From the Edmonds Vet: Travels with Charlize, in search of living alone

David GrossBy Dr. David Gross

Part 13: Yet another side of Charlize’s personality

We arrived in Phoenix but left Frog in San Diego. I will to return to San Diego after my sojourn in Phoenix to visit with my brother, his family and some old friends who are still living here as well as some snowbird friends. After averaging between 10 1/2 and 11 1/2 miles per gallon pulling Frog, Old Blue averaged 16 1/2 mpg while traveling 75 miles an hour on the freeways between San Diego and Phoenix. With gasoline costing $4.20, or more, per gallon in San Diego, I calculated that I saved at least $52 dollars on the trip here, anticipating an equal amount on my return.

My brother and his wife are owned by a Chihuahua mix. She is short on stature and gigantic on attitude like many of her ilk. She is also possessive. When we walked in their front door, that little dog let Charlize know whose house it was and that trespassers would be tolerated, at best. Her name is Madeline and Charlize avoids her as much as possible. Whenever Madeline has the opportunity she attacks, nipping at Charlize’s hind legs, going for the Achilles tendon. Charlize cowers and runs away but I’m afraid that at some point, probably when none of us are witnesses, she will turn on Madeline and do serious harm, but thus far she has not made a move to defend herself.

My brother Joe and his wife Carol have a two-plus acre lot filled with well-kept desert vegetation. The landscaping is unique, neat and starkly pretty if you grew up here in the desert and liked it. I did and I do. Charlize ran into a cactus while retrieving for my two grandnieces. She now understands to avoid those denizens of the desert — the cacti, not the nieces.

At 4 in the morning, my first night here, Naomi, almost 4 years old, got out of her bed and came into the room where her Daddy had been sleeping prior to my and Charlize’ arrival. Daddy was my nephew Andy, asleep on a blow-up mattress in the same room with the girls. Little Naomi walked over the mattress with her Dad on it and came into the room where Charlize and I were behind a closed door, then got into the bed where I was asleep on my right side. She was at my back so she crawled over me to get to my front and announced she wanted to snuggle. Charlize, ever watchful for intruders, had helped Naomi up onto the bed, nuzzling her behind. I guess I didn’t feel or snuggle the same as Daddy so Naomi started to fidget.

“I’m your Uncle Dave,” I explained. “Do you want your Daddy to snuggle with you?”

Publisher’s note: After his losing his wife of 52 years to cancer, Dr. David Gross has embarked on an extended road trip with his new dog, Charlize, and is writing about his experiences.

“Yes,” she answered.

“He is in your room sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Do you want to go join him?”

“Yes,” she said, and did, apparently nonplussed by the situation.

Andy and the girls live in Germany. The girls are both completely bilingual. Andy speaks to them in English and they speak to him in English. Their mother, a native German, speaks to them in German and they speak to her in kind. If in a situation where everyone is speaking German, Andy also speaks German. Their mother does the same in English when she is in an English-speaking situation, such as visiting here. Andy tells me that when he first spoke German to them, or their mother spoke English they were confused and a little upset that the parent was not communicating with them properly, but they soon adjusted and no matter which language is being used in the conversation they answer in kind. Oh, to be so fascicle with language.

 

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