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The Importance of Being Ansley, Part 2: The Curious Incident of the Ansley in the PetSmart

Part one is two entries down. Title courtesy of Brigitte.

My actual dogs---I found pics on my phone

Quick links: Tour dates, Alabama and then all the Carolinas are coming up next. Come see me!

If I am not coming anywhere near you, this is REALLY the last day or two before VBS happens a the Alabama Booksmith, so Click Here to order and help support both an AWESOME Indie and my writing. It’s the right thing to do.

Bagel had been agitating for a dog-friend for a long time. He is a hound, and they are very packy sorts. So we haunted the pet rescue adoption days for quite some time, hunting a Bagel-friend. (and here it is understood that WE means me and the kids, while Scott made patient eyebrow shapes at us and tried not to tap his foot.)

Maisy Jane was advocating for a little smart girl dog, which is sort of my ANTIDOG. But she made a good case.

Small so she could walk the dog. Bagel is a scent hound, and he outweighs her, so she could never have a leash turn on our walks; he would drag her down the street whenever he smelled something truly compelling. Say, a dead woodchuck. He would haul her right to it, and then roll in it. No one liked that. Except Bagel. And after he did it, no one really liked HIM that much. At least not until he had been thoroughly bathed.

Smart because she likes smart things. She IS a smart thing, and so perhaps it is a case of like likes like.

And female because Maisy defaults, like my friend Sara, to liking GIRL animals; she presumes all her counter pets—fish and mice and newts and frogs—are girls, even though they have no visible genitalia. She names them Ashleigh and Anastasia and Annabel, while mine are presumed to be boys and get named Rufus and Dipstick and Pieterfreunde, and Sam’s are mostly called the gender-neutral name Spotty, whether they are fish or fowl, whether they have spots or not. They are all called Spotty, and they can LIKE it. (Often they do not even know they are named Spotty because many counter pets have no visible EARS.)

We went dog hunting in the adoption day cages for nigh unto a year. Casual. Just if we happened to be passing. Keeping an eye out. We didn’t want some random another dog. We wanted OUR other dog. The right dog. The love match perfect auxiliary dog.

One Sunday post-Church, the lines at Sam’s Club were 30 miles long, and we abandoned Scott with the cart and wandered across the lot of PetSmart to look. Jennifer’s Pet Rescue (where we got Bagel) is always there on Sunday afternoons. I was distracted by kittens and never even made it to the dogs, when Maisy Jane ran up and grabbed my hand and dragged me over to a cage to look at a long-bodied, bat-eared, small-eyed, worry-faced, moderately smelly little dog-like thingy.

Actual Ansley, Circa day one of her Adoption

Maisy Jane said, “MAMA, THIS IS HER! THIS IS MY DOG.”

I was quite doubtful. She looked pretty crappy to me, quite frankly. She was so WORRIED and HUNCHY…I was mightily unimpressed. But when Scott came driving up to get us in the overloaded-by-Sam’s-Club-Bargain-Bulk-Toilet-Paper car, Maisy Jane BEGGED him to just come look. She insisted she had found her most perfect exact dog. She was POSITIVE.

He rolled his eyes—he had been dragged to look at a good 35 or 40 dogs over the last year, but he parked and dutifully trudged up to run a cursory eye over the bat-eared mini-smellephant hunched nervously up in her cage.

He knelt by the cage and talked to her for a couple of minutes. And then he looked up at me and, in that same slightly surprised, musing tone he had used when he first laid eyes on Bagel, he said The Magic Words:

“This is a good dog.”

30 minutes and 20 pages of paperwork later, we somehow found room in the overstuffed car for an extra 17 pounds worth of passenger. It was Ansley.

Next up: Back Story is over, and we come to EAT, BAY, LOVE, (Jan) or How Ansley Made Me Flower into an Improved Personhood Even Though I Am Categorically Opposed to Spiritual Growth (me) , or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Ansley (Jill) or Ansley Way You Want It (Roxanne) or Ansley Which Way You Can (DebR) and so on.

12 comments to The Importance of Being Ansley, Part 2: The Curious Incident of the Ansley in the PetSmart

  • brigitte


    Also, I love that Scott has super-spidey-good-dog sense.

  • I am so glad that you got Ansley so Maisy doesn’t get her arm jerked out of socket each time the canine on the end of the leash needs to investigate. . .and as much as I LOVE my nod, I must Beloved up and say that I was just REPEATING DebR’s “Ansley Way You Want It” title because it was SO FUNNY. So, DebR is hilarious SQUARED. And it is stuck in my brain forever. I can HEAR Steve Perry singing it and the electric guitars playing their driving riff. It’s as though he got the lyrics wrong in the 80’s but they have managed to right themselves in my head.

  • DebR

    Roxanne=Funny!! 🙂

  • Lora in Florida

    Maisy Jane is stinkin’ adorable in that picture! I am sure she is stinkin’ adorable anyway but that picture, those eyes are killer!

  • I’m lovin’ the future blog titles. They are bril! I’m thinking you should just use all the great ones whether they apply or not over the next few blogs.

  • Lia

    I never get tired of hearing this story. Ansley and Maisy are very lucky.

  • Linda J

    When i look at those pics all i can say is of course she’s your dog. How can she not be?

  • Jill Sturgeon

    thanks for signing all my books today! Loved getting to meet you!

  • This is too funny, especially when write about the preference of counter pets to be girls and have girl names. When I was five or six, I captured a butterfly. Instead of releasing it, I decided to keep it as a pet. I did not know what you fed butterflies. I had no way to know if it was a boy or girl, but I named it Ruth. Believe it or not, I believed Ruth the butterfly was a boy despite the girl name. Thank you again for sharing.

  • JMixx

    I have lived with two boy dogs and two girl dogs, and I can tell you that I, too, am a “boy-dog” person. Chronologically, they have been: Ubu, girl mixed-breed (who looked like a Gordon setter/lab mix); Lear, a male Rottweiler; Wag, a male Pomeranian; and Echo, a female Pomeranian. The girls and the boys have been more similar to each other than the two Poms, or the two big dogs. The girl dogs are too smart. They are too stubborn, and independent, and determined to do what they want to do. My male dogs have been obedient; not especially smart; and absolutely devoted to their people. My girl dogs have been divas. As I tyP e tis, my current igrl dog is insisting on participating, even though her typing stinks. My male dogs were friendly with other people, but made it very clear that they loved me bestest; the girls are convinced that every human is on the planet for their immediate service. I love my girls, but the nicknames I give them betray me. My male dogs were nicknamed “Baby boy” (a 90-pound Rottie!) and “Sweetest of all possible sweet dogs”; the girls have been nicknamed “Worm Butt” and “Crazy Face” (although in a loving way, I swear!)

    So I can hardly wait for the rest of “Ansley’s Way.”

  • Brigitte

    Squee again! I just got my VBS book, thank you!!

  • I am in the middle of ACOKUP, and I clicked over here to see if you had posted a new post. . .and the voices of your THREE female characters CLASHED splendorifically with your for true voice over here. . .and my brain hurts now. I must go finish the book, because I cannot read IT and be a Beloved. This is your FIRST BOOK that has so many voices screaming at me that I can’t hear yours. . .is that odd? It’s a compliment, by the way.