But this time, she’s got a whole verse and chorus, and a sweet melody. It’s about our new bowser named Lizzie. Lizzie’s an Aussie (Australian Shepherd), normally long of hair but we’ve shorn her and she looks like a hound on the front half, and a rotweiler on the back half.
Sweet disposition, and loud voice, she’s devoted to Adrienne, and follows her like a little shadow. Sleeps on her bed at night. Guards her diligently against the cat, and sometimes me.
It wasn’t always this way for Lizzie. She’s had a hard life, poor little rich girl.
Lizzie is pure-blooded, with papers somewhere, originally bought from the breeder by a very wealthy man as a gift to his wife. When I say wealthy, I really and truly mean wealthy. For example, Marin county is the most expensive county in northern California, andthis guy lives in one of the most expensive homes in Marin. It’s up for sale, just now, for ten million. So, you know, wealthy. Let’s just call him “Richie Rich”.
Lizzie was a sweet gift, I suppose, but unfortunately, neither the man nor the wife know bupkis about dogs. Dogs aren’t trinkets for setting on the shelf. A dog needs to be a member of a pack. And Lizzie was largely abandoned, spending the nights locked in the laundry room, left alone for weeks at a time as Richie and Mrs. Rich journeyed to their home in New York, their home in London, their home in Malibu, or their home in Tokyo.
Other than being imprisoned and having to wait 12 hours to pee, Lizzie had some care, from the housekeeper. And that’s where Adrienne, formerly of Adrienne’s All-Weather Dog-Walking business, came in. Adrienne dog-walked Lizzie daily, and did pet-sitting for weeks at a time. Adrienne is Lizzie’s best pal.
When Adrienne announced our departure to move to Mount Shasta, all her clients said, “Oh, no!” except for Richie Rich. He said, “Can you adopt Lizzie? I’ll pay you.”
And when we moved, Mrs. Rich asked Adrienne to come and pet-sit, though it was a five-hour drive. Skipping over a lot of hassle and driving, Lizzie came to pet-sit with us, pending an adoption agreement. At the last minute, on Adrienne’s voicemail, Mrs. Rich left the message, “Oh, and can you take Kittie too?”
As it happened, on that day, Adrienne had driven to Marin with a raging flu. She was weak and hallucinating, and overlooked the wise response which would have been to turn down the Kittie deal, since we had no place to stash Kittie. Alas, she had no energy for debate, and hallucinating with fever, brought Kittie to Mount Shasta.
Thus it was that we stored Kittie and catbox underfoot in my tiny office. It was less than a joy forever, though Kittie was a sweet cat. Big guy. They’d pretty much abandoned him as well, sometimes left for weeks without food, so Kittie had learned to stalk and kill moles in the woods behind the mansion. A rugged individual.
And thus it was that Kittie, confused after escaping the office one night, bit rescuing Adrienne’s hand and put Adrienne into the hospital for six days over Christmas, gave her an infection which brought her close to death, and required her to take medicines which made her sick as hell for weeks. Come to find out, Richie and the Mrs. had never bothered to get Kittie his shots.
In the meantime, during these three months, Richie and Mrs. Rich were “too busy” to talk with us regarding the adoption. Lizzie had come into our home, and for the first time in her life, found herself a member of a proper pack. She slept in the same den, she had her sister Tulip (our border collie) to help guard the house and sniff out the yard, and she had company round the clock. Alone no more, it was heaven for Lizzie.
During this time, Adrienne didn’t know whether the adoption was on or off. Richie Rich had claimed he’d pay her, but how much were we talking about? We couldn’t reach him to discuss it.
Should we just take on her expense? Was I a cheapskate to request our expected cash out of pocket like food, clipping, and vet costs?
Hard to say. On a spreadsheet, for Lizzie’s expected lifespan, these costs total a surprising $25,000, but this shouldn’t be difficult for a guy that spent $170,000 on a fence, and contributed a cool million to a recent political campaign.
We sent this off to the Riches. But heard nothing. I guess they were “too busy“, and they were away to London.
When Adrienne last saw her, Mrs. Rich had deferred discussion to Mr. Rich, and Adrienne now deferred to me, and so, man to man, or rather, voicemail to fax-machine, me and Richie went over the figures. At the end of this baloney, Mr. Rich claimed that “they just missed Lizzie too much”. By this time, Adrienne is in love with Lizzie, and Lizzie is a member of our household. Send her back? Unthinkable.
Adrienne asks, angrily, “What kind of people would consider giving up their family dog?”
I have to agree. What kind of people are these? And I didn’t believe they wanted her back. I suspected the guy loved his money more than the dog, and was just looking for a cheaper way to get rid of it. And while we have no mansion in Ross, we can afford to feed the dog.
After more delays, I trapped Richie on the phone. It soon became clear that it was all about the money, and nothing to do with love. I asked what he’d meant when offering to pay for Lizzie’s adoption. He paused.
“That’s a fair question,” he said. “I guess I thought I’d just send her off with a small check, perhaps $3000.”
“Done,” I said.
Lizzie is now ours. The guy’s a lawyer, did I mention that? He faxed a document, call it a bill of sale, or a release of liability. We signed it. He sent a check.
I’m happy for Lizzie, I like her. I’m happy for Adrienne. Lizzie is a great addition to our pack. It’s a good deal.
But you know, dealing with these people left me less than impressed. It would appear that, just because you sit near the front of the airplane, it really can’t make you a first class person.