months ago, just before Father's Day, my wife and I bought a French
Bulldog from a breeder in Apple Valley. I had met her brother during an
exam and found out that his sister's purchase had fallen through and that
she was now available for a buyer with cash in hand. There was an
instantaneous bonding and the fun has just begun!
I named her "Fessel"-
a loving Yiddish term meaning chubby -- as in "Eat, Fessel." My kids
thought that I was being mean to name her that but I told them, "When your
grandma used the term for your mother, it was meant with love and that's
how I mean it here!"
My whole family can
tell that I'm crazy for Fessie, as she is usually called. My wife and
kids have complained that I have never kissed them with the same ardor
that I have showered on Fessie. But I really don't think that they want
to experience a big cheek suck.
Housebreaking hasn't been one of Fessie's strong points -- but -- we are
getting better! An interesting irony is that originally, my wife Linda,
in deference to her well manicured garden, wanted a dog that would only go
on the cement and not on the grass. Well, with Fessie, she got just that,
but be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Linda
found out that this was a high maintenance behavior. Training is now aimed
at luring Fessie back to greener pastures.
Although Fessie is a terrific specimen of her breed, what really sets her
apart is her personality. She gets along with everybody and is just as at
home with new visitors as with familiar friends. At family gatherings she
is passed like a baby to sit in the laps of the guests. (Many family
friends are like us, nascent empty nesters). When she plays with Jacques,
our fourteen year old Toy Poodle, she shows the respect and gentleness
befitting the situation, but when she plays with Bella, my daughter's ten
month old Pit Bull-cross, she's like a low trajectory cannon ball.
Whether I'm taking her for a walk along Ocean Avenue or bathing her in the
kitchen sink, the basic point is that I get a lot of enjoyment from these
activities. We even went to compete in a dog show last week. By creating
so much fun in my life, Fessie's biggest gift is allowing me to reconnect
with why I became a veterinarian, and why I have enjoyed practicing for
the last thirty-two years. I think the net effect is that Fessie’s helped
me be a more effective doctor, better able to empathize with patients’ and
Additional point of information: Fessie was born on Valentines Day 2003.