Zelda is our 4-year-old rescue mini-pinscher/dachshund mix. She’s cute, has legit puppy eyes, loved us from the beginning, and was really fond of my pregnant belly. Now that the girls have been born and have come home, she’s a little jealous (understatement) and doesn’t like to be near them, for the most part.
Before we were married, or even engaged, we decided it’d be a great idea to rescue a dog. My husband has always had an obsession with dachshunds and, though I did think they were cute and all, I had always wanted a pug. Guess who won?
I went through pages and pages on PetFinder.com, looking for dachshunds that were up for adoption. We wanted to get a boy and name him Waffles, so he could go through “army ranks” as he had birthdays and had titles (e.g. Captain Waffles, General Waffles, Lieutenant Waffles….. Yep. All my husband’s idea). We found a 2-year-old doxie mix up for adoption a couple of cities away from us, about 2 hours away. Excited, I e-mailed them and expressed our interest in Wiley. We were bummed out when we got a reply saying he wasn’t entirely ready for adoption – he was still scared, not very trusting, and a little bite-happy. But they did offer us to look at a female, 1.5 year old doxie mix named Lucy. She was red, with the long sausage body, square head, triangle ears of a doxie and the longer legs and attitude of a mini-pinscher. They offered to drive the 2 hours with no obligations so we could check her out. She had been abandoned in either Alabama or Kentucky after having a liter of cute puppies, and somehow she made it all the way to Upstate New York. I related – I grew up in Tennessee, spent a year in Texas, and then my then-boyfriend husband stole me away to the North. She had been potty trained, neutered, microchipped, bullied by other dogs, and acquired some scars on her little nose and on her body. She needed some loving and a good home. We decided to meet little miss Lucy.
Lucy was perfect. She was so happy when the lady who was taking care of her temporarily brought her inside. She was so excited that she peed on the carpet, while looking into Rick’s eyes as if screaming “I’M SO SORRY, I KNOW BETTER, HUMAN, I AM JUST SO EXCITED I COULD NOT HELP URINATING ON YOUR CARPET. PLEASE ADOPT ME.” We all laughed and it was all good. She was in our house for a good 30 minutes, and we decided she was it. We wanted her.
Lucy became Zelda Yunalesca Servello. Zelda after the majestic Princess Zelda from the videogame series The Legend of Zelda. Yunalesca after one of the summoners from the videogame series Final Fantasy (in this case, Final Fantasy X). Yeah, we’re aware that we’re ridiculously nerdy. My kids’ names? River was named after River Tam from the best-canceled-show-ever, Firefly. Lydia’s first name came from a companion in the videogame Skyrim, and her middle name (Rey) comes from Star Wars: the Force Awakens. Told ya. Nerdy and we know it.
She became our baby. She slept with us, we took her on walks by the Eerie Canal, we let her have our ice cream cones, we took her on little road trips, we bought her new toys and more bones, and yummy seasonal cookie treats for Halloween, Christmas, and Easter. She was like our baby in some ways. She was always so happy and glued to us.
Then I got pregnant.
As I got bigger and she laid her square little head on my belly, she could hear heartbeats. She could hear amniotic fluid sloshing around. This is all proven by science (science, bitch!) and by her behavior. She was fascinated with my belly. She’d always have to lay on it, snuggle on it, paw it, rest her head on it. It was even more entertaining when the girls started kicking in there – Zelda would lie on my lap with her back on my belly and the girls would kick her like a soccer ball. I can only imagine it felt like a nice massage for her, because she wouldn’t budge and seemed to truly enjoy it.
We try to pay attention to her as often as we can, but with the babies needing us around the clock and life carrying on, Zelda has started to not pay attention to where the babies are playing on the floor (we’re starting to think she’s doing it on purpose) and it’s become very hard to actually give her some love like she’s used to. I feel awful about it. We hope that as the girls continue to grow, they’ll be even more fascinated with Zelda and will start to include her in their play time. Lydia has already grabbed her tail once, and Zelda didn’t even flinch. River thinks she’s hilarious and is always laughing at her when she’s near on the couch. I can’t wait until Zelda realizes there’s no competition, just a temporary, self-explanatory shift in attention distribution.