Update from Ernesto (Fixer McKay)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We just got an update from Ernesto (Fixer McKay) who went to his forever home in Wellington in August this year. Well actually, his new Mum Jennifer wrote it for him: :)

The moment Adam and I set eyes on Ernesto up at Sanson, we just looked at each other and realised we'd both fallen in love with  him instantly! He was called Zac then, and had only been at the kennels a few weeks. We'd chosen a name for our greyhound long before we even applied to GAP. I'm a bit of a "radical socialist", and have a penchant for a bit of Cuban History. Adam put his foot down and said I wasn't allowed to call our potential future son Ernesto, and so we agreed on naming our dog this. He's named after Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and the name suits him immensely!
Within three days of arriving home, Ernesto had learnt his new name, understood where his bed was and that he was to sleep there, where his water bowl lived, and was getting the hang of this going outside to pee thing.

Our cat, Akira, wasn't so happy with the new arrival! He's 9 years old, so used to being an only child. Ernesto couldn't have cared less about Akira - gave him one little look and has pretty much ignored him since. After a couple of weeks of avoiding the house like the plague and running away from everyone, Akira has accepted Ernesto and firmly put him in his place. Akira is back to his old routine of snuggles and hogging the heater and bed at night. I think Ernesto is secretly hanging out for the day that they can snuggle up together, but I don't think Akira will have a bar of it. :)

We've had Ernesto for two months now, and we can't imagine life without the little guy. Not that he is little - skinny, yes - he's a fussy eater - but he's pretty tall. My parents have 5 year old Leonberger, Strauss, who is, of course, much bigger than Ernesto, but he's not far behind in the height stakes. They hang out a bit, and get on great. They're both pretty chilled out. In fact, that describes Ernesto perfectly. He is a very confident and happy boy. We take him everywhere with us - visiting friends, to the waterfront, into town - and he just goes with the flow. Nothing phases him. We've taken him into all sorts of situations with small children and cats, and as long as he has a place to sleep, he's all good.

In the last few weeks, his personality has really started coming out. And what an awesome personality it is! He's one hilarious dog. His FAVOURITE thing in the WORLD is cuddles. In fact, "cuddle time" is probably his favourite words behind, "dinner", "car" and "walk" (I did suggest alternate names for these to fit the revolutionary theme, such as "rations", "tank" and "march", but Adam just looked at me with that "only I could love you" face....) ...Ernesto can't get enough of cuddles. Part of our bed time routine is him standing on the floor at my side of the bed for cuddles, and when I sent him away, some cuddles from Adam, and then he's off to bed. In fact, to Ernesto, there is no such thing as a stranger, just another potential cuddler. He has this adorable way of snuggling his head at your hips and just begging you to rub his ears.
He follows me around everywhere during the day, which is of course, acceptable - I am doing VERY interesting things, like putting the washing on, and doing work. What is the cutest is whenever I get up in the night for whatever reason, I have to walk past his bed, and without fail, every time, Ernesto gets up and follows me to see what I am doing (usually just visiting the bathroom). He has a drink from his water bowl, and heads back to bed, evidently disappointed at the non-adventure. But, I love it - it's simply adorable, and makes me smile every time. (And makes Adam jealous....)
And the tail wagging - goodness me! His favourite part of the day seems to be when Adam gets home from work - he hears his truck park on the street and is at the front door almost instantly. And this dog gets so excited. Sure, everything makes him excited - as soon as I put my handbag on, he knows something is happening. He jumps around, smiles, and that tail barely stops. Sometimes, he wags that tail simply when you look at him. He's obviously really happy, which is great!
When we got Ernesto, we were warned about his hilarious smile. If you didn't know him, you might suspect he was being aggressive, but the little tyke couldn't be that way if he tried. His smile consists of baring his teeth, and snapping a bit. It was a bit surprising at first, but it became pretty apparent that he does it when he's excited and super duper happy. Needless to say it is the most amusing thing we've ever seen. Totally classic!!
My almost-four year old niece, Aurora, loves animals. Strauss is one of her best friends, but I think Ernesto might have taken that place. She met him for the first time last weekend. It took her all day to be brave enough to say his name, and was so proud of herself once she got it. We popped along to Animates to meet Robyn and some other greyhounds, and Aurora was in her element. Ernesto LOVES Animates - especially the rabbits and birds. After that we went into the city - Aurora insisted on seeing the bucket fountains - and had lunch along Cuba Street. As usual, lots of people came to pat Ernesto and commented on how handsome he is. Aurora piped in each time with "He loves cuddles. It's his favourite! You can cuddle him, he loves it" and would proceed to lay her head on his and wrap her arms around him. It was adorable. Every second word out of her mouth was "He's so cute".
So, all in all, we love Ernesto a huge, huge amount. He's really made our lives so much better, and we couldn't imagine not having him. We feel extraordinarily blessed to have this amazing, adaptable dog, who went from his previous life, to the GAP kennels, to us all in the space of a few weeks. My mum used to train assistance dogs for people in wheelchairs, so I had a pretty good grasp on everything we needed to do, and I'm really proud of the way we've handled integrating Ernesto into our family, and also really proud of him.

.....and every night, when he wakes me up in the middle of the night with his in-sleep barking and whinging, and skinny legs running as he dreams...I'm so thankful to GAP for matching us with this fantastic dog :)