Parenting and family, served with a shot of vodka
For the past three weeks, I’ve been trying to write a tribute of sorts to my late dog, Archie.
But what I’ve realized is that I’m not ready to do that yet. Every time I try to get into his story, it brings me to tears. Like, tears upon tears upon blubbering, gasping-for-air tears.
On Thursday, it will have been a year since his passing. I’ve been having a really hard time with the impending anniversary because so many emotions were (and are) wrapped up in this little Jack Russell Terrier.
In 2007, we witnessed Archie being dumped from a moving car in the middle of the night, and we wound up adopting him. Archie, who vets estimated to be 5 to 7 years old at the time, had health and social problems because of his life before us. With vets and trainers and time, we helped him re-learn how to trust people as much as he could.
Archie took his place in our household, and although he had a dominant personality, he submitted to the O.G. of the pet family — Miles, the 10-year-old cat. Archie was the best and most dedicated cuddle partner in all the land. Smart as a whip, he was the leader of all animal operations in our house. He had more personality than many people, and I miss him fiercely.
Plus, he was cute. Pure white with just one marking: A brown heart on his ear.
I’m still raw over his loss. I’m not ready to get deep yet.
Instead, I’ve decided to remember Archie with snapshots here and there, because there are so many of his stories to tell. Time can be so cruel when it comes to memories and my brain only has room for so much stuff. I want to remember all I can about this incredibly special dog.
So, I’ll start with his name(s).
We called him Archie because I thought it sounded like a “smart guy” name. He was highly intelligent, and my husband and I joked that one day when we had kids, Archie could help them with their homework. I added Warren because I feel all pets should have middle names.
But, as commonly happens, Archie wound up with a lot of nicknames, too. Archie turned into Archums, which morphed into Chumpy, which became Chumples and Chumplestiltskin.
He had “little dog syndrome” and liked to domination-hump our other dog, so Chumplestiltskin became Humplestiltskin and Sir Humps A Lot.
And like many other small dogs, Archie was no stranger to barking. So when friends came to stay with us, they dubbed him Baron Van Barklestein.
The last nickname he earned was bestowed upon him by Sweet Pea when she was less than a year old: “Ahh-chee.” She said it complete with a Boston accent and everything. It was her first real word other than mama and dada.
Of course, Sweet Pea doesn’t even remember Ahhchee now. But I can’t — won’t let myself — forget him. The cuddly space next to me, right up against my leg, has been vacant for almost a year now. I still look down there and miss him from time to time.
Working and writing just isn’t the same without you, Archie Warren Draper. I love you, buddy.
Let’s turn this frown upside down. Do your pets have nicknames? If so, what are they and how’d you come up with them?
George is called Porgie a lot, and Jane is just called Fat Dog.
But together, they are the Fat and Fluffy Brigade.
Sometimes I just say, “Jane, you ignorant slut.”
Lisa, one of my fave SNL skits ever! Love it.
When I brought out first kitten home, I said we wouldn’t keep her, so we gave her a ridiculous name: Little John Tesh, because both my husband and I had heard a story on John Tesh that week about people with pets living longer. When we finally gave in to her cuteness and decided to keep her, we named her Mila, short for Jamila, which means beautiful in Arabic. Henceforth, she will forever be known as “Jamila Little John Tesh O’Donnell.”
Our second kitten, Banjo (named at the shelter, kept for the Louisville bluegrass nod), was always confused when Mila occasionally got a “ja” in from of her name and he did not. So that morphed in Jabanjo, which naturally needed unchained after it, renaming Banjo “Jabanjo Unchained O’Donnell.”
Hahaha, Reem, those are terrific names. Love!! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Oh, your story makes me sad for my little dog Sara. You remember Sara. She passed on several years ago now, but, to this day I still miss that crazy beast of dog. Named by our daughter after a friend who became forever known as “Sara the Person,” the dog became “Sara the Dog.” That pup of ours quickly earned herself other nicknames…like “Wombat” for her crazy floppy ears and “Deer Legs” (as Terra can attest) for her ability to kick the crap out of you with them. We loved that dog and Shawn used to (and still would to this day) call her the “Most Photographed Dog Ever.” Her collar and dog tags still sit on our mantel.
Haha, Deer Legs! That totally creates a visual. Love! Thanks for reading and commenting, Tina. 🙂
My first dog was a pet store rescue. A pure, AKC certified, Jack Russell Terrorist named Georgia. I don’t quite know how the name came to me, but it did. She’s my Miss Georgia, Miss G, and Sister. She’s a diva, alpha Terrorist… just like me. She’s never met a person she didn’t like, or a meal she didn’t eat. She’ll charm you in a heart beat, loves to swim, and as she’s grown over her last 16 years, become an institution at Casa de Terrell. Kiddos love her, my parents adore her, and my mother calls her Buddha, as she’s a higher being… so much more than a dog.
As she’s gotten older, she’s also gotten several names. Georgia, to Miss G, to peanut, to my little Cheeto, to fatty, to Sister, to my dirty dawg. She loves to roll in mud, dirt, grass, or any fecal pile/slime trail/puke or general nastiness she can find… and of course – her pure pink puppy belly has become riddled with spots (freckles)… which is where the dirty dawg name originated from… Now it is because she’s got stinky old gal breath, a completely brown belly, and in her old crunchy age STILL loves to roll in the nearest nastiness… proud as punch.
At the age of 7, Miss G got a new little brother… we adopted him (another Jack Russell Terrorist) and he, like Archie, had a past that no dog should have. He does not like children, and has the scars to show for it. He came to the house named Turbo from the rescue group – cause the boy can MOVE. When he gets to runnin’, God help ya, cause no one can catch him. He’s part Jack Russell part Gazelle. Well Turbo just didn’t fit this timid lil’ man. He came to us at 10 pounds… and skinny, tiny, and quiet. He attached to me instantly, and LOVED to survey the back 40 on top of the dog condo my husband built for the dogs. So we thought… “Scout”… we called him Scout – for about 2 weeks… and he never really responded to it, but we thought he was just getting used to his surroundings.
One day, over beers (as you do) – we were talking about how Scout was doing… and our dear friend Eddie (now departed, God rest his soul… we miss you Eddie!) said “Aw, I wanted to send a name to you when you were thinking about names for Scout… I guess it is too late now.” And we asked what he was going to submit… and that was the moment that greatness happened.
… “McLovin” he said… and Da Hubs and I realized… That.Was.The.Name. So we came home from our evening out – and got out of the car and said “McLoviiiiin” and low and behold if that little booger didn’t jump outta his dog condo, shoot across the back yard, and come sit right next to my husband. Well McLovin he became.
He holds true to his name, that little pervert. He loves “da ladies”… I mean LOOOOOOOOOOVES women. He works em over with his little face and skinny man syndrome, an within 5 minutes of meeting any woman, will be happily perched in her lap, getting lovin’s and (dirty little dawg) have one paw resting protectively on her boob. He’s a smooth little dawg… McLovin through and through… if you’ve seen Superbad, you can almost envision him saying “Wicka-wicka yeaaaaaaaaahhhh” as he hops in his next victim’s lap.
My little heathens are a handful, smarter-n-shit, and cutter than all get out. I can’t imagine my life without them, and I treasure each moment – as Sister is pushing 17, and McLovin (aka: Bubba Man, my little ballerina dog, and “idiot”) is somewhere between 10-12.
All I can say, is I’m certain I would love to come back in my next life as one of our dogs, as I’m certain you gave Archie the life he was meant to live….
Maria, thank you so much for sharing your stories. Jack Russells are like no other dogs, and I loved hearing about yours. I laughed out loud, and it made me remember so many of the funny things about Archie. He was a lap and woman stalker, too. He and McLovin likely would have run in the same dog circles.
Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Truly, a great read. 🙂