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?