KFC

This little painting has been with me for about 10 years. It followed me from place to place and has always been visible in my home. It’s a couple of Boston Terriers eating chicken and was a gift from my friend Pam.

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Here’s the back story….

Robinson brought home some KFC one evening after work. He set the KFC box on the kitchen counter before he jumped in the shower. Post shower, he returns to the kitchen and asks me, “Did you have a piece of my KFC?”

I say no. Then we look at each other and knew. Oscar!!!

IMG_0317.JPGThe counter was too high for little Oscar to reach. We think he must’ve hopped up onto a kitchen chair, then onto the kitchen table and from there jumped onto the kitchen counter. He was somehow able to get his little flat face into the KFC box and took a piece of chicken. He also must’ve knew it was wrong, because when we found him, he was hiding under a blanket on the couch eating the piece of KFC.

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Moving Day: Part II

When we moved back to the States, at first it was just Oscar and me. We lived in a hotel room for a few days and I remember Oscar really liked the carpet there. It was that short, rough, gross carpet that usually comes along with hotel rooms, but Oscar loved to roll around on it and scratch his back. I would wake up in the middle of the night and hear him rolling around on it. Then he’d try to jump back up on the bed. It was a high bed and he made it up about 75% of the time. I moved a chair in front of the window so he could look out during the day.

From there we moved into a pretty depressing unfurnished apartment for a few months. I honestly don’t know if the apartment was that depressing or that it was such an isolating and hard time that I remember it as depressing. The only outlet I had was walking Oscar around the block – a block that took 20 minutes to walk around since it was developed in the urban sprawl of Tyson’s Corner. There was a little swamp where a flock of geese hung out. The geese would hiss at us and chase us when we walked by. It sucked, but I had my little friend with me.

After a few months, Robinson moved back and we lived in another apartment temporarily. This apartment was furnished and the owner left a dog kennel in it. Oscar didn’t like the place. I could just tell. I remember him walking by the dog kennel and then lowering his head a little and looking at me really sad. That kennel was stressing him out. I think he thought it was for him. I got rid of the kennel immediately.

After a few months there, we moved again into the place we have now. I don’t remember Oscar being stressed out that time around. Maybe it was because we didn’t have a lot of stuff at that point so it didn’t feel like a move, maybe because he was used to it, or maybe he just knew it would be okay. At any rate, the place we’ve been at the last almost three years has treated all three of us well and I hope it continues too.

Moving Day: Part I

We lived in our cute little home on 5th Avenue for the first 5 years of Oscar’s life. We had a fenced in backyard that was Oscar’s domain. When we sold that house, as part of our downsizing efforts to move abroad, I was worried about what Oscar would think and how he’d adjust.

On that move, everything was packed in boxes. Oscar stopped eating for a day, and then started pooping all over the house. Although he had never experienced a move before, he could clearly pick up on the energy and was nervous and unsettled.

We moved into the top part of a duplex not far from our old house. I hated that place, but I knew it was temporary. There were two good things about that place: the doors were old and the latches worn. Oscar figured out by day 2 that if he pushed hard enough on the door or ran into it, it would open. After enough successful attempts, Robinson gave up on keeping the bedroom door closed at night at Oscar finally started sleeping with us. The other good thing about that place is that it had a wraparound porch and when the weather was nice, Oscar would go out there during the day and sit and wait for me to come home from work. I could see him up there as I neared the duplex and he’d get excited and run to the door.

After 2 years at that stupid duplex, Robinson went to Bogota and Oscar and I moved into Bob’s basement for three months.  Oscar was nervous again as we sold furniture, boxed up our reduced belonging and moved to Bob’s. I always wondered if he understood he’d see Robinson again soon, if he was confused why he wasn’t there or how much he missed him.

When I got ready to move from Bob’s to Bogota, Oscar seemed to pick up on a different type of energy. The day my parents came to get me, I started moving my few remaining suitcases and boxes outside. Oscar followed me and wouldn’t come back into Bob’s house. It was as if he thought if he did go back inside, he’d be left behind.

He had to go into his little travel bag on the plane. The first flight was rough. Then he seemed to accept it and understand. He adjusted to our new little apartment in Bogota. This apartment had interior facing windows and he’d watch out the window as people came up the steps. He seemed to know when it was Robinson or me coming up and I could watch him get excited to see us.

We moved to a second apartment in Bogota. He was less nervous this time around, only getting really clingy when the movers came. We rode in the cab of the moving truck and when he pulled up in front of the new apartment, I got out first while Robinson held on to Oscar. Oscar wasn’t having it and jumped out of his arms to get to me.

Oscar Se Fui

Oscar had a great vet when we lived in Bogota. She would come to our apartment to pick him up, and even though she had a truck with kennels in the back for the dogs, she let Oscar ride in the front with her. We boarded Oscar with her when we were traveling and, although I never asked, I’m pretty sure they took him home with them every night instead of leaving him in the kennel with the other dogs.

I recommended her to a friend who was also living in Bogota at the time and she began to board her dog there too. My friend moved back to the States, then we moved back to the States, then my friend moved back to Bogota. When she returned to the vet with her dog, our vet told her, “Oscar se fui.” Oscar left.

I was so touched she remembered Oscar and that Oscar left an impression on her, as I believe, he does with everyone he meets.

Always making a good first impression…

On the second day that Oscar became my dog, I brought him to see my dear friends, Lauren and Cathy. I had been babysitting Lauren since she was nine months old. She was 9 years old when she wrote this entry in her diary, commentating the first time she met Oscar. It’s clear he made a strong first impression.

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Her mom recently found this diary entry when cleaning. Lauren is now 22 years old.

The Only Time I Miss the Cold

It’s late July in Washington, D.C., meaning it’s hot. Really hot. There is no way around that. Oscar has taken to either sleeping on the couch or at the very bottom of the bed, away from any and all body heat. I get it, but I really miss snuggling with him at night.

I remember the winter we were moving to Bogota. Robinson had already left and I was living in Bob’s basement. It was a very cold Minnesota winter and there was one small baseboard heater in the basement. Oscar was cold and would snuggle so close to me at night.

One night I was sleeping on my back and Oscar was snuggled under my arm right next to me. I rolled onto my side, leaving a space between us. He wasn’t having that and scooted over closer, snuggling alongside my back. I don’t know why I remember that – of all things –  but I do. I think I always will.

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Oscar last weekend. It looks like he’s smiling, but he’s panting in the heat.

Oscar’s Burning Questions

If Oscar could talk, the burning questions I think he would ask me are:

1.) Why do you do that to the bed everyday?

2.) What is that little square you carry around and look at all the time? And why do you sometimes point it at me?

Poor Oscar. Every morning he’s nested into our bedding and every morning I pull the bedding from under him and make the bed, only to have him un-make it and build another next for himself. He must wonder why I make the bed and probably sees absolutely no point to that ritual.

I also think he wonders about my iPhone. It’s almost always with me. I look at it, touch it, talk into it, and when I want to take a picture or video of him, I point it at him, say his name and try to get his attention (like I did to get the photo below of him last night). Then I look at the phone, smile and make comments about the picture I took in a baby voice. I think he wonders why.

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I was trying to get Oscar’s attention. The Big Guy looks absolutely thrilled.