I forgot Lanie's birthday.
On May 1, 1999, six pups were born unto one "Rancho Kimme Gal." Among these, a red brindle female with an overbite registered as Texlan Sensation, 59B-80673.
In the late fall of 2005, I saw this picture.
"I need that dog," I told my husband / enabler. At the time, we had only Drive and we'd only had him for six months or so. I read the sad little story of Lanie's abandonment and surrender. I studied her overbite and funny, folded-over ear. I repeated, "I need that dog."
"Aren't you supposed to convince me that dog needs us?"
"She does. But you don't know her, you know me. And I'm telling you, I need that dog."
The moment she was available for adoption, we put Drive and our little girl (no little boy at the time) in the truck and drove three hours without making so much as a phone call. "We're here for Lanie," we told them.
"Er, yes?" They led us to the kennels out back and I passed any number of sweet, sociable animals. But I knew why I was there. We stopped in front of Lanie's kennel. Huddled and miserable, she took one look at us and barfed up several meals' worth of kibble. From the kennel worker there was a palpable air of We are never going to get rid of this one.
The whole situation suddenly seemed ridiculous to us, I guess. Husband and I started laughing uncontrollably as we asked if we could take her out for a walk and let her meet Drive in the yard. "Really?"
Outside, she ignored us and Drive completely, a striped mass of depression and disinterest.
"We'll take her," we said.
Yes, really and forever.
Lanie walked into our home, trampling over our hearts on the way, and peed on one of the couches. She then hoisted herself onto the other couch, flipped onto her back, and was home.
She's insecure and clingy, demanding and noisy, conniving and demanding. She's never more than five feet from me, if she can help it. Her big brown eyes follow me around the room. "I'm right here," I tell her all the time. "It's okay."
She's twelve years old. Yesterday she ran laps around me, leaping in the air and throwing up clods of grass and mud. She steals food and picks the trash and howls for attention. She is one of the sweetest and neediest creatures I've ever met, and I was right. I sure do need this dog.
We'll have a celebration for her this weekend.