This is Ripley.
She’s four and a half months old, a new occupant in our house as of a week ago, and, as our vet put it, “a terrier through and through.” She has beautiful amber eyes, a scruffy coat and the sunniest disposition of any dog I’ve ever lived with. And true to her terrier nature, she’s tenacious and bright. And a total handful.
Though she ended up at an animal shelter with her mom and sisters, we believe she was well loved before we came into her life. She survived parvovirus, which required careful, potentially expensive care and some luck. She already knew how to fetch, doesn’t mind having her nails clipped and lets you reach in her mouth to take out the peanut shell she found in the yard and really wants to eat.
After taking her to the vet this week, we found out she has giardia, an intestinal parasite likely picked up at the shelter. Some dogs host the parasite with no ill effects, but since she’d already been through a serious health issue she was more susceptible. We’re in the middle of dealing with that–it’s highly contagious and a bitch to get rid of.
And then there’s Stella.
At the start of this year, Stella wasn’t doing well, and we thought we were on the downward slope with her. But she’s experienced a rebound of sorts. She’s still mobility challenged due to serious arthritis, but she’s eating like a champ and full of attitude. And not ready to go.
We didn’t come to the decision to get another dog easily. Stella has never been a fan of other dogs, considering herself closer to human status, and her inability to ambulate compounds that issue. But after nursing our dog Dali through an illness and then departure, then nursing Stella for the past year plus, we missed the simple joy of a young, happy dog. We decided to gamble and hope for the best.
Though Ripley doesn’t understand why Stella isn’t as excited to see her as she is to see Stella, she’s learning to leave her alone. Since Stella was never the outdoorsy type, she doesn’t seem to mind the ball throwing and walks Ripley gets to enjoy. In just one week, we’ve already reached a comfortable dynamic. I’m grateful.
Names are important.
We took our time deciding on a name for this dog, wanting to come up with something that a) reflected who she is and b) we wouldn’t mind yelling at the beach to get her to come to us. We settled on Ripley, named after Sigourney Weaver’s character in the Alien films. It fits.
It took us two days to make our decision. Here’s a small sampling of the options we, smartly, decided not to pursue:
- Athena (great song by The Who, feel-like-a-jackass-when-yelling potential)
- Whiskey (“they’ll think we’re alcoholics”)
- Aja (yes, the Steely Dan album) (pronounced “Asia”) (not my suggestion)
- Queso (obvious reasons)
- Echo (interesting idea, but no)
- Zelda (the dog, the myth, the legend)
- Cookie (too cutesy for this scrappy dog)
- Schotzie (cool dog from James’ childhood)
- Rosé (why does it keep coming back to alcohol?)
- Supertramp (my personal favorite from the reject pile) (mostly because I would love to see someone standing on the beach yelling SUPERTRAMP into the wind over and over)