Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Two Amigos!

Steve Martin and Chevy Chase had nuttin' on these two amigos.
  As 2011 came to close, one can't help but reflect back on what the year offered. For us, 2011 was a pretty good year. The basketball season went smoothly (or as smoothly as European bball can go), we attended weddings, welcomed friends' babies, had my mom visit for a few weeks in Toulon, and spent some time with Shaun's family over the summer. It was almost all good. Now as most of you know, Shaun and Nikki usually come with a side of Max and Bella, our 2 Jack Russell Terriers. ( Named her Bella way before all this Twilight B.S. so don't get any ideas people!!) They have been a part of our life for over 10 years. Just re-reading that, and saying they were both just 'a part of our lives' is a gross under statement, they received Christmas gifts from our families for goodness sakes. As anyone who has had a Jack knows, they are not just a part of their owner's lives, they squirm their way into every single aspect of their life with their bold characters and HUGE personalities. They don't call them Jack Russell 'Terrors' for nothing. Well, unfortunately we lost both Max and Bella pretty suddenly this last year and not far apart. They grew up together and I am pretty sure they were best friends, they never actually told me but you could just see it in their eyes.  I think one having to live with out the other proved to be too tough.  Sure they had the occasional fight but they would always make their way back towards each other to snuggle after. Can't lie, it has been hard with out them, as anyone who has an animal can imagine or lost an animal can relate to. The house is quieter, which still baffles me since they didn't talk. But we often sit back and laugh at all the stuff they did. Most people play fetch with their dogs, but a few years ago, it dawned on me that they were playing fetch with Shaun by continuously knocking their ball under the armoir forcing him to get up and fish it out for them. I didn't say anything at the time, just sat back and marvelled at their smarts...and lack of Shaun's for that matter.
Best pillow ever...

Who needs pricey toys when you can lug a stinky sneaker around?

  Often times people would ask us how it worked with having dogs and living overseas. Did we leave them at home with family? Did they fly with us? Was flying hard for them? Fortunately for us, they LOVED to travel. As soon as the luggage came out of that closet, they were on, cue the circus music. We had to to put off packing always until the last minute since it seemed to get them so excited that things would mysteriously get shredded or chewed up cause they couldn't help themselves. And don't get me started on having to spell things out since many of our sayings got them in a tizzy ( cheese, car, airplane, go for a ride in the car, go for a walk, pretty much' go for' ...anything). In almost the 10 years of them flying, some cross country and most to France, we didn't have 1 problem. The closest thing to a problem was when Bella's zipper on her kennel broke mid flight ( and she finally realized it), she decided to take a tour of the first class cabin while I slept. After that, she never looked at me the same, she knew there were better things out there and we were holding her back.
Both in 1 soft kennel ready to go to France even though they had their own.

 By now, word has spread to most of our friends over here in Europe that the dogs are no longer around but in the beginning of this year, Shaun fielded questions in this order.
1-"Hey man (yes, they use man over here too), how was your summer?"
2-"How's Nikki doing?"
3-"How's Max and Bella?"

.........hate to admit, sometimes (often)  3 came before 2.

Even though you would think it may have stung a little to have to tell people over and over they were gone, it also made us realize that they not only touched our lives, but the lives of those who knew us. We both want another dog and I am pretty sure either one of us could be persuaded today to get one by the other. But we have made a pact to at least see this year out with out a dog and see how it goes and then we can re-evaluate after the year is over. I am sure we will eventually get another one, or two, but we are leaning on maybe waiting until the European life is over and we are back in the States. Until then, Dolly, our neighbors dog, will have to do.

A hint of disgust in his eyes.....
Doing her best 'Puss n' boots' impersonation

Another Christmas gift...he peed on it pretty shortly thereafter, point taken.
They never met a camera they didn't like.
Max's and Shaun's favorite nap time snuggler.

No matter how much we tried, he couldn't figure out how to hold that toy the right way.
Imagine that tan line...

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