Illustration by Jenny Lamont
In which DD longs for a poufy little lapdog… and ends up with a high-maintenance sock thief.
I’d been sans a “poufy little dog” for well over two years. Having previously shared my life with two adorable little Morkies (Maltese Poodle-Yorkshire Terrier dogs), namely Bonnie and, a few years later, Charlie, I longed for a cuddly lap dog to call my own.
The Dad was less keen, being more of a big dog kind of guy, and since we already shared our home with “his” two Rottweiler-Labradors, he was more than content. But not me. And so the search began.
The Morkie mission begins
Back in the day (over 12 years ago) Facebook wasn’t really a thing yet, never mind the first port of call for finding a new fur kid. WhatsApp networking groups and googling for puppy listings just wasn’t in most people’s vocabulary yet.
I must admit, too, that I was pretty clueless about shelter pets, adopting, or the concept of puppy mills or backyard breeders – there simply wasn’t the vast network of information that there is today.
So, having taken to scouring the newspapers, as one did in those days, I came across a little ad for Morkie puppies. I couldn’t contain my excitement. With a prompt call I quickly arranged to go through to Pretoria from Johannesburg to meet them and their doggy parents later that week. I’d never driven out of Johannesburg before, but I was hell-bent on my Morkie Mission and nothing was holding me back from getting that little bundle of fluff.
I immediately arranged time off work with my kind boss and only shared my news with a few close friends at the office… I didn’t utter a word of it to my better half; I wasn’t about to have my plans fouled!
Just before I left the office, I’d received a call from the lady to say that the “owner” had taken ill and I could no longer meet at her home. I was to meet her at a specified petrol station. Did any alarm bells ring? Sadly, not. But in my defence, my head and heart were so full of oh-to-be-happy-with-my-new-puppy thoughts.
The drive to Pretoria was daunting, to say the least, but my excitement was tangible. I could practically feel that cuddly puppy in my arms already. I arrived early and bought a magazine to read whilst I waited anxiously.
Finally, a car rattled up; inside were a dour woman, an adult Yorkie and three utterly adorable, bouncy, fluffy puppies, all vying for attention. Nervously, I asked what the pups’ mother looked like (I was supposed to have met her too) and was told offhandedly: “Like a Maltese”.
The woman never even deigned to get out of the car, and I was put on the spot to quickly decide on which pup was to be mine without even being able to interact with them. A black one had caught my eye, but I thought The Dad would find the mottled one more, um, “interesting” (and thus, more convincing).
And so, like some bad drug deal, I handed my R800 over and little soon-to-be-named Sammy was roughly thrust into my hands through the window. I’d barely taken two steps back and the car whizzed off, leaving me in a cloud of dust, clutching my new baby to my breast.
And yes, she was adorable.
A dot of a dog
Even if she did look rather more like a wild animal in colouring, I immediately fell in love with her beady little black eyes and shiny button nose and that grey mini tail that didn’t stop wagging.
I hurriedly got the little pup into the safety of my car and settled her on my lap as we embarked on our journey back home, which by then was in peak-hour traffic (eep!).
Halfway home, she became unsettled. Worrying about trying to keep focus on the busy highway and fuss with her, I simply picked her up and popped her onto the seat beside me. Aha, that was why she was unsettled: she swiftly squatted down and had an enormous wee on the magazine. Oops! Well, at least she was paper-trained, I figured. And on the plus side, the mag would dry out…
There was much excitement all round when we arrived home. The big dogs couldn’t believe that she was so tiny. Three-year-old Aaron was overjoyed to have a puppy. The cats followed Sammy with much interest. And The Dad (who’d been kept in the dark thus far lest he try to talk me out of my Morkie Mission)? Well, let’s just say I got The Look when he walked in to find all of us on the floor, ooh-ing and aah-ing over this sweet little dot of a dog.
The first night home was a little challenging, but after giving Sammy a warm and freshly discarded sock to snuggle down with (it seemed more her size), she settled. And that, ladies and gentleman, was the start of a seemingly insatiable sock fetish that was to last a lifetime. An addiction to socks, preferably worn, that has seen dozens disappear into her basket, never to be seen again – unless they reappear on our pillows at night. To this day, everyone knows: Sammy needs a sock.
Given what I can only imagine were her dubious beginnings, it’s a gesture of my unconditional love and a source of comfort to her that I’ll never begrudge her any sock her little Morkie heart desires.
Twelve years on and our little Sammy Bear is by far the most high-maintenance dog I’ve ever had. She has “issues” (which I put down to the fact that I suspect she was a puppy mill pup) – she doesn’t trust easily, she suffers fear aggression when it comes to other dogs; she isn’t quite the doting dog I’d hoped for, and really IS the grumpiest of all our fur kids.
BUT, I love her beyond words and wouldn’t change her for the world. She is my Sammy MMMM – Mommy’s Mad but Marvellous Morkie.