Justice, Faust, and Cockroach
Dean writes about his canine trio, Justice, Faust, and Cockroach:
Justice, my cranky old woman, died November 2004 after a long and courageous battle with various cancers. She lost her tail at the beginning of '04, but the cancer had already spread. We found an incredible vet that tried to operate and remove the other cancers that had formed, and although he tried his best it was just too much. After ten wonderful years, she left us.
Faust is an incredibly loyal, fun-loving, huge-hearted, wonderfully natured four-year-old rottweiller mix. I found him at the RSPCA (Australian version of the ASPCA) three years ago when looking for a companion for my oldest dog, Justice. I was working more and more and she was lonely by herself so I went looking for a small companion dog for her! Yep: a dog for my dog. As I found Justice at the RSPCA, I thought it only right to find her dog there, too, and after much trial and error we found that the only dog she liked was this lump of walking carpet that was at least twice her size! Faust loves nothing more than to lie near me, away from me, in front of the heater, on the couch, on my bed, on the floor—in fact, anywhere he can. Of course, as soon as he hears the word "walk," he's off and bounding around like a puppy. He may look as nasty as they come but all he wants to do is play—unless you come near the house and he doesn't know you. Then it's a different story!
My third (now second, I guess) dog is a Jack Russell-mix by the name of Cockroach. I named him that because when he first arrived at my place at the ripe old age of eight weeks he was this tiny little terror that ran circles around the much, much larger Faust. But when Faust put him in his place he would jump right back up and have another go! Then when I had trouble finding him in the house all I had to do was follow the sounds of rustling in my garbage and there he would be, looking up at me and wagging his tail like he just found the lost mines of Solomon. So basically he was (still is, in fact) indestructible and always in my garbage, so the name just stuck. Like many dogs of his size he thinks he's a lot bigger than he really is and challenges everyone that comes to our door, walks past the gate, or has the misfortune of not liking dogs—he can smell them out a mile away.
They really are my life at the moment, helping me through many bad times and being there for the good, wanting nothing more than a bit of my pizza, a scratch and a walk in the park.
As said many time in the "Burke" series of books, family is not necessarily the group you're born into but those you keep around you.