When we decided to rent our house to my daughter and her family, there were a few things which went with the rental — everything in the garage including a 1948 CJ2A Willy Jeep which hasn’t run or seen daylight in the 30 years I’ve been married to my husband and Gatsby. My daughter hasn’t decided which was the worst part of the deal — but Liam (my 2-year-old grandson) has definitely decided that Gatsby was the best present he could have ever received.
Gatsby is 80 pounds of stupid and was ‘free’ – and don’t forget you get what you pay for. He is a mutt who looks like a Chesapeake Bay Retriever — or some sort of lab mix. He was really cute as a puppy — a nice chocolate-brown, with big expressive brown eyes and a bit of white on his chest which gave him the appearance of a teddy bear whose stuffing was starting to come out. However, Gatsby grew out of his ‘cute’ phase rather quickly and just became a big dog who thought he was a small dog. And if anyone ever tells you that neutering a dog will calm him down — they are either liars or have never owned a dog. Gatsby obviously never got the memo that neutering was supposed to make him passive — I told you he was stupid!
When Gatsby lived with us he was a hyperactive, territorial dog who thought that Pat (my husband) was his pack leader and open to wrestling at any time of the day or night. If you have never been tackled by an 80 pound beast — I would be happy to let Gatsby come stay with you for a while — or you can get the same sensation by standing behind a screen door and letting a small child slam it into you a few times! If you dared to go into the backyard, Gatsby would grab a tree branch and want to play fetch. The only problem was that Gatsby wasn’t happy with your average stick — noooo — he wasn’t happy unless he had found a piece of wood that was the approximate size of an average toddler — and he really didn’t want to play catch — he wanted to play tug-of-war or hit-you-across-the-back-of-the-knees-until-you-pay-attention-to-me.
I wasn’t worried about leaving Gatsby with the grandchildren because the only person he seemed to be crazy with was my husband – must be the leader of the pack mentality. Pat didn’t want to leave him but our apartment would only accept dogs under 70 pounds and we would have had to amputate one of Gatsby’s legs (or possibly two) in order to meet the guidelines.
Pat may have been upset about losing Gatsby, but Liam has been ecstatic! It was truly love at first sight. Gatsby is the first ‘person’ Liam kisses in the morning and the last thing he hugs at night. Gatsby lies on the floor next to Liam’s crib and keeps watch over him (and makes sure Liam’s sister Lizzie is okay also). Gatsby lets Liam use him as a pillow, a chair and yes – even a horse. Gatsby is also teaching Liam lessons — he has decided that Liam shouldn’t always disturb his nap by sitting on him. Usually, Gatsby will just get up and moves which causes Liam to slide off his back – but when Liam wasn’t getting the message, Gatsby decided that it was time to give Liam a little of his own medicine. Lately, when Liam is lounging on the floor watching TV, Gatsby has decided that Liam is the perfect dog pillow and will sit on him. Liam hasn’t been using Gatsby as a pillow quite so often – and Gatsby has returned the favor.
It really is true about every dog needing a boy – and vice versa. Gatsby is no longer Pat’s dog and Pat has lost his pack — Gatsby belongs heart and soul to Liam – and Liam is madly in love with Gatsby. It is a match made in heaven.