This is the first of a new feature in which writers and fans share stories about their pets. Today’s guest is Barbara Alexander, a retired librarian who now celebrates the written word as a professor, reader, and blogger.
Snickers: It’s All in the Name
When I was 66 years old, I decided it was time to have a pet, a dog, so she could snuggle next to me, I could spend hours petting her, and we could go on walks. That’s how I came to adopt Snickers Molly Price Tchotchke Houdini Alexander.
My search for a rescue dog began with visits to the animal shelter several times over a few weeks, looking for adoption options. One Saturday, my daughter and I made the rounds of three pet adoption sites. When we walked into the third one, I saw Snickers, then known as Molly, and I immediately reached down and picked her up as if I knew what I was doing. The poor little thing was shaking, and I held her close to my chest and my heart. She gradually calmed down and with her eyes asked me the eternal question, “Are you my new mommy?”
As part of my bargain with myself to manage taking on a pet, I gave up candy, so I named my puppy Toffee. Apparently no one liked or could remember the name, so we had a family council with suggestions from everyone. After mulling over it, I decided on my granddaughter’s suggestion, Snickers, for my puppy sports the same coloring.
I wouldn’t want to brag about my dog, but Snickers can run faster, drink louder, make more friends, and lick more people than probably just about any other dog in the world. When we’re out for walks, she wants to greet every person and meet just about every dog. She made special friends with the neighbors I never knew, quickly convincing us she preferred people to dogs.
This bright, endearing little pup fears dangers in the sky (hot air balloons and cherry pickers) and checks to see if there is a parallel world at the other end of the toilet. Snickers boasts her own dresser drawer of toys because she claimed it by opening the drawer on her own. She hides under my bed when the heat or air conditioning comes on, when she hears loud noises, and especially if she thinks I might be leaving. Happily, Snickers likes to be near me but also gives me personal space. Perhaps best of all, Snickers knows when I don’t feel well, and she licks my sore and achy spots (usually my left toes and ankle (thank you, Snickers!).
A reader might wonder about Snickers’ very long name. Price is for my cousins Trudy and Jerry Price, who convinced me I should have a pet after one of my visits with them and their pet-filled household. I added Price to Snickers’ name soon after I adopted her to recognize their role in my adopting Snickers, and soon after both Trudy and Jerry passed, Tchotchke seemed to be a fit. Could there have been a better token of love than my little Snickers?
My daughter, her husband, and their daughter gave Snickers the Houdini moniker. They kept her one weekend when I was away, that is, they tried to keep her contained, but she would have none of it. Anne and Tom thought Snickers would stay in the same room in the basement where they had kept their chocolate lab, Ginger. Of course, Snickers wanted to get out and be with the family (she likes people!). While Ginger had stayed behind the French doors, Snickers pushed on them until they opened. Tom built a wall of boxes at the other opening into the pet room; Snickers jumped it, nosed it, and found her way through, surprising all three of the family members at one time or another.
In the very same way, jumping, nosing, seeking, Snickers has become my family, so much so that I have caught myself addressing my younger granddaughter as “Snickers.” Fortunately, that young woman understands grandmothers and pets, and remains very understanding. My older granddaughter noted Snickers and I share some of the same characteristics; I knew we were both very determined, both like snacks, both like to solve challenges (someday she will open the patio door!), and both take naps. We even look alike in one way, as the granddaughter pointed out: Snickers has a crook in her tail that reflects my slightly bent arthritic fingers.