For years I had an imaginary bulldog named Sherbert. The folks at the office knew about Sherbert. My parents asked about Sherbert. My now husband sighed whenever I mentioned Sherbert. It was quite comical really, even if I was well beyond imaginary bulldog age. But, an imaginary bulldog is MUCH cheaper than a real bulldog.
Then, while I was out of town, my husband found the real Sherbert at a “rescue shelter” in Colorado Springs. She wasn’t beautiful by any stretch of the imagination. Emaciated and dirty the Sherbert in the picture was not the imaginary bulldog that I’d spent so much time with; I wasn’t even convinced she was a legitimate bully. Even worse, her name was SNOWBALL! (Before that her name was MERCEDES! Talk about an identity crisis.)
But the husband was CONVINCED; this was the Sherbert. So after I returned to Colorado we traveled to the Springs and met Snowball and her caretaker in the parking lot of a pet store. In person, the site of Sherbert was even worse than the pictures, and her convoluted back-story was not a pleasant one.
First there were the stitches. Across her abdomen stretched the remnants of one last litter of pups birthed by cesarean section at a puppy mill down south–or so we were told.
Without a healthy set of teeth there was no good way to determine her age. Somewhere between 3 & 5 the rescue worker said, between exaggerated efforts to control her own dog and child that she’d brought for the hand off.
There was nothing to do but take that dog, buy her a collar and leash (the first of many) and get her to a happy place. Preferably one with a bathtub. And a food bowl.
In the first week Sherbert ate almost a 10-pound bag of food. We’d been advised to put our skinny mutt on a free feed but after that first week–and the corresponding weight gain–we decided it was time to cut off the cruise buffet.
Today Sherbert tops the scale at a healthy 45 pounds. (OK, she could spare a few ounces.) Among her many nicknames she’s been dubbed “Coconut Bulldog” because of her doggie shampoo. (We learned a hard, but funny, lesson with the bright orange mango-scented shampoo we initially used–Sherbert stains.)
And even though those first few months were traumatic with the teeth removal, spaying, and fighting with the rescue organization over her spay deposit and papers we eventually settled into a beautiful routine:
Snore. Sleep. Eat. Repeat. Snore. Sleep. Eat. Repeat. Oh, and a wagon ride here and there.
I think the pictures speak for themselves: a real bulldog is 10 times better than an imaginary one!
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have both: the other day a coworker asked me if Lunchbox might like a certain pink water dish.
UPDATE! Lunchbox is real! In February we brought home our second UrbanBulldog, Lunchbox. Read all about LB here.
SECOND UPDATE: On May 23, 2012 Miss Sherbert took her last wagon ride. She will be missed by all, but will always and forever be the UrbanBulldog.