I had such plans for my new Shih Tzu puppy. Angel would be a pink fashion plate. Everything belonging to her would match: ribbons, halter, parka, toys, and bed. For our first walk, I buckled the Eastside Collection salmon-pink collar with embossed flowers and clipped on her matching leash.
“Pretty in pink,” a neighbor said.
I thought her rose-tinted life was here to stay.
Not long after I had recycled the sales slip, Angel heaved her new pink bed left and right, pulled the inserted pillow out, ripped the lining, and then fall asleep on the taupe carpet. Disappointed, I replaced her bed with a durable beige and olive cushion, a pillow that Angel could burrow and toss, but not destroy.
And, oh, the toys. Her fuchsia pet pig “passed” after Angel chewed its legs and straightened its curly tail. She refused to play with her rose-eared lamb, and when we checked out replacements, she preferred a bright red hound dog. Angel chewed, pounced, and attacked, but the furry creature stayed in one piece.
February and March entered and exited wet and grubby—just like Angel. After too much scrubbing, the once snazzy leash and collar began to fade and fray. Sadly, I put both in the garbage and purchased a sturdy, dark-green combination that wouldn’t show the dirt.
“What happened to her dainty leash?” another neighbor asked.
“She’s not a dainty girl,” I answered.
Not all was lost. Two months after her first birthday, Angel still had her neon-pink Guardian Gear rain jacket. Until her teeth marks dented the Velcro. Until putting it on her became a struggle. Dipping and dodging, she scooted away, hid under the table, and ultimately won the parka battle. When we took our afternoon walk in the rain Angel was a tog-free but drenched little Shih Tzu.
“She needs a jacket,” a neighbor said. “You don’t want her to get a cold.”
Chastened, I searched through the pet catalog, and with a sigh, bought her the Casual Canine Barn Coat advertised as the “. . . ideal covering for rugged, outdoor dogs.”
What came of my desire to synchronize Angel’s wardrobe and belongings? I surrendered any hope that Angel would be pretty in pink. On sunny days she struts in purple; on rainy days she wears a red and black plaid slicker, though, just for the fun of it, I do have a substitute pink leash with silver decorations. So far, she wears it without a fuss.
At night, after a raucous run-around (not for long, because we’re both a decade older than these Facebook, blog photos), Angel settles, not in a pink boudoir, but on a brown throw.
Among nature’s mysteries, who really knows what motivates our animal companions? At times, especially when she gets this human look in her eye, I wonder if my eight pound, clever pup decided not to be defined merely by rosy hoodies or blush-toned hair bows.
Whatever the reasons, I’m tickled pink she’s mine.