A full trimester! That’s how long we have to wait for Bashi and Lily to join our family. Both of them have to be neutered by Trudy’s veterinarian sister—the only vet she trusts because anesthesia in little pups is dangerous, and even with her sister’s expertise the Paps will need time to adjust to their unnatural “non-breeding” status, a status we had to agree to in order to adopt them. Bashi has a quarter-inch turn in on his left front paw and Lily has a little subcutaneous cyst on her back. These “defaults” disqualify them from being bred according to Trudy, a dog judge and noble protector of the Papillon breed.
“What should I wear?” I ask Ernest.
“Clothes,” he answers.
“Yah, but what colors?”
“Dogs are color-blind,” my momentarily politically-correct husband asserts. “Just get dressed, already.”
“I’m consulting with Professor Google,” I yell from my study. “Guess what? Dogs see colors, but in a more muted way than we see the colors. Their favorite color is green.”
“Good thing grass is green,” Ernest says.
I run upstairs and put on my green Sedona shirt and–oh well–black pants.
Asia our cat runs downstairs. I go to the front-door, Ernest to the side-door. We have the unfortunate first-world problem of having the same ring tone at both doors.
“They’re here,” I yell. Trudy’s van is on our driveway and she is at the door holding two green and white twisted leads. They look like the lanyards I made at camp. Bashi is tethered to one lead, Lily the other. I cannot hold back my tears. They are even more beautiful than I remembered.
“Come in,” I say. “Come in…come in…come in.”
Trudy laughs. “Okay, she says, slipping the leads off their heads and hand signaling them to enter our house. “They are trained to never go in or out a door without permission,” Trudy explains but who’s listening? I’m petting Bashi’s tummy and Ernest is toting Lily into the kitchen.
Trudy goes to our sun-room and opens one of the glass-doors. “Okay,” she says to them “Out.” To us she says, “They’ve been in the car for a couple hours. They’ll love the grass.”
They’ve been separated from each other, too—recently for their surgeries, but earlier as six-month olds. Bashi being “shown” in Canada to compete and Lily being moved from one home after another after another because, although everyone in the Pap judging world thought she’d be the Westminster Best of Show, she showed them by refusing to mature and developing that nasty back-cyst just in case she did.
Ernest and I are mesmerized as we watch the Paps run around each other, faster and faster, feigning, jumping, croaching, Non-stop circling. No barks. Just chirps and moans. Little whirlwinds of ecstasy.
“I think we’re too old to have them,” I say to Trudy. I am out-of-breath just from watching them.
Bashi stops running, cocks his head, and retreats to the back foliage. Lily wags her tail and lets her nose guide her around the the perimeter of the back-yard.
“You’ll do fine,” she says. “Come on in, Bashi. Come, Lily.”