Danica Patrick's new puppy love
DOVER, Del. -- Danica Patrick's brow was furrowed and she seemed on the verge of panic.
The newfound object of her affections and all her motherly anxiety bounded from her arms and onto the patch of grass between her motor home and that of her neighbor in the driver lot at Dover International Speedway.
A 4-month-old blond-and-cream miniature Siberian husky, crystalline blue eyes brimming with mischief and mouth lined with gnawing little needles, Dallas was shaking off a difficult morning with a romp.
Then she threw up the dry dog food. Just like the wet stuff, and out went the medicine for the upset stomach. She seemed no worse for it, but Patrick continued to scrutinize and fret.
"I'm a paranoid pet owner," she said.
Dallas seems less ill than ill-trained, as is the prerogative of a puppy. Or maybe she was rounding into her role as the unfettered child of celebrity, high-profile pet -- @DallasStenhouse -- in the NASCAR Twitter community.
Watching her bound under the motor coach and out toward an access road full of zooming golf carts is gasp-worthy, however. Wrangled by a member of Patrick's media relations staff, the little nipper was soon lying across the driver's arm as Patrick felt comfortable enough to sit.
The doting -- and finger chewing -- began in earnest until Dallas plopped onto the ground and began attacking her water bowl with vigor. Patrick implored her to drink. Dallas just jumped in it with her front paws. Kids.
"God, her energy is 30 million times higher now," Patrick said, scooping the puppy up again. "Why are you throwing up and now having energy? Talk to me!"
Patrick's family always had dogs during her childhood, she said, and she and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. began searching for their own after Stenhouse bought a spacious new home in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. They found Dallas at a breeder in Asheville, North Carolina, and bought her on Mother's Day.
"I wanted a small dog and Ricky wanted a big dog," Patrick said, then noticing that Dallas was trying to consume a clover flower. "Come here, girl. Come!
"He picked out a breed. He had looked a bunch of stuff up on the Internet and found there were miniature Siberian huskies. I said those are really pretty dogs. I said I had stopped somebody a long time ago in my neighborhood in Scottsdale who had two of them and asked about them. So that was a long time ago, so they just have pretty blue eyes and their coloring.
"And when we found out there was miniature ones, that's the compromise, right? Once we got Dallas and she was just a little puppy, he was just like, 'Oh, I wish they could stay this size forever.' I was like, 'Who wanted the small dog?' "
And as for the name?
"Ricky likes Texas," she said, almost apologetic for not providing a better backstory. "Not any more complicated than that."
Dallas' life doesn't appear extremely complicated, judging by the ghost-tweets. There are pictures of her at the veterinarian, the water bowl and lounging on her owners, consoling them after rough days at the office. And with such a documented life, the mischief and the needle teeth haven't been alone long enough to apply themselves to anything expensive.
"When you watch her like a hawk, it's hard for her to really tear anything too far apart. So nothing yet," Patrick said.
Chances are, Patrick would forgive her anyway.