Bru and Coco had a bone to pick with me.
I have written in this space about my wife, our daughter, and our two sons, leaving my canine assistants feeling aggrieved.
As the senior partner, Bru remonstrated for the pair: “We’re here with you every day, all day. You talk to us. We let you know when there is a delivery truck outside or when another dog walks in front of the house. When you’re in the backyard, so are we. We let you know when it’s noon, so you don’t forget to feed us lunch, and when it is 6 p.m., so that you don’t forget to feed us dinner. We let you know every time we want to go out and every time we want to come in. We visit your office when you’re working, even when you have that music on. We let you know when Grandma comes home. So why don’t you write about us?”
Bru had a point. Considering the hours we spend together, he and Coco deserve mention.
By way of introduction, Bru is about 10-years-old, weighs 55 pounds, has a tan coat, and resembles a Black Mouth Cur, a Southern breed. Our daughter found him at the Atlanta Humane Society shelter and changed his name to Bru, as in the Boston Bruins hockey team. Bru lived with her during college in Asheville, but when she became a newspaper reporter in South Carolina, with an irregular schedule and a small apartment, he moved in with us.
A couple of years later, our oldest son’s apartment mate came across an emaciated black-and-white puppy cowering in a parking lot. The owner listed on the tag did not want her back. Our son took her in and named her Coco. A couple of months later, she joined Bru in our home. Coco is a few years younger and weighs a few pounds less than her “cousin.” We are uncertain of Coco’s lineage, but her leaping ability makes us think that she is part circus animal.
Our children may claim ownership, but Bru and Coco are on our payroll and “Grandma” says there is no way they will be separated.
Growing up, I was scared of dogs. One of my brothers was bit by a German Shepherd. I feared being chased when I rode my bicycle. I flinched whenever a nearby dog barked.
My wife, on the other hand, grew up with dogs.
Indeed, it was Beethoven, her family’s black miniature Schnauzer, who helped me get over my phobia. Maybe it was Beethoven’s size, coming up to my knees, that made him easy to like.
When our kids were young, the subject of a dog came up. I agreed that maybe, at some point, we could get a dog.
My wife sand-bagged me.
She had gone to a pet shop, looking for plastic turtles to go along with a story she had written as a Hannukah gift for our nieces and nephews. I was at work when she called to tell me that she was holding the cutest gray miniature Schnauzer puppy.
Tyvul — the Yiddish word for devil — was a Shabbos dog. When we lit candles on Friday night, Tyvul barked for his piece of challah.
We loved Tyvul, from the day he arrived until the awful day when disease forced us to have him put down. We mourned Tyvul and so did Buttercup, the last survivor of successive pairs of cats that came from one of our daughter’s friends. It hardly seemed coincidental that Buttercup’s downturn coincided with Tyvul’s passing.
For a time, we were pet-less.
Bru arrived not long before I began working from home. Of late, he has become a little gray around the muzzle. So have I.
For all the grousing I do about being their servant, I am grateful that Bru and Coco lend me their ears and provide a diversion from whatever work I should be doing.
Probably because I promised to write about them, they have stayed out of my office and at present are sacked out on the living room couch, the one I put old bed sheets on, to keep it clean.
I should tell Bru and Coco that I am allowed only so many words for this column, so some of what I’ve written about them will have to come out.
But I won’t. This is their column.