. . . continued from last Chix-a-Lot Friday, How I Met My One.
Well, we hopped in the car. I wouldn’t have known to call it that back then, I hardly knew anything at all. But The One has taught me a lot over the years. It smelled nice in the car, and the dog bed in the back was soft and cozy and not at all covered in dog food or drool or fur or pee. What a nice change. I was sleepy, but too nervous and excited to take the long-overdue nap I wanted. We drove for a while, and then we were there. I knew that because she told me: “We’re home!” And I didn’t know what that meant either, but I could tell by how she was smiling even though her eyes were watery that this was a good thing.
Well it turned out that “home” was a place with a few rooms, lots of soft places to lay down, a yard with lots of things to smell and even more mosquitos on the prowl, the two other girls who smelled like Mexican food and laundry, and the cutest kitten I ever did see! I didn’t know what to make of it all at first, but soon I realized that it wasn’t just a fun adventure like when The One was just Nice Lady and would take me to the enclosed field at the slammer to run around. I was going to get to stay with her. Forever.
I loved those two other girls who smelled like Mexican food and laundry, and I really loved my kitten. Only he wasn’t mine for real. But he was my roommate and my buddy. We would play chase and cuddle up for naps and he would play funny jokes on me like climb all the way to the top of the bookshelf and wait until I ran by looking for him, and then he would fly through the air and jump on me. Silly Illy.
So I started thinking I was going to have a pretty good life of rest and relaxation, right? Well, it turned out I was wrong. One day Mom woke me from my beauty sleep and informed me that I had to work to earn my keep! I didn’t know what that meant, but normally when we were going somewhere it was a fun thing, so I happily came along. It turned out that mom was taking me to a place that smelled of Mexican food and laundry and inducting me into a society of girls who smelled like Mexican food and laundry. The girls were all so excited to meet me, because they had heard all about me during their weekly staff meetings when mom would talk about me and cry and they convinced her that she should bust me outta the slammer because it was so obvious to them that we were each other’s Ones. They were such nice girls and in some ways I owe my life to them. And I was going to be their coworker!
The place we worked was Casa Marianella, which was nothing at all like the slammer. It was a nice house with lots of nice people, and was open to people who had traveled very far and didn’t speak English and were hungry and tired and scared and didn’t know where else to go. Because we lived in Texas, most of the people who came to visit spoke Spanish, which neither my one nor I spoke when we started working there (but we learned). The people visited for a few weeks, and during that time the girls and I helped them figure out how to find their families, where to live and work, helped them go to the doctor if they were sick, got them signed up for school, found them lawyers, and other Important Things like that. We also cooked dinner every night — usually beans and rice and whatever kinds of foods nice people donated, and we did laundry. Lots and lots of laundry.
Mostly the girls did those things. My duties were called “hanging out” and “playing soccer” and “cleaning up after dinner.” Here are some pictures of me in action doing my duties:
The funnest thing about my job there, other than getting to hang out with my One every day and eating chicken bones that the guys left in the yard even though the girls asked them not to, was getting to meet so many different people and change their minds about dogs as handsome as me. For some reason, a lot of the newcomers thought that if a dog was as gorgeous as me, he must be something to be frightened of. Perhaps they were worried that they were going to rub off my gorgeous white furs, or wipe away my beautiful brindle patches? Well in any case, lots of people thought they didn’t want to get near me at first, but my expert wooing and cuteness won them all over — from elderly blind men from rural Mexico to tiny babies from Honduras. I won them all.
We worked there for a year, my One and me. Sometimes I still think that was my funnest year ever because I got to be so busy working and playing with my friends. With 18-20 people living at the house at any time, I was never bored or lonely. There was plenty of food to clean up off the floor, and always somebody to play soccer with.
Stay tuned next week, when maybe — just maybe — my Other One will tell you what he thought of me when he first met me, and all the fun we had in those early days together as youngsters.