Money can’t buy happiness or Bashi and Lily until their “proposed” domicile is inspected, improved, and approved. Trudy, their conscientious breeder, arrives at our house with a briefcase and clipboard but no dogs.
“Let’s check out the backyard first,” she tells us opening the little gate by the garage. “Nice amount of yard,” she comments. “Fenced. That’s required.”
“Of course,” I say. “We’d never let them out in the front yard where someone might steal them.”
“Bashi will love those leather leaf viburnum.” Trudy says noting the back of the yard. “He’s bashful. He doesn’t like anyone watching him doing his business.”
“Oh,” I jump right in. “We wouldn’t think of watching him.”
“Of course not,” Ernest confirms. “A man–I mean a male—needs his privacy.”
Trudy hunch-walks around the perimeter of our yard. “You’ll need to put a little chicken-wire here,” she says, pointing to a three inch gap between the grass and the fence in the furthest back corner beyond the viburnum that she has crawled under.
“No prob,” Ernest says. “I’m on it.”
“Lily might like to dig,” Trudy says.
“We won’t let that little sweetheart dig herself out,” Ernest says.
“I think she’d like a baby’s sandbox with fine sand in it,” Trudy says. “Put it here.” She points to the corner of the garage. “Put toys in it for her to dig up.”
“Great idea,” I say. “Ah, I mean, thanks for the idea, Trudy.”
“Let’s check out your house, now,” Trudy says as she pulls open a sun porch door. As she does so, Asia, our black cat runs out. “A cat?” she says.
“Asia has no front claws,” I say.
“Rescued cat,” Ernest says.
“Cats are fine,” Trudy says. “But make sure its litter box is unavailable to the Paps…You know, some dogs like cat poop.”
“I didn’t know that,” I say.
“Asia’s box is hidden away,” Ernest says. “But not from Asia…no, not from Asia.”
I zip my lip hoping Ernest will see and zip his, too.
“It’s very good that you don’t have a doggie-door,” Trudy says. “You don’t want the dogs to go in and out by themselves. Hawks and Eagles prey on them. Coyotes, too. ”
“And deer could hoof them,” I say.
“Rhinos! Hippos! Elephants!” Ernest adds.
“This would be a good place to put their kennels,” Trudy says. She has entered our guest room. “Along this wall so they can see out the window.”
“Perfect!” Ernest and I say in unison. We never want overnight guests.
Trudy veers into the kitchen, pulls out a chair and sits down at our oak table. We join her.
“Would you like some coffee?” I ask. “Cake?”
“No, thanks. I just want you to read and sign our contract,” she says.
The contract contracts us to take good veterinary care of Bashi and Lily, feed them well, exercise their bodies, minds and souls, and prevent them from licentiousness and to write a hefty check for the privilege of doing so.
“In two months they’ll be ready to join you,” Trudy says.
How can we wait so long? Oh, Misery.
“My sister a vet and she’s the only one I trust to spaye and neuter my dogs,” Trudy explains.
“Okay,” I say barely above a whisper.
Trudy hands us their papers–Certified American Kennel Club pedigrees with their lineage spelled out and their fabulous given names: Lily’s name is Starquest’s Party on and Bashi’s is Starquest’s Everybody’s Talking.
No doubt that we’ll have a party that everybody will talk about!