Irma La Deuce...part one

How much trouble could a six pound dog be? That was the rhetorical question I asked myself a few weeks ago as I was scuttled through the bowels of the Brockton, Massachusetts, SPCA shelter. I was on official Heart Bandits business..... a mission to snag Ivy, our Eskie girl, who had foiled the MSPCA adoption plans by swinging into heat. On the Sunday off hours, I was brought in through the back door. As we snaked our way through the kennel, dutifully greeting all the guests, I was suddenly struck dumb by the most exquisite creature that has ever graced the planet ......(besides the Angels From God, of course).

Ivy was Irma's fellow boarder at the MSPCA. Read her adoption story!

And, there she was.....

...oddly situated in a kennel that stood ceiling high.....perched atop an enormous beanbag, tiny feet crossed at the ankles.......daintily shredding a stuffed toy formerly owned by a Great Dane. A six pound Miniature Pinscher, my Irma La Deuce. Her tiny head was illuminated by a sunbeam shooting through the skylight. And there were tiny fairies and glorious orbs of color playfully dancing around her rainbow halo...and music....I think it was Saint Saen's "Dance Macabre," looping through the air....well, at least that is how I remember my first vision of Irma La Deuce. Never have I seen so much presence and attitude conveyed in such a petite package. I have no precise explanation for what happened next. Blame it on PMS, Post-PMS, low blood sugar, caffeine withdrawal, or carbohydrate deprivation....but the next words out of my mouth were...."I'll take her too."

...sometimes Toot just has to ask herself, "what is this woman thinking?"

The Universe often plants annoying obstacles in my path to avert inevitable screw-ups. And, yet, I am confident in my steely Capricorn determination to screw-up in spite of the Universe. I know for a fact that the Angels From God are in cahoots with several sources to foil my best laid plans. There was solid evidence of this fact the other morning when the Home Shopping Network broadcast a Chinese language film during the Santa Fe Jewelry Show....This stunt reeks of a Toot/Ann Harris telepathic intervention.

And, I believe the same two culprits were responsible for the MSPCA outright refusing my adoption of Irma La Deuce. After all, surely my rescue credentials alone would qualify me as an adopter...never mind that I have picked up six Eskies from them. And certainly, the fact that they were trusting me with the heat-afflicted Ivy, implied some level of confidence in my integrity. But, alas, I am a legend in my mind alone, because the MSPCA could not be certain of my intentions regarding Irma La Deuce.

This preposterous situation elicited a few snappy words on my part, which didn't seem to help my cause. Well....ok, so I lost my temper....but, I did stop short of profanity. Surely, if there were ever an issue that needed pressing, this was it. The harder I pressed, the worse things got. And, at last, since there wasn't any viable reason to turn me down, they invented one. (See, this suggests Toot's two cents, since she is well known to improvise when backed into a corner). I was told that Min Pin rescue already had a home for her. Well.....I know a thing or a million about rescue, and that sounded oh-so-odd to me.

Toot does not back down in a crisis...


So, that Sunday afternoon, I became one with my laptop to track down Min Pin rescue. By the end of the day, I had identified the right person....and .....was told that the MSPCA indeed had called, but there were no options for Irma La Deuce. I was asked to pick her up and foster her until a home popped up....or to adopt her myself. After a cold shower and a half bottle of chardonnay, I noticed that the steam stopped shooting out of my ears.

Min Pin Rescue was pleased to authorize the MSPCA to release Irma to me, and I returned to the shelter to claim my treasure. Now, the Min Pin affliction may seem like a burp in Eskie logic, but it is not without precedent. My grandparents, Virgil and Irma, raised Min Pin pups when I was a toddler. Virg didn't believe in "fixing" his dogs so we always had a gaggle of Min Pins around. He never once gave one away. Well, after all, how much trouble could five six pound dogs be? If you compiled the poundage, you wind up with one good-sized Eskie.

Virg....the beginning of the family Min Pin curse...

Denise... was raised with Min Pins

And, how my grandparents loved these dogs. There was Heiny, Corky, Humphrey, Little Miss Muffet and the piece de resistance, Sweet Pete Von Watervliet. Virg took many a ribbing from his I-talian wiseguy cronies at our family-owned gin joint, the Torpedo Tap. The guys wondered why he settled for ten percent of a dog, when he could have had a whole dog. Of course the Min Pin concept was inspired by Irma..., whose "no fuss, no muss" theory of dog rearing I have revolted against at every opportunity. (The Angels From God are stellar examples of "fuss" and "muss.") Nevertheless, the teasing was relentless as my big, burly, tough-guy grandfather marched proudly down the street with his Min Pin pack.

And so, I am not sure why my reaction to Irma La Deuce was so powerful...either I am re-living my idyllic childhood,....or, it is one more step toward me becoming my Mother, whose sanitized idea of dog ownership was most certainly inherited from Irma. If the latter is true, then I am truly terrified of the next step.....I may one day be alphabetizing my condiments. Well, first I would have to acquire condiments, which I don't need, since, thankfully, cooking is still a foreign language to me.

The most immediate task was to select an appropriate moniker for this paragon of sweetness, because her shelter name, "Foxy", was obscenely unsuitable. She needed a name potent with meaning and significance. And so, she was christened "Irma La Deuce"...." after my late grandmother, whose love and devotion to her dogs inspired me and taught me two life truths: 1. Dogs are a non-negotiable, absolute necessity in life, and 2. If a dog bites you it is NEVER, NEVER the dog's fault. It is ALWAYS YOUR fault.

...the original Irma...

...and the one and only Irma la Deuce...


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