I’ve been reluctant to write about my new dog Court; I’m afraid I’ll invoke the same canine Nemesis that killed my previous dog Chaussette when she was barely a year old. I’d extolled her virtues in post after post, and while logic insists that my pride in her had nothing to do with the severe epilepsy she developed—a trait which I researched after her first seizure and found out was fairly common in Australian shepherds—the voice of superstition skulks in the back of my brain and whispers, “Hubris! You set yourself up to lose her!”
Even so, that same Nemesis seems to have relented and given me back an even better dog, one who’s almost exactly the same age that Chaussette would have been. My son Sage and I brought Court home from the Humane Association a little over two weeks ago, and he immediately became part of the family. I’d known he would when, while running alongside Sage on the Humane Society’s trail, he immediately turned and come back to Sage when Sage tripped and dropped the leash. That was the moment when I knew he was our dog.
Although Court’s history is cryptic—he’d been brought in as a stray and randomly named “Court” by a Humane Society staffer—he behaves like he’s been a housedog in our home since puppyhood. Among his many virtues: he’s housetrained (despite never having any actual housetraining as far as we know), gentle, affectionate, trustworthy (I leave him alone in the house during the day, and nary a shoe is chewed), and adorable with his liquid beagle eyes and soft floppy ears.
His adorable face charms the children, who can swarm him in a playground, leap on him, and snatch sticks from his mouth without getting so much as a snarl in return. He’s especially good with Sage, who takes great pride in training Court to do basic commands and showing his dog off to his friends. And Court truly is Sage’s first dog—the ones we had before were mine, despite my pretending otherwise—but he and Court form a picture straight out of Norman Rockwell when they go bounding through the yard together.
The things Court doesn’t do especially win my heart: He doesn’t chew on forbidden objects, chase buggies (a BIG virtue where I live), bark much, eat excessively, or beg.
He’s also a smart one: within two days, he could do Sit, Stay, Come, and Down. I put him in his crate two days in a row when he thought my yoga poses were an invitation to play; on the third day, when he saw me start up the yoga video, he went into his crate unbidden and stayed there until I was done.
Court’s not flawless—he sheds, he doesn’t understand the concept of “Fetch,” and he falls prey to selective hearing when he REALLY wants to play with the neighbor dogs—but he’s about as good as a dog can get. Thanks to him, I was able to take the empty combs out of my newly deserted bee hives without melting down at losing them so quickly. Court came to take the place of the bees, who came to take the place of Chaussette, who came to take the place of Peri, who had been my companion for thirteen years.
I just hope Court sticks around at least as long as Peri did.