On a sunny afternoon at the community park in Baumholder housing area, a lady came by with a little toy Yorkshire Terrier on a leash. The dog was spotlessly clean and brushed and with her long "feathers" as long as her legs, she looked like a hovercraft cruising by. MamieLady was about 12 years old at the time. She saw that Yorkie and her heart was nailed. Nothing was ever going to be right in the universe until she had one of her own.
Fast forward a couple of years; we have moved to Ludwigsburg. A female soldier in my company was on her way home. She had been hiding a Yorkie in the barracks and other spaces (no pets in the barracks). When she got caught, she talked one of the single senior NCOs into keeping the dog in his BOQ room until she left for the States. It was an awful situation, the dog spent more than 20 hours a day in a travel carrier. When I became aware of it, the soldier was very close to going home so I allowed as how the dog wasn't in MY barracks so I ignored it.
The soldier ran into some real problems getting out of Germany on time. She actually missed a flight for some silly reason (missing movement in the military isn't like missing your PanAm flight...there could be serious consequences). After several days, when all the hooplah was settled, she was ready to try again. The afternoon before she was supposed to leave, she came into my office and asked if my daughter still wanted a Yorkie. When you ship a dog back to the States you have to have a health certificate which is only good for 10 days...missing her flight and the ensuing legal hassles had put her past her 10 days and she didn't have time to get a new certificate. I suggested she have someone else get a new certificate and ship the dog to her after she left. I guess the stress of the past couple of weeks reached the overflow valve, she just came apart. She didn't want to hassle with the dog or anything else, she just wanted to get on the plane tomorrow and get all this stuff behind her. I took the dog.
I wasn't sure how MamaCharlie would react, I hadn't had time to talk about it at all. I didn't know how our shepherd/lab mix, Bear, would receive another dog in the house. I got home and left the dog in the car while I went inside to lay the ground work for this...you know the spiel...you have to feed it and walk it, etc,etc. I got in the door and had just started in to my conditions when my youngest, Boogie, looked out the window and yelled excitedly, "Hey! There's a Yorkie in Dad's car!" That's how the hyper, neurotic, athletic, and terribly cute Chee-Chee came to be ours...or actually...to be MamieLady's.
Chee-Chee was not used to people in large numbers or affection. She moved into a four bedroom quarters apartment with seven people and a large dog. MamieLady ignored the less than enthusiastic response the dog gave her, she just continued to smother Chee-Chee with lovin' and after a while the dog began to come around. In time, she turned into a really special pet. Pound for pound, she was the most athletic dog I have ever seen. She would fly around the living room, leaping from chair to chair like a shot. She could flat-footed leap into Hyperborean Wanderer's arms (he's gotta be 6'2" or 3"). On one occasion she did a Fred Astaire, running across from the door, up on the seat of my rocker, to the back of the rocker, tipping it over, onto the window ledge to bark at someone on the sidewalk outside, then reversed course, hit the back of the rocker then to the seat, knocking the chair back upright and off to the front door again. Pictured is one of her favorite activities, arm walking in the hunt for food.
It isn't often that a daddy gets to fulfill a child's fondest wish. This was pure luck, but it worked out pretty good. It didn't take long for the boys to start calling her, "Cheese". It took even less time for her to assert her personality into the family dynamic...she made sure we knew who was in charge.