When my sister’s poodle got “in the family way” after an unplanned visit by the neighbour’s minpin, my hubby and I discussed the possibility of taking one of the puppies. We’d recently lost our cat, Spooky, and not only was I feeling her loss, so was our other cat, Minet. We just weren’t sure how Minet would take having an active puppy invade her space.
The two females in the litter were spoken for, but the male was ours, if we wanted him. How could we not want him? As soon as he saw us, he did everything he could, including climbing on the backs of his sisters, to escape his box and say hello.
We chose to call him Titan because although he was very tiny, he had the spirit of a warrior. We don’t think he ever realized he was only half miniature-pincher, not an actual Doberman Pincher. No little frou-frou poodle yap for this puppy, he had a loud, deep bark that he used with authority. Titan’s intimidating bark surprised plenty of people before they realized he was actually an energetic little bundle of love.
Our worries about how Minet would accept our latest family member were quickly dispelled. Titan had no idea they were supposed to be dog-and-cat enemies. He loved Minet from the start, thought she made a perfect playmate, and to our amazement, she was totally okay with that. Maybe they bonded over their mutual black coats. Maybe she was still young enough at a year old to also want a buddy and figured a small black puppy was better than nothing. They wrestled together, snuggled together, strolled the backyard together, were completely inseparable.
One day while we were working in the unfenced backyard, three medium-sized dogs aggressively approached Titan from the alley. Knowing when the cards were stacked against him, he wisely scampered for safety, whimpering to let us know he was being pursued. Before we could chase off the strange dogs, Minet flew by us, a virtual black blur. With a ferocious howl, she put the run on those dogs, chasing them halfway up the alley for good measure. Recalling Minet’s heroics that day gave us a good chuckle for years to come. No one was going to mess with her little pal on her watch.
Minet and Titan were as close as two small creatures could be, but ultimately, Titan was my baby. If I was seated, there was a good chance he’d be on my lap. While pregnant with our first child, I knit a baby blanket. With both my belly and the blanket growing larger by the day, there was less room for Titan on my lap, but somehow he managed to squeeze in. I must’ve looked quite massive towards the end, with not only my blossoming belly but also a small dog nestled under the blanket as I knit away.
Titan was my monkey, my sweetheart, my shadow, but unfortunately he had a flaw. He loved to run away. We kept him on a leash or a lead outside, but whenever he could, he’d escape, typically out the front door and off as fast as his little legs would carry him down the street. I tended to follow and round him up quite quickly. Just as he couldn’t seem to help himself from running away, he also usually couldn’t help coming to me all apologetic when he heard me call.
In the fall of 1982 a salesman came to the door. I had the baby in my arms, and although I tried to block him, Titan escaped through the open door. As soon as I got rid of the salesman, I put my son in his stroller and took off through the neighbourhood calling for Titan. I didn’t see him and he didn’t hear me. Deciding I could cover more area in my car, I headed back home.
One look at my husband’s anguished face confirmed my worst fears and shattered my heart into a thousand pieces. My little Titan had been playing with his best buddy, Minet, at the corner of the street. She knew better than to dart out in traffic. He didn’t. We buried him with the greatest sadness in the hills on the outskirts of town.