What is a Blankey?
I've never been a humongous dog person. Growing up, we had a multitude of furry and feathery things running around on the five acres we called home. There was a horse, rabbits, cats, chickens, a goat, a pig, and of course, a dog. Almost all the time, there were at least one or two canines inhabiting someone's bed or side of the couch.
The cats were always my favorites. Some had no tails and a beautiful fur coat while others had a flagpole looking appendage with short hair and a sweet demeanor. We had a blind feline I named Darwin because even though he couldn't see, he survived just like his well-abled companions. I was quite partial to him because I felt he needed more love than the rest of the crew. He had the markings of a Siamese, but he was just a long-haired alley cat all the same.
He was loving and grateful despite his inability to see, and he recognized our voices and his name when we called him. I loved him because he needed me, and I suppose that's how I felt when we adopted a Beagle named Sally Sue.
Children grow up and move on with life. They buy houses and cars, and they establish a little corner of the world to call their own. Last year, we felt that our little family was lacking something, even though we already owned two beautiful cat creatures that we love dearly.
Boots and Sweet Pea often take over our couch and armrests, and at times, their greed for someone's vacated warm spot makes us giggle tremendously. Sweet Pea is a bit of a snob. She prefers soft flat things to sit on, and it's beneath her to perch on the plain hardwood floor with no rug to cushion her bottom. She's a bit stingy with her affection, but when she gives it, she earns her namesake.
Boots is a food hog who can never eat enough. He'll polish off his own dish and head to someone else's bowl to lick it clean. He has a bobbed tail that he likes to be scratched, and once in a blue moon, you may see a little mean streak raise to the surface. Despite my description, he is a complete and total cuddle bug who makes biscuits daily for his family. His best quality is that he loves Sally Sue.
Sally Sue was adopted from the Columbus County Sheriff's Animal Protective Services shelter. I saw her picture on the facility's Facebook page. In the image, she stood at the fence looking as though she lost something, or in this case, someone. She looked helpless and confused, and I knew at once that she needed me.
Despite our previous decision not to get a dog and my proclamation that I was not a dog person, we drove to the shelter anyway just to meet her. She was running around the office helping one of the officers eat breakfast, and when I walked in the door and sat down, this lonely little hound came bounding up to me and laid her head in my lap. We had an instant connection, and I knew she was coming home with us.
I paid her fees and out the door we went. She spent her first day and many others with me stretched out on my office floor. I worked and she slept. It was the perfect occupation for a laid-back hound like herself.
She had a few accidents in the house in the early days of her adoption, but she was sharp and smart, and it only took a little training to get her on track with a regular potty routine. We crate- and car-trained her, and though she was timid and submissive when we got her, her little personality finally came out in full effect.
She found her voice, and she barked and howled when she heard my car pulling into the garage after work. She seemed to be fitting in just fine and even followed our boys around the house as though she were their guard dog.
We bought her toys and noticed she didn't understand what they were or what to do with them. It broke my heart every time we threw a toy to her and she would just sit and stare at it. What kind of toyless inattentive owner had her before us? Our oldest spent weeks teaching her how to play fetch. We figured out she liked the small playthings that crinkle like newspaper and would fit in her mouth.
Even now, she still insists that we throw her favorite cow heiny toy at least fifty times a day. She'll get tired, take a breather, and beat the item of interest on your foot to get your attention, thus starting the game all over again.
I think the greatest accomplishment of Sally Sue's life so far is answering the age-old question 'What's a blankey?'
Often, I've tucked her in and covered her up just for her to instantly hop up and pull herself out from under the blanket. Even during the coldest days of winter, she insisted on laying on top of the cover instead of dwelling in its warmth underneath it.
Recently, we discovered our girl has arthritis. When the days change from warm to cold and back again, she has to be handled with care and medicated, but we don't mind taking care of our girl one bit. Her last episode entailed me swaddling her like a baby in one of her doggy beds as she moved from the living room to our bedroom for some peace and quiet.
When the worst had passed and Sally Sue began to act like her old self again, I noticed one good thing had come from it all. She finally figured out the blanket brought warmth and comfort, and she needed her mama to wrap her up in it from head to toe. Again, I couldn't imagine a dog living its life without ever knowing the softness of a sheet or quilt or the joy it brings on their worst days.
Now when it comes time to rest or sleep, you'll hear me call to her "Sue-Sue, do you want mommy to wrap you in your blankey?” The response is always rapid tail wagging and a nosedive into her bed. The actions are usually followed by patient waiting as I cloak her in the cover and a contented sigh as she settles in.
"Sally Sue, what is a blankey?"
"It's soft and warm like mommy's hugs, and it smells and feels like her love."