Dog Day: If Vodka is an Elsie, then Beer is a Chaser*

February 6, 2008

*Or, How Our Puppy Got Her Name 


 Once, several years ago, I read in a women’s magazine that the best time to discuss “serious” issues with your male partner is when you’re in the car, preferably going for a long drive. That way, you are in close contact with each other, it’s quiet and private, he can’t escape, and he doesn’t have to look you in the eye (always an intimacy-buster for men).  I have absolutely no doubt that writer knew whereof she wrote.  With that in mind, here’s a little glimpse into my past. 

(Scene One: Early morning. Ricki and her HH, driving in the car, circa February, 2006.)

Ricki  (sweetly, with a quiet, loving tone): I just love Elsie so much. But you know, she’s lonely.  She lies on her pillow all day, moping and sighing, or else she just wanders over to the window and stares yearningly at the birds and squirrels outside. And I feel so guilty going off to work and leaving her alone for such long stretches of time.  Dogs are pack animals, you know. They’re not meant to be alone.  It’s so hard on her. She needs a sibling.  What do you say let’s get another dog?

HH: No.

(Scene Two:  Mid-Afternoon. Ricki and her HH, driving in the car, circa May, 2006.)

Ricki (gesturing expressively):  Oh, come on, why can’t we get another dog?  You know that you love Elsie.  You know  you do. Okay, okay, fine; I promise to take full responsibility for house training.  I’ll even be the one who gets up in the middle of the night to let her out to pee until she’s trained.  Oh, come on, honey, you’ll love it, I know you will.  And isn’t Elsie great? Isn’t she? Isn’t she just the cutest thing in the universe? Don’t you just adore her?

HH: Elsie, stop nipping my ear! Get off me! Back! Go on, get into that back seat!

(Scene Three: Evening.  Ricki and her HH, driving in the car, circa January, 2007)

Ricki  (Despondent.  She pouts.):  But I have to have another dog.  You know how much I love dogs.  I am bitterly unhappy!  I simply cannot envision my life without another dog in it!  Two, two is all I want.  Really. I need a puppy.  Elsie needs a sister.  Seriously, I don’t think I can live without another dog.  I will never have another happy moment in my entire life unless we get another dog. (She sheds a tear.)

HH: Elsie, I said get back!  This dog is driving me crazy. Go on, get away, I can’t see where I’m—

(Screeching noises.  The car lurches to a stop, millimeters from a tree.  Silence.  The HH glowers.)


(Scene Four.  Ricki and her HH. Mid-morning, driving in the car, circa May, 2007)

Ricki (from the back seat): Oooh, look at this little angel! Isn’t she just the sweetest little thing?? Ohhh, hello my little fuzzy wuzzy, ooooh you are so cutesie wootsie, what a darling little puppy wuppy kiss kiss pat pat. . . .

HH:  She hasn’t shut up since we got back in the car. Can’t you make her stop crying?

Ricki:  Just ignore her.  Besides, we can’t really get her attention until she knows her name.

HH: But she doesn’t have a name yet.

Ricki:  Well, I’ve got some excellent ideas!  How about–

HH: Wait a sec, YOU named Elsie/L.C.  You said I could come up with a name for this one.

Ricki:  (Suspiciously) Okayyyyy. . . . what’s your idea for a name?

HH: I don’t have one.

Ricki: Well, then, let ME pick one!

HH: No.

Ricki (after a pause): Okay, well, let’s brainstorm.  I’m sure we can come up with something.  How about related to your hobbies.  I know, what about a cute car name, like Bentley, since you love cars?

HH:  You mean, like, “Come here, Ferrari!”  Naw, too stupid sounding.

Ricki:  Well, what about a famous musician’s name, then?

HH:  What, like, “Come here, Rachmaninov!”  Really stupid sounding.

Ricki:  Okay, let’s look at some of our favorite televison shows.  What about Star Trek?

HH:  Oh, yeah, like, “Come here, Seven of Nine!”  Right.  Mega stupid. As if we’re going to find a name in a television show!

Ricki: Hmmmm.  What about House?  Who are our favorite characters. . . .let’s see. . . .Gregory House, Dr. Foreman. . . .

HH:  Really, this is not going to work.

Ricki:  There’s Dr. Chase. . . Hey!  How about Chaser?

HH:  Hmmmnnn.  (Pause). Perhaps, perhaps.

Ricki:  Yeah, that’s kinda cute, actually, little Chaser. . . .

HH:  Sort of like a “chaser” after a drink. . . yeah!  Hmm!  VERY cute!

Ricki:  Yes!  And she’s so energetic and bouncy, I bet she’ll be chasing Elsie all over the place–

HH:  Okay.  I think I like it!

(They arrive home, and, as they both cradle the puppy in their arms, they kiss.  They enter the house as a family unit).


(Scene Five.  Morning.  Ricki and her HH, driving in the car, circa January, 2008)

Ricki:  See, I told you they’d get along eventually!  See how Chaser just loves Elsie. . . she doesn’t leave her alone, in fact.  Actually,  I think the only one that Chaser loves more than Elsie is yo–

HH:  Chaser, off!  Stop nipping my ear!  Get back in the– 

(Screeching noises.  The car comes to a stop millimeters from a flowerbed in someone’s front yard.  Silence, followed by loud and enthusiastic barking.  The scene fades to black.)

Well, if I learned anything from the experience, it’s this:  we sure could use a chauffeur.  

(“Um, sorry about that last part, Mum.  But since you already told Elsie’s story, thanks for telling mine, too!”)



11 Responses to “Dog Day: If Vodka is an Elsie, then Beer is a Chaser*”

  1. Johanna Says:

    very amusing tale (but with the title I was waiting for the moment you got really drunk and named them). I didn’t realise your chaser was just a wee puppy. I worry about our cat being alone but cats are more self-reliant than dogs at least. And I thought it was odd that the women’s mag advised that the car was the best place for intimate conversations – we would have lots of accidents if we did that!

  2. Ricki Says:


    I’m laughing as I read your comment–yes, I was worried about accidents many a time! Chaser is actually now about 10 months (we got her last May, so the story goes back that far). There are more updated pics in some of my other blog entries, but I thought it would be fun to show her when she was wee. And cats are definitely more self-reliant; when I lived with cats (long time ago), they usually wanted very little to do with the humans.

  3. Awwww, sweet puppies!

    My husband says he is just a cat person (we have two–both of which I had before I met him) and never wants a dog. But I bring it up every few months (okay, maybe once a month) to remind him that I WILL get my way on this issue eventually. So many people in our neighborhood have such adorable dogs, and I feel such envy when they are walking them! We live in an 800-sq. ft. apartment now, so with our two cats (who HATE dogs), it’s not the right time, but . . . the time will come! (Probably when we have hardwood floors instead of carpet, too. . . .)

  4. VeggieGirl Says:

    oh my goodness, too cute!! such an enjoyable post, as always – your writing style is so captivating, ricki!

  5. jenny Says:

    That’s such a great story, the two of them are SO cute!

  6. Ricki Says:


    Good luck with your canine-quest. I think that if you love dogs and feel you need one in your life, you will get one eventually (no matter what!). I had a friend once who owned a Great Dane in a one-bedroom apartment, so it CAN be done (and to tell the truth, our Girls seem to spend most of the day sleeping on the floor near me, so they don’t exactly take advantage of the space!). I’d say the greatest challenge is the amount of WORK involved, especially when you live in a snowy winter climate (it takes about 20 minutes just to get everyone ready to go for a 15-minute walk). But of course, I wouldn’t give them up for anything!!

    Thanks so much! (I’m blushing. . .).


    Glad you enjoyed it, and welcome! Of course we in our house think they’re cute, but it’s good to hear that the cuteness translates (even a little) onto the screen. 🙂

  7. Yeah, it’s not so much having a dog in 800 sq. ft. as it is having a dog in 800 sq. ft. with two cats that would rather have the dog dead. 😉

  8. Lizzie Says:

    Ricki, that was such a great story! I, too long for another dog. Elsie and Chaser are absolutely adorable. You’re a lucky lady 🙂

    I love your blog by the way!

  9. Ricki Says:


    I know what you mean, having lived with cats!


    Thanks, and welcome to the blog! I do feel lucky, as they are both “good girls” and provide a great outlet for affection (and many humorous stories)!

  10. Lynda Says:

    Were you in the back seat of my car listening when my husband and I were having this same conversation? Honestly. it is almost word per word. You are lucky. It took me about 2 years to talk (beg) my husband into getting a second dog. I would own ten or more dogs if he would agree, but that’s never going to happen. So right now, I am satisfied with two.
    Now, he would be lost without both of our sons. They stay at his feet every second, and he loves it. They absolutely worship him.
    He is very proud of the fact that they both favor him over me.
    (Go figure)
    I can hardly wait to show my husband your story. I’m sure he will think that I am the one who really wrote it, but signed “Ricki”.
    By the way, your girls are absolutely gorgeous. Their personalities truly
    come through in their pictures. They make me want two dogs EXACTLY
    like Elsie and Chaser.
    Thanks so much for sharing this cute story.

  11. Ricki Says:

    Thanks so much for your comment, and welcome to the blog!

    That’s so funny about you having the same conversation, also in the car! But I’m glad you did finally convince your hubby. I have to admit that 2 is enough for me right now (ten??!), given our fairly small house and our location. (Now, if we owned a 100-acre farm, well–!)

    Thanks for the compliments on The Girls. (I won’t tell them, though, as I think they have gotten swelled heads from all this attention on the blog!)

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