I saw a photo frame in a gift shop a couple of years ago that said, "Properly trained, man can be dog's best friend." I immediatly knew I had to buy it for Tim and Elvis because that sums up their relationship perfectly.
In August of 2001 Tim came out to visit us in Minnesota and had no intention whatsoever of going home with a dog. But Elvis was living in a home with a female person and 4 female corgis .... and they spent a lot of time with me (another female person) and my two female corgis. I don't know if he was just growing tired of being the only 'guy' among so many women or if there was something about Tim that attracted him (some of both, I think) but Elvis latched on to Tim that weekend and claimed him as his own.
This picture was taken that weekend; Elvis staking his claim and looking down at all the girls with an air of superiority. There were a few challenges involved in getting Elvis a plane ticket but eventually it all came together and several days later Elvis flew back to Michigan with Tim. I'll never forget that morning .... making a hasty run to our veterinarian to get the 'fit to fly' document .... then going to the airport and watching Elvis move down the conveyer belt in his kennel, just as contented as he could be. He knew he was going home with Tim, and if this was part of the process, then so be it. He never looked back. Tim, however, did look back a few times when it became clear that the 1 year old Elvis was not yet through the puppy-chewing stage. Several rocking chairs still sit in Tim's living room, runners mostly gone, as a reminder of those early days. But the love affair between man and dog took root. Elvis is quite different from my girls in that he is a 'one man dog'.
My girls enjoy attention from others ... and quickly warm up to them. Elvis has a handful of human friends (next door neighbor June and a few other professors in the math department at Hope, but for the most part he is only interested in one person - Tim. He has a way of making any other person (me, for instance) feel like they are nothing. This summer we were touring an old fort on the Keewenaw Peninsula in Upper Michigan and I finished before Tim did, so I went back to the car to let the dogs out. Elvis jumped out, but steadfastly refused to move out of sight of Tim's car. He minds Tim perfectly, but when I told him to 'come' , he looked at me with a 'who are you to tell me what to do?" look on his face. Another time, Tim had gone to an event at the Hope College chapel and Elvis was sitting right outside the door (off leash), patiently waiting for him. When Tim got home later that evening, there were two messages on his answering machine. The first was, "Dr. Pennings, we found your dog Elvis and we're going to bring him to your house." Tim already knew what the second message would be. "Dr. Pennings, Elvis refuses to go with us. He is sitting by the chapel door."