonenshine, more than 22 years ago, my family moved from Stone Mountain to Roswell. It was time for another, in our long line of puppies. I dreamed of a smallish, white, hypoallergenic, fluffy dog. My luck, which of all the dogs on the rescue market came right up to our grandkids? A little black, white and a little bit brown, not-so-fluffy puppy.

We did not vet the dog! We trusted the word of the person caring for this puppy.

Armed with lots of information, we formally adopted this puppy. One of the grands held the dog, as we loaded a crate, food, snacks, toys and a little blanket into my SUV.

On our way home, we started the process of naming this adorable little puppy. Traveling Georgia 400 proved to bring out some very creative possibilities. We had all voted this puppy should have a Hebrew name. As we headed for the exit ramp, a name was chosen.

Ari is the name of our 10-year-old rescue cockapoo.

Why a cockapoo? Simple, my friend Miri had a beautiful little white fluffy cockapoo, and I fell in love with it. Not the best way to choose a breed, but it seems to have worked out.

And so folks, back to the burning question from the beginning of this column: Which one of these things is not like the other? The answer is Ari. Why Ari?

Because all the other dogs on the list above have moved on.

Ari, born April 1, our sweet little April Fools’ gift.

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