Of course I didn’t send Jimmer to Australia. I also fibbed a little about how long it’s been since I’ve had zits.
Okay, maybe 75% of the story is true. I didn’t have a dream about Jimmer using my computer, nor did I give Scott mace as a present. Oh yeah, and the message in the dog food--that also wasn’t true.
So my story is 50% true. Jimmer really did bite Sophie (that is where the whole idea for this story began) and he really would (and still does) stare at me for hours on end without blinking. It is also true that he beheaded the brunette magnet doll, but he did the same thing to the blond and the redhead.
Writing about Scott is really fun, since I didn’t have to fabricate many of the things he said. His quotes about getting Jimmer a mate, his frustration that there is not a dog channel, his admiration for Jimmer’s unique appearance, his delight in Jimmer’s intelligence, etc, etc, etc…these were all things he really said. Most of these I wrote down, word for word in my story, taking liberties only with the context. I read every installment to Scott before I hit the “publish” button.
I did not intentionally put a moral in my story, but looking back, I guess you could say the moral is this: things are never as bad as they seem.
As for Jimmer, he mellowed out quite a bit during the course of this story. Eventually, he stopped leaping up on me and the kids (as much), stopped nipping (as much), learned to calm himself down, and learned a bunch of pretty cool tricks. For instance, I taught Jimmer to fetch the newspaper.
Here is a video on how I did it (7 minutes long): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syftSzQtA0Y
Here is the short version (2 minutes long): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVb1Vtlt5jo
I also taught Jimmer to pick up his “road kill” toys in the yard. I have to admit, he is very smart and very trainable.
There are also some benefits of having a dog that I had never expected. Like meeting new people, for example. In the past three years I’ve walked our neighborhood dozens of times, seeing the same neighbors over and over and giving the same polite smile and wave. But now that I have a dog with me I am suddenly someone of interest. People now stop me to ask about my dog, its breed, his age….and when I tell them his name is Jimmer that begins a whole new conversation and before I know it we’ve laughed together, cried together, talked about the First Vision and I’ve invited them to be baptized. (Here’s a tip, Mormon friends: Name your dog after Book of Mormon characters and/or presidential hopefuls and you are bound to end up talking about the church. I can just see it…. “King Noah” the bull dog, “Mitt” the dachshund.) A dog is a natural conversation piece. I have to admit it is a little fun. To really tell you the truth, more I wrote this story the more I liked Jimmer. Which, at last, makes my story 25 % true.
The final word:
As you might imagine, there are a couple of little readers in my own home that were following this story, and when the final chapter was published there was quite an uproar. They wasted no time in telling me that my ending was unacceptable and that it needed to be rewritten. Ah, critics! But since these critics are near and dear to my heart I will change the ending, just for them. So here is the “real” ending to the Perfect Pet:
Halfway to Australia Jimmer realized two things: 1. that he never wanted to eat peanut butter again for the rest of his life and 2. that he must somehow get back to North Carolina. He knew that he would never be happy without Scott and the dear little Dyrengs. So after breaking out of his crate he found his way to the cabin and charmed the flight attendants into letting him into the cockpit. Once there he hypnotized the pilots and made them turn the plane around. They landed safely back at Raleigh where Jimmer then took a taxi back home and was smiling on our doorstep the next morning, much to the happiness and jubilation of everyone in our family, even me who grasped Jimmer around the neck and cried out, Jimmer, I’m sorry! You’re the best dog in the world!
And they all lived happily every after.