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Forty Years with Birds and Dogs 

How The Hen House Turns 8. DeeDee and Scooter--Part I

DeeDee and Scooter dressed for therapy duty

It's time to talk about DeeDee and Scooter, how they joined the family after the fire in the spring of 2000--the first fire in Los Alamos, the one that wiped out over 400 family homes in one night and left our Ponderosa-covered hills denuded. "Now you can see the rocks," my geologist friend said.I do enjoy the rocks.

Those were the days when I was feeding crickets to Freddy the water dragon, rescued from a pet store after other dragons beat him up. Husband Don took pity on me, thinking "that woman needs a dog," so when the ad appeared in the local news announcing a regional fire sale on the sidewalk in front of Safeway, he agreed I could go take a look. It had been at fifteen years since our "Santa Fe Shepherd" Poncho died.

The sidewalk was covered with contrived pens filled with dogs of every size. I had not imagined having any dog but a border collie or a shepherd, but when I saw the tiny white ball of fluff with black polka dots, I was hooked. Then, in another enclosure, I spotted another ball of fluff, blue roan with white spots. Which one? They both looked me in the eye with that irresistable signal that has bonded humans and dogs for thousands of years. "I can't decide," I whined, which triggered an immediate offer--"We'll give you both for the price of one. Dogs do so much better with two."

Then came the story, which clinched the deal. They had been loose in Espanola during the fire. When the second 3-month-old puppy was found and taken to the shelter a week after the first, they went nuts with joy, obviously recognizing each other from being in the same litter. And to this day, they do take good care of each other--sleeping in the same bed under my makeshift art desk, keeping each other clean, watching the birds together, taking on threats real and imagined together, exploring the canyons, eating from a double container dish, even sharing the role of alpha in very interesting ways--but that's another story, for next week.

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