Kelly Patrice Collins, cpsa Colored Pencil Artist
I definitely did not bond with Preston at first. I wasn’t really ready for another dog yet. But I am not one to even consider taking a dog back, for any reason. However, I was a little disappointed when we realized that Preston was not housebroken. As a matter of fact, he managed to pee on just about everything: on every floor, every couch, every futon, the back seat of the car. Fortunately, he never did pee on our bed, at least not that I know of.
Actually, years later when I went to sell the futon, the woman who bought it said it was fine “as long as no one had peed on it or anything.” Since it was years after the fact, I figured it didn’t matter. “Oh, no,” I lied.
Eric had a close friend who was a Muslim from Kuwait. On Ahmed’s first visit to our house for dinner, Filbert had greeted him at the door with a toy – which he did for anyone. Ahmed seemed genuinely touched and exclaimed, “Oh, he brought me a gift!” Ahmed would not actually touch Filbert, or any dog, but Fil left him alone. Dogs are better than cats in that way.
So, there we were with Preston now. Eric and Ahmed were discussing the various things they liked to discuss: love, war, religion, politics. All of the things that you aren’t supposed to discuss at the dinner table. At one point when they were discussing the Muslim religion, I asked Ahmed why Muslims considered dogs ‘dirty.’
“Well, they roam around in mud and stuff and get dirty,” he answered a bit hesitantly. “They roll in things….”
I was petting Preston next to my side at the table and all of a sudden he peed right there on the dining room floor. I looked down in horror, as did Eric, and we all knew what had just happened. Without skipping a beat, Ahmed said, ‘And there’s that.”
Eric and I burst out laughing. Who could argue the obvious? Dogs ARE dirty. But we love them anyway.
Since Filbert had been such a good dog, he was accepted into the households of all of our friends, even those who didn’t have a dog. So, it was normal to bring Preston along when our friends Lane and Denise got married in their own loft apartment. They were married by a female Unitarian minister. It was a lovely little service with just the four of us and the minister.
Later, the five of us sat down for a round of champagne to celebrate. Neither Eric nor I were really paying attention to Preston, but the other three were because he had wandered to the back of the room and indiscreetly lifted his leg and peed on their closet door. Lane was horrified. Our friends were so polite that they didn’t even say anything until about a month later. Preston never went to their house again.
After a few weeks of this, I was getting frustrated because Preston was not getting it into his head that he wasn’t supposed to pee in the house. I called a local trainer for advice and she said to take him out every half hour or so and he would eventually get the idea that he should pee out there. Well, it only took a week and a half of this until he was fully housebroken. Either that or, I suspected, he had already marked the entire house as his territory anyway.
Months later, we decided that we wanted a new car and we wanted a Scion because of the promise that we would not be hassled or pushed into things we really didn’t want or need. Just as we had told each other when we got Preston, we were only “going to look.” We both agreed that we were tired of a manual car and wanted to go back to an automatic. We drove to the car lot and, since it was a cool February day, we took Preston along with us.
We looked over the Scions and we both immediately fell in love with a steely grey model xD.
“It’s a manual,” the salesperson said. “It will be two weeks until we can get that in an automatic.”
Eric and I looked at each other. “We’ll take it.”
So we went into the showroom office to formalize the deal. We were in that damn office for hours! Question after question. Signature after signature. Finally, after what seemed forever, all of the paperwork was done. They brought the car around to the door.
“You can drive that,” Eric said.
“Really?” I said incredulously. I really thought that HE would want to drive it. I jumped at the chance. So I got in the car and drove off, waving to Eric as he got into the 4-Runner.
When we got home, Eric was in one of his panicked, stressed out moods. It turned out that we had been in the office for so long that poor Preston simply could not hold it anymore and he had diarrhea all over the back seat. Eric cleaned it out. We left the windows open.
The next day, I put the car on Craig’s List for $2500.00. Less than an hour later I received a call from someone who wanted to look at it. He came over and looked the car over. Without anything said, Eric blurted out: ”you can have it for $2000.00.”
What a salesman!!
The man jumped at the idea and wrote a check on the spot. Off went our 4-Runner.
I just looked at Eric and shook my head. I knew he felt guilty that we didn’t tell the person who bought it what had happened just the day before.
Our Toyota 4-Runner had been excellent for Preston. He loved the sunroof. On nice days, we would leave it open just for him. He would stick his head up through it so the wind would flow through his fur. He would only stay for a few moments. I’m not sure if it was difficult to stand that high and his legs got tired, or if the wind would just eventually become too much. Either way, it was always easy to tell when he had his head out because of the sound of the wind whistling through his cheeks and ears. His lips would often curl up so that he looked like he was growling, except his eyes were closed.
I felt a bit guilty when we sold the 4-Runner for the Scion. The Scion didn’t have a sunroof. But, Preston was always amazingly adaptable. He would just stick his nose out of the side window in the Scion. Occasionally, he would roll the window down. I had to use the child-lock so that he couldn’t jump or fall out. I often wondered if he had figured out how to open the window or if it was just an accident. Probably it started as an accident and he thought:
“Hey, if I press this little button here, the window goes down!!! That is way cool!”
Preston in the sunroof.