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Please begin with an informative title:

Stick with the things you love.

Intro

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 I have two dogs.

 Edgar is a shelter rescue and I figure he could be as old as 8 or 9. He’s a Jack Russell Terrier, but he is a surprisingly mellow dog for his breed.

 Otis is half Chihuahua and half Pug. He is a Chug. Otis is nearly 4, and I have had him since he was a six-week old puppy with ringworm. He is active enough for two dogs.

 I am writing about my dogs this week because they don’t piss me off and they love me as much as I love them. That’s as good a reason as any.

 Edgar had pneumonia when I met him in the shelter. He was in a room by himself. When I walked in and sat down, Edgar crawled right into my lap. The shelter had named him Flitwick, but he looked like a dog my sister had named J. Edgar. Flitwick became Edgar J.

 I had to wait until his pneumonia was over before I could bring him home, but I paid for him the day I met him. Gail, my significant other and love of my life gave him his full name, Edgar J. Wagonwheel III. He’s a wiry-haired Jack Russell and his tail was cut short. He still wags his stump when he’s happy or excited.

 Edgar is grumpy. He can growl and look like he’s going to tear someone up if they disturb his nap, but he only growls and looks fierce. Our cats pay absolutely no attention to his growling and walk right up to him and groom him while he growls and bares his teeth. He gets no respect from the cats.

 Otis was purchased by my daughter as a dog to “share” with a friend. The details are not terribly important; the truth is I stole their dog and named him Otis. He was only a double handful when we took him in. He had four bald patches from the ringworm, but we got that under control quickly.

 Otis is colored like a classic Rottweiler; in fact we used to tell people he was a baby Rottweiler. I was going to find Otis a good home…right…what better home than mine?

 Otis has always loved to play tug-of-war and fetch, and he has always cried loudly when the theme from the television show Friends comes on. Later, he developed hatred for the H. G. Wentworth 877-Cashnow commercial. He can’t stand opera, and he howls for any insurance commercial.

 Otis started fetching and bringing back when he was real young. He would do it so long that it would make Edgar jealous. Edgar would leap up off of the couch and growl at Otis. Otis figured Edgar wanted to play fight, so he gradually taught Edgar that playing could be fun. Otis has been good for him.

 Edgar can walk with me in our yard without a leash because he does what he’s told. Otis, on the other hand is our slow learner. He gets as much freedom as his 20-foot leash allows. He’s like the dog in the movie Up…squirrel!

 My dogs are a joy to me. They don’t care about the debt ceiling or who is or is not trying to ruin the country…they care that they can’t get walked when the snow is piled deep and the temperature is 8 degrees (F) or -13 (C) for the rest of the world. They start off game, but then they begin to limp, and Edgar even cries.

 Right now, we have 18 inches of snow on the ground. I have to shovel them a path across the patio and clear out a circle in the yard for when nature calls. Otis can go anywhere, but Edgar has always been particular. Edgar hates the lack of choice, as well as the cold. Last night he searched for the perfect spot so long that he had to finish his toilet on three legs…and not the one for which he normally uses three legs.

 Edgar didn’t like Otis when he was a wiggly puppy. I think it upset Edgar’s preference for peace and quiet, but Otis grew on him. Now they play tug-of-war together and wrestle, wrestle, wrestle…until Edgar gets winded, hacks like an old man, and looks for my lap. It takes way more time for Otis to get tired, but when he’s finally bushed he will not turn down the offer of a willing lap.

 The best is when I’m in “the chair” and both of them are asleep (along with my legs)…sure they are spoiled, but they more than earn it with the happiness they bring me.

 With furry children, love in equals love out. With my skin children, it isn’t that easy. When they are young and can still sleep in your lap, you imagine it will be like that forever.

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