And Then There Was One
A Love Story
by Larry Turner

We have had many dogs and cats over the years, some purchased from kennels, and many rescued from the Florida Keys or elsewhere.  They were always a special part of our family, but one day we found ourselves alone after having moved into a new home in a new county.

My wife started looking at puppies at a nearby pet store, initially without my knowledge, but as she fell in love with a young male pup she brought me into the equation.  I am pretty much a sucker for most animals, so I wasn’t a hard sell.

Our first four-legged Broward County “child” was a tiny, pure white furry Maltese-Pomeranian mix who was about the size of what the Coast Guard often seizes off our coastline.  So, we called him “Kilo.”  His whiteness was punctuated by his pitch-black nose and big black peepers.  Dashing he was. 

He never liked other dogs very much, and when his mother took him to a place where there were other pooches, he would pee on her shoes to “mark” her so that other dogs would not approach her for a scratch or two. 

We later discovered that the only other dogs he tolerated were those we added to the mix a few months later.  The rationale for the next addition adopted by my wife was that Kilo would be lonely when we went out shopping or to enjoy dinner for two.  Wait until you hear the justification for #3.

My wife continued to stake out the local pet store and literally fell head over heals for a Yorkie puppy who we named “Kola.”  I cannot remember how that name was developed, but I think I was the culprit.  Kola had a light brown head and had dark black/brown fur down her spine, but her most appealing feature was that she loved everyone.  The next most-loved feature was her nose, which was short and looked like it turned up at the end just a bit. 

Kola was beautiful to behold and loved life.  Most of all, she loved chasing around with Kilo when they were puppies.  Her favorite position was to lay upside down on either of our laps while watching television or just having a conversation. Unfortunately, Kola had health issues with a twisted lung that had to be partially removed and with the gradual onset of blindness. That didn’t prevent her from being eternally happy and roughhousing with her brother, who adored her.

Now comes the part of explaining why my wife added #3.  She remembered how delightful it was when Kilo was a pup to take him to an outside restaurant or just for a ride in the car, and we could no longer do that because it would leave one dog alone and, of course, that couldn’t be tolerated.  So, the day came when I was escorted to a different pet store where I was asked to talk to a brown ball of Yorkie fur who had no time for me, or anyone else for that matter.  She didn’t bother to open her eyes and just balled up tighter.  But I knew my wife wanted her, so home she went with the moniker of “Lucky Lou.”  Lou was my wife’s father’s nickname and I guess we were “lucky” to have her, or something like that.

I never warmed up to her official name, so I adopted the nickname “Tweets” after the Peanuts yellow feathered character in the comics.  If you don’t see the connection, I don’t blame you.  I can’t either, but it stuck.

Tweets was not as beautiful as her sister and not very playful, except with her brother who chased her around the room for excitement.  She also loved having her sister lick her ear. 

Tweets didn’t appear to have much of a personality at first, other than to expose her extremely long tongue from the right side of her mouth, which made her look a little like someone at a Pub who had stayed too long.  Her only expression of a personality was that she hated to see anyone leave the house without her, and she barks incessantly when one deigns to do so.  Upon returning home, she runs to her mother and lays upside down, like her sister, in her lap seeking affection.  But when we are all relaxed in the family room, she usually seeks refuge in her father’s lap where she is stroked to sleep by her adoring Papa.

Kilo and Kola died unexpectedly in 2020, he from an apparent heart attack and she from her overtaxed lungs filling with blood.  Each died within minutes of our recognizing their problems and both were gone in about the time it took to get them to the nearby veterinarian. 

Initially, Tweets responded to her loneliness with total withdrawal.  We, in turn, tried to cuddle with her when she accepted us and otherwise catered to her as much as possible.  Gradually, she has developed her own loveable personality and our lives would be devastated were we to lose her.  She is around ten years old, and is healthy for a small dog that age.  She loves to leave the house for a ride or an alfresco meal at a local establishment.  Interestingly, although she loves to be stroked by her father at home, when outside the house she gravitates to her mother for affection and protection.  Go figure.

The other day, my wife broached the subject of #4 “to keep Tweets company.”  The diatribe from my mouth that followed staved off an immediate new addition but one of these days I may find myself being invited somewhere when I will be introduced to a furry beast that will captivate my heart just as it will have already done so with my wife.

I guess I better start working on another name!