Licorice is pretty much exactly what we imagined, when people told us about how great it would be to adopt a rescue dog. “They’re just so grateful,” people said. “They bond to you in a way other dogs don’t. They just love you SO MUCH.”
[Come to think of it, people tried to tell me that about kids before I had them. And not ONCE in any of those conversations did anyone mention a hormonal tween screaming and incoherent with rage, stomping up the stairs, all because I said “Please go change into a pair of pants that don’t look like you just pulled them out from the laundry pile under your bed.”]
But Licorice, man. Licorice is LOVE. Wherever we are, that’s where she is. She spends every evening in my lap. Her whole body wags when the kids come home. She is completely, undeniably, OURS.
“We got the best dog in the whole world,” I will often remark to my longsuffering husband, as Licorice sprawls on my lap at night. When I’m under the weather, like I’ve been the last couple of days, she leaps into bed with me and actually sighs with contentment as she arranges herself so that as much of her is touching as much of me as possible. She’s about as close to canine perfection as we could’ve hoped.
Which is why it came as a total surprise, this weekend, when she ran off.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Hell, it’s probably the same thing I was thinking—can these people somehow not manage to keep a dog on their property? I mean, I’m willing to chalk the whole Super Saga up to one part our stupidity and three parts him being feral, but when it happens with a NICE dog who seems to LOVE US, then a person does indeed need to start wondering “What the hell?”
But on Sunday we were going in and out and—as usual—Licorice sat by the screen door, tail thumping, watching to see who was coming in to scratch her ears. And somehow the door went *bang* as it does, and suddenly Licorice was outside, not on a leash.
“Licorice!” I called. “Silly dog! Come here, sweetie.”
She looked at me for a second, and then she RAN.
You know that feeling, the one where your heart seems to simultaneously STOP and also beats a million beats a second? That one? That’s what happened. I took off after her, up the driveway, calling her name. She raced on, ears flying behind her, clearly enjoying her unfettered sprint. I kept calling her name and she didn’t even turn back, that rotten thing.
She hung a right at the end of the driveway and darted down the street. A neighbor couple was walking their dog in our direction and Licorice barreled towards them. I raced behind her, like a lunatic, calling her name.
Also? Now would be a good time to point out that at just twelve pounds, I declare this animal to be ridiculously fast given her size. Shouldn’t I be able to outrun a twelve pound dog??
Licorice pulled up about ten feet from the walking neighbors and stood there, tail wagging madly, barking at their dog. This allowed me to run up and grab her, and she was completely startled.
Then she licked my face and turned back to the neighbor dog, again. If I was reading her doggie body language correctly, Licorice was telling me, “Oh, fancy meeting you here! I LOVE YOU! And look what I found! Another dog! YAY!”
I apologized to the neighbors (their dog was mostly unbothered, though she did seem slightly perplexed by the entire encounter) and then walked home with my arms full of wagging, licking dog.
Since then I have been calling her Nonobaddog. I like to think she looks a little apologetic when I call her that, but it’s hard to tell because she’s usually licking my eyeballs and that makes it hard to see.
And that’s how we learned that grateful doesn’t necessarily mean “not rotten.”