I've been told I was born on December 12, 1996 along with my brother. I don't know my birth mom and birth dad or if I even had any other brothers and sisters. This is my story... our story... as I remember it.
Part I - We Adopt a Mom and Dad
My name is Tasmin. I live with my brother, Gryphon, in a real nice home with our two parents, Patricia and Michael. Even though Gryphon is the same age as me, he's much bigger. I think he must have been the "grunt" of the litter because he's soooo dumb sometimes, but he's real big and he protects me and teaches me things. (He always tells other dogs that I was the "runt" of the litter; that's why I call him grunt... sometimes... when he's not listening).
After we were born, we were held prisoner in some kind of dog prison. I didn't know it then, but those people might have made us take bad medicine or something so we would not wake up. That would have made Mom and Dad real sad because they never would have had my brother and me in their lives. That would have made me sad, too. I don't know if it would have made Gryphon sad; he's just pretty happy most of the time so I can't imagine him sad except maybe when Dad takes our food away or when Mom makes us sit on the tile floor and Gryphon's paws keep sliding so he can't stay up and he's embarrassed. So, yeah, I guess he would have been sad, too. For some strange reason, they called it an "animal shelter", but it was the most FRIGHTENING place in the world. Other dogs would run scared when they heard the name of the place, the Santa Ana Animal Shelter.
Luckily, we did get rescued by the nice humans at Pet Pro Life. They took us to a big pet store with a bunch of other noisy pups and stuck us in a cage. At least we were together, but everything was sooo big and noisy and they kept calling Gryphon "Ceasar" and me "Cleo" and they acted like it was real cute, but it wasn't, not at all.
Our mom and dad -- of course we didn't know them as Mom and Dad yet -- came in and looked at the other dogs. Then they noticed us, but Dad didn't seem to want to play and then they left. Other people came by, but we really wanted the nice couple to come back. They did. Mom and Dad both picked us up. They thought we looked exactly the same so they didn't notice that Gryphon was already acting like my big brother especially with those huge paws he kept tripping over.
While Mom filled out the paperwork, another lady and her little girl were trying to adopt me. I didn't want to leave Gryphon! I wanted my new mom and dad and, luckily, Mom wrote faster. I was so happy! Then they put me and Gryphon into stupid boxes and it was scary and noisy, but a different kind of noise, not other dogs. We felt like we were moving and when they opened the boxes up, we were in a different place. It was our new home! We got to run and play and pee all over the place. It was like a REALLY BIG CAGE with lots of room. Even though we ran everywhere, we didn't lose track of each other got to sleep curled up together. We were so happy!
Part II - Our Private Room
They gave us our very own room except that they entered it every morning and night to open big boxes that smelled like food. One was really cold and one was really hot. The floor was smooth except for our beds. They even put down some pads for when we couldn't hold our water anymore. And we had a gate to keep strangers out. We really wanted to sleep on the soft, warm floor, but that didn't happen for a long time.
Dad brought us water and Mom brought us food. They were real nice. Sometimes they even pretended that our gate would keep them out so we could have our privacy, but we knew they could open it if they wanted to.
The very first time we went for a ride, they put us in separate boxes and we couldn't even see where we were going. Gryphon chewed his way out, but I didn't have enough teeth to do that. They took us to this nice man who gave us vitamins and petted us all over. His name was Dr. Boodman. He works with some nice ladies and another nice man named Dr. Lundholm. They are our favorite vets and they never try to hurt us. We like going there except that some of the other dogs who go there are grumpy or whiney and don't want to play.
Gryphon and I had a little head cold and we had to stay in our room until we felt better. That was okay because it was so much bigger than the boxes. Later on, it seemed to get smaller and smaller. By then, Mom and Dad let us out a lot more. They got us a big basket with a cushion in it for our bed, but Gryphon must have chewed it up. It tasted real good. I mean, that's what Gryphon said.
Part III - Size Matters
One day they gave us each our own house, a big one for Gryphon and a smaller one for me. You see, Gryphon kept getting bigger and bigger. Every time we went to see Dr. Boodman or Dr. Lundholm, Gryphon got a bigger number than me: he was 18 and I was 9, he got 20 and I only got 10, he scored 30 and I was just at 15. He kept saying it was because he was winning the game all of the time. I don't even know how to play that game; I think he made up the rules. I learned that because he kept scoring higher and higher that he kept his feet on the ground more and more while I was able to jump up in Mom's arms or into Dad's lap.
I can still jump onto the table on the patio and I can leap right up on top of our dog house outside. Gryphon has to use a chair first. So, now that he has reached 60 and I'm just barely at 30, he can brag about his numbers all he wants; I've got speed and altitude while he has size and strength.
Part IV - School Days
One day, Mom and Dad took us in the car with our leashes and some other things and we went to this big play area. Only, it wasn't for play, it was SCHOOL! We were in Puppy Kindergarten. A very nice lady named Patty Thurner from Dog Services Unlimited helped our parents learn how to do things like walk and stand next to us while we sat and stuff.
Mom and Dad got very good at these things so they would walk right where we wanted them to and they would stand patiently while we rested in the sitting position or even when we laid down for awhile. Sometimes I would get real sleepy sitting there and lean against Dad's leg. Then Mom would wave at him to get his attention and he would notice me and sit me up again.
At least we got to meet a lot of other dogs. For puppies, some were REAL big and some were tiny. I got to play with the smaller ones during recess and Gryphon got to hang around with the medium dogs. He kept wanting to come over and visit me, though. It was lots of fun.
Eventually we graduated and we got nice certificates showing that we did very good in school. That got Mom and Dad all interested in taking us to more classes and having us meet more dogs and learn more commands and things.
We found that the local Super Pets store (now another Petsmart) had classes so we signed up for them. We met some older dogs and some really big ones, too. The teachers were Tami and Kathy. They were REAL smart and not as patient with us as Patty was in kindergarten.
We started out in Beginning Obedience and gradually went on to Intermediate and Advanced. Mom and Dad were real happy with us and we liked Tami and Kathy a lot. Plus, we got to play Hide 'n' Go Seek inside the store and lots of other games. We always got lots of treats for doing our commands right, too.
After a couple of years, Mom wanted us to try Agility classes. Dad didn't think that Gryphon would do well (neither did I) because I was the one who could run and jump all over the place. Dad was wrong, though. In our Beginning Agility class with Wayne, he took First Place and I took Second on the last day's competitions. That got all of us very excited (and lots more treats again). We joined an Intermediate Agility class with Wayne which was given at Paul and Patty Thurner's house (the same Patty from our Kindergarten class).
We learned to climb ramps, run across narrow dog walks, jump hurdles, go through tunnels and closed-ended chutes. The hardest thing was the weave poles. I didn't like them, but Mom and Dad kept bribing me to go back and forth between them by holding out some yummy food just in front of my nose.
Both Gryphon and I did very well on the courses and in the competitions. (Mom and Dad did pretty good, too, but they got winded easily.) We would start slowing down towards the end of each class and then, when they figured it was time to stop, they would let us play with the other dogs and we would run and run and chase each other. If the big dogs started chasing me, which I loved to do, Gryphon would run interference and block them. He's still my protector and my friend even if he is my brother.
(to be continued)