Like David Copperfield, I am born, my name significant. On a Saturday night in mid-December, in a cozy keeping room beneath the icons, I take my place in the world. She delivered me, tore open my amniotic sac, wiped me down with an old dishtowel and presented me to my mother.
I was the smallest of the four females and the next to the smallest in a litter of ten. Despite my size, early on, I proved intrepid and indomitable. She nicknamed me, Teeny Little Super Girl. I measured up to my “Super Girl“ status in every way.
At three weeks, I was the first to figure out she was my ticket out of the whelping box, bonding to her like glue. Every morning and evening she climbed into our “den” of plywood and newspaper. Like ants on an anthill, we clamored all over her. In the melee, frantic for attention, all jostling for position, I always managed to place myself front and center on her lap, pawing playfully up her chest, gnawing at my favorite button on her training vest.
We were inseparable, or so I thought. On April 1st of all days she sealed the deal.
She didn’t want to let me go, held on to me as long as she possibly could, but they had agreed to keep one male. My brother, Artemios, drew the long straw.
He, my new owner, wanted to pay for me in installments… $500.00 dollars a month for three months: April, May and June. She acquiesced, but wouldn’t agree to a penny less than $1500. She knew I was one of a kind.
We met for the transfer in a Dean and DeLuca parking lot. She carefully packed my favorite chew toy, a blanket ripe with my brother’s scent, my vaccination record and a detailed list of German commands I’d mastered, along with a handwritten note emphasizing just how special I was. Because we’re both tough chicks, we put on a brave face. No tearful or whinny goodbyes, just best wishes for a great life, her last words to me as he loaded my crate into the back of his Volvo wagon.
Somehow, I know she thinks of me everyday. She pictures me playing with Ella the two-year old who adores me, walking with Amy and taking German commands from Jason. She dreams of seeing me at Club someday, all grown up and rocking the Schutzhund world of exceptional German Shepherd Working Dogs.
While I join the diaspora of my littermates, Ansa, Asia, Athena, Aesclepios, Augustus, Aquilla, Alexandros, and Amos, a part of me will always reside in her heart and she in mine.
She dubbed me, Gina, short for my registered name, Aegina von Landis, in honor of her beloved island, her ideal of perfection. My new family calls me Gia, the Greek goddess who personified Earth, the mother of all.
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked. A name speaks volumes I would say.
I am not teeny or little anymore, but I am and forever will be her Super Girl.
Written by Lea Tsahakis. Aegina von Landis’ mother is V Eugenia von den Oher Tannen