Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Daughters' Little Brother or From Dallas to the Holy Land

When my girls were young my older daughter was afraid of dogs. Full disclosure: she wasn’t the only one, my husband wasn’t that comfortable around them either. In order to cure their fear, I suggested that we get a dog. As a devoted father, my husband  agreed and we looked for a small dog that was good with children. 

Wolfie, our toy Pomeranian, became  my daughters’ little brother. We got him when he was 7 months old  and since then his tiny paws have hardly touched the floor. My daughters carried him around in their arms (or tucked under their arms), made him rest in their laps and sleep in their beds. He was never left alone and they even dressed him up in their baby clothes. When finally the girls were away at school the exhausted dog spent the day resting.  

Several days prior to his arrival my younger daughter got up  in the morning and said “I dreamt that we had a little dog and his name was  Wolfgang” and so it was. Wolfgang Amadeus Raz was welcomed to our family, and like that other genius, his name was shortened to Wolfie.

Wolfie was a true Texan. Born and partly raised in Dallas, he came from a lineage of pure breed champion show dogs. But since he was born with several defects (an over-bite and a weak knee), he was sold as a pet.  His breeders looked for a good family to adopt him, and before we  were chosen our whole family had to pass an interview. Even on the night when we took Wolfie home my girls had yet another grooming lesson, and had to promise one last time that  they would take good care of the dog, which they always did. . 

The newcomer Wolfie had already been neutered when he joined our family. Sometimes when my husband felt frustrated in being surrounded only by women in our family, he would turn to little Wolfie and commiserate “the men in this family are in the minority and even you, my friend, are fixed.”  It wasn’t a very politically correct statement, but our good-natured  Wolfie didn’t mind.

At the age of 3 Wolfie crossed the Atlantic and immigrated to the holy land with us. Like the rest of the family, he had to get used to the change and to be adaptable. Instead of a big house with a swimming pool, two-car garage, and a large garden in the suburbs of Fort-Worth, his new home was a tiny  2 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor of a building in the center of Tel Aviv. Moving into town also meant that he no longer heard the sound of summer cicadas in an otherwise silent night; the constant noise of cars and sirens kept him awake at night.

Having Wolfie with us made the move to Israel much easier, as he was always there waiting for my girls when they came back from school, and new friends were happy to come over and play with the friendly dog.

 Tel Aviv remained a scary place for Wolfie. He didn’t like to take walks anymore, and was terrified of crossing  the road.  Unlike my girls who eventually got used to Tel Aviv and loved it, he never became a city dog. It was a great relief for him once we moved to the suburbs and Wolfie resumed being a Texan dog. 

In retrospect, I wonder why did we buy a pure-breed dog, instead of taking a rescue from a shelter? How come that a young  Toyota Corolla family owned a Rolls-Royce dog? But revisiting this decision, I realize that we wanted to minimize risks and to make sure we got a dog with a known personality from people who  loved him. 

 Children often ask for a dog but later, lose interest and let their parents assume responsibility caring for the pet. For us getting Wolfie was one of the best decisions we made as a family. Perhaps it was because of Wolfie’s lovely personality, but even when we lived on the third floor with no elevator in Tel Aviv, my daughters felt that it was a privilege to take care of Wolfie.  And if you can believe it, in spite of his minute size, our Wolfie cured all the members of my family of their fear of dogs.

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