Rosa Parks gets a lot of attention. She demands it. She has no qualms about scratching on the door twelve times in an hour, if she feels neglected, just for the little rub behind the ears she’ll get, whether or not she actually steps outside. She’ll disturb whatever activities I am involved in – doing dishes, writing, sleeping – to request a lift onto a piece of furniture, a bit of attention, or a treat. Right now, she is sitting at my feet, whining, because she knows I am enjoying a piece of buttered toast…and she has none.
I talk and write about Rosa Parks frequently, because there always seems to be something to say. She is so darn cute! Her name makes me smile. She has a strong personality, in good ways and bad. She will crawl right up to nuzzle my neck when she senses that I’ve had a bad day. She has no qualms about growling, snarling, or even snapping at the groomer, the veterinarian, or even me. She has to be put into “time-out” when company comes. I’ve had Rosa Parks the longest of my two dogs. If I were forced to choose a favorite, I’m afraid Rosa Parks would be it.
But I do have two dogs, and I love both of them. Darla gets side-lined sometimes, because she’s quieter in her requests. When she wants to be let outside or inside, she stands calmly at the door, no scratching or commotion. If I don’t notice, or can’t make it to the door right away, she will eventually furrow her brow and give out a slight whine.
Darla is too big to sit on my lap, so she settles for staying as close to me as possible. When I come out of the bathroom, she is always right there, waiting at the door. If I’m upstairs, she’s pacing below. If I stay up there too long, she will nervously climb the stairs. When I’m sitting at the desk, she is on her dog bed, right behind me. Sometimes Darla examines the tiny space under the desk, where Rosa Parks often sleeps on a rug at my feet, wishing that she could fit under there, too.
Darla is the best dog for a walking companion. When Rosa Parks joins us, I shorten the distance, because her little legs will only carry her so far. She doesn’t like crossing the road, and often has to be carried. She doesn’t like walking through mud. When she goes exploring through the brush on the sides of the path, I get nervous about predators, and have to call her back to me. She doesn’t always come.
Now and then, though, Darla and I sneak out for a walk, just the two of us. She’ll stick right with me, happily, no matter which direction I head or how far I go. She explores, but doesn’t wander too far from me. She comes when she’s called. She is friendly with anyone we encounter along the way. And for the entire distance, her ears bounce up and down – like the wings of a bird – in time with the wagging of her tail.
Recently, both of my dogs received Christmas presents through the mail. Two chew toys, and two stuffed animals. Rosa Parks feigned interest, but she doesn’t really enjoy toys. Darla was ecstatic! And, claimed every toy as her own. At one point, she was sitting on one stuffed animal, had the second one right beside her, and had both chew toys in her mouth. When I put one near Rosa, Darla whimpered and paced, and employed every distraction she could think of until she was able to reclaim it.
Darla’s favorite, now that she’s had time to get used to them, is the little, hot pink, stuffed dog with a crazy, tooth-full grin. She just loves it! It stays with her, wherever she goes inside the house. She tries to take it outside with her, but I won’t let her. She drops her toys when she gets outside, and forgets where she left them, so I make her leave that precious pink dog in the house.
When Darla’s ready to come back in, she sees the toy sitting there, on the floor, waiting for her. No more the calm, patient, uncomplaining dog that I’m used to, Darla stands right up on her hind legs and paws madly at the glass door. She barks until I get there to open it. She charges in, full steam, and pounces protectively onto the stuffed animal. Whew! She has once again saved it from Rosa Parks! The pink dog grins.