Flashback to the 80’s

“Paula! Janet!”
I’ve called the puppies by the wrong names several times in the past week. Mixing up my children’s names is something I have been known to do on occasion. But these two names are not my daughter’s name or any of my three sisters’ names (who by the way I accidentally call my daughter sometimes). Janet and Paula are from a previous life of mine. Well, not actually. They are from our years as D.I.N.K.s. The carefree time in our marriage we refer to as the “Dual Income No Kids.”

Just married, making money, and having fun spending that money! Our first big purchase was a stereo console the size of a small refrigerator. We ate on a card table and plastic patio chairs, but our condo was booming with music from MC Hammer and Madonna. Both of us were pet lovers, so it did not take long before we became DINKs with a dog.

My husband surprised me on my birthday with bringing home a beautiful blonde cocker spaniel, just like the one from Lady and the Tramp. Instead of a Lady, it was a “lad” who was a rescue dog. He’d had a rough beginning that made him nervous from the start. We named him O.J. after a little private joke we had about the words olive juice. O.J. became the most fitting name for this dog that had a mean side. He could be sweet and happy if left unbothered. My in-laws took a real liking to O.J. and ultimately took him home to their house. They had a large yard and knew how to deal with his temperament. They loved O.J. for many years and he loved them.

We waited awhile before the time was right to try again for expanding our pet family. We had saved and bought our first house, with a tiny backyard. It felt natural to get a puppy. Now I will admit something that may surprise you, we got TWO PUPPIES. My blog my have led you to believe that I had never had two puppies at once before. I have. But it was so long ago there are many things I do not remember.

We adopted two purebred Shih Tzu females from a breeder. We visited the litter and picked our our little sweethearts, brought them home and named them. The smaller light brown one we called “Paula” after Paula Abdul. The plumper darker-coated one we named “Janet” after Janet Jackson. It was the eighties! Our two little girls were precious! Tiny! Hours after we brought them home we discovered a large bump on Janet’s stomach. We called the breeder who told us we could exchange her for a different pup. My husband wanted to do that. I shrieked, “What?! Just take her back and switch her out?! No way. This is Janet and she knows us already.” So after a little hernia repair our Janet stayed with our family. She did end up being the kookiest of the two dogs.

Paula and Janet were not your typical Shih Tzu’s. I like to remember them as cool California outdoor no-fuss Shih Tzu’s. We kept them groomed in short puppy cuts with only fluff on their heads. They played outdoors in the California climate. Chasing balls, running circles around furniture, and burning a lot of energy. I will never forget their large expressive round eyes, their bottom teeth, and the hair on the top of their heads pulled into a bow. Cute and outdoorsy at the same time!

Koda and Summer are young puppies but are the same size as Janet and Paula full grown. So you can understand my occasional mistake at calling them by the wrong name. It makes me smile when I do it, remembering those days almost three decades ago.


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