Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What is it about Miracle Mike?

At first, it was hard to distinguish the squirming lump from the roadkill he was glued to. One truck ran right over him; another car was about to do the same. Attached to what emerged as a tiny body were 2 floppy ears and very little hair; when he raised his head, he looked more like a chicken than a dog. I stopped my truck and scooped him up. This was a problem: We already have five dogs and five cats, and we promised (the last time), that there would be NO MORE. So when I returned to my classroom with the puppy, there was a real question as to what to do with him.

I made a pbj sandwich while we contemplated his future. After scarfing down his half [of the sandwich], Mikey immediately threw up.

So you ask: what made me love him? Certainly not the mange that covered his little body. Certainly not the stump that masqueraded as a tail that wagged his whole body. Certainly not the bones and squiggly things he continued to vomit.

I promised myself I would not care about this little dog, because I didn't know if he would live, and I knew I couldn't keep him. Yet, I was prepared to camp out with him at the classroom if there were objections to bringing him home.

Dan [my husband] agreed [to let him stay at the house]-- so long as it was temporary, and so long as I figured out some way to stop the incessant scratching, the vomiting, and other problems caused by the 5 dogs who ignored him and the 5 cats who hissed at him.

There is a history here. Last year, Dan brought Penny home around Mother's Day. Penny is a Dalmatian wannabe -- and the most hyper, obnoxious dog that ever was. Dan, however, loves her, and if he didn't bring her home, she would have died. Penny is not the sharpest pencil in the box, either: it took her months to grasp that she was to do her business outside the house; that she didn't have to throw up after every meal; that the other dogs and cats have their own personal space; and that every one's shoes were not her personal toys. Penny was obviously not my favorite: she harassed (and harasses) the other dogs in her endless quest for attention; and she required endless trips to Dr. Tudor, all of which cost some $1200 in vet bills to treat her skin problems, her ehrlichia (which dog on this island DOESN'T have it?) and spaying complications. No one loves Penny except Dan. So Dan owed me one.

The new guy, however, never saw the problems that were Penny and immediately fell in love with her. Penny, it must be said, rose to the occasion. He nips at her; he follows her; he climbs on her; he bothers her; and he even tortures her. They play endlessly. He loves her unconditionally and thinks she is the greatest thing ever.

As for the other dogs? The pup refuses to take "no" for an answer. He charms them; he tries to play; he never gets mad when they growl at or ignore him. He's never in a bad mood, and he just tries so hard. And he has responded so well to treatment: in the month that we've had him, he's doubled in size.

There's not just one special thing about Mikey -- it's just the package. I've never seen a little one try so hard to fit in, just to make it. So we love him, not because he's beautiful (because he's far from that), but because he sees the beauty in everything.

So what makes Mikey Miracle Mike? He loves Penny, and life, and every thingelse. And he's staying right here with us: after all, Penny would be heartbroken if he left her.

By: Phyllis Ain, Saipan, MP

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