Monday, September 8, 2008

My Dog History

I suppose more properly my history with dogs maybe.

We (my birth family that is) always had dogs around.  One, the first one, was a gift.  All the others were castaways that city folk dropped off at our corner along with their trash when we were still in the country.

Once we found enough information from the trash to give it to the sheriff's office.  I don't know if anything was done or not.  The maximum penalty back then was some kind of relatively small fine so I guess it wouldn't have been a big deal to them.  I remember the person was a successful and educated person who had a nice home at a city address.  I wanted the Sheriff to make him come pick up the trash.  As it was we ended up doing it.

We did that a lot.  There's something about people that live in cities I think that makes them disrespectful of people who live in the country.  

The other day some woman came by and wanted to use my mother-in-law's barn as a backdrop for photographs.  Well, it was rather inconvenient and permission was not granted.  The woman was just aghast and exclaimed how much she loved that barn and so on.  Would you stop in town and ask someone if you could take pictures of their backyard?  I wouldn't. 

But back to dogs.

The first one I remember from my childhood was a collie named Sandy. She ran across the road not long after we moved to the farm and was killed by a car. The car was being driven by the neighbor boy who is about 12 or 13 years older than I am. It was devastating to him. I think I was too young to have understood what happened. 

The next one I recall was Buster, a black and white spaniel. Dad always said he thought Buster was maybe a springer spaniel but he was more Cocker from pictures.  Probably he wasn't full spaniel though.  I don't know what kind of dog he was exactly but I do know that he was my really good buddy.  He accompanied me everywhere including many adventures to the creek and way out into the pasture and on many crawls under the house and in the hay in the barn.

All of our other dogs were girls. Dad named them all Lady. I always thought that was kind of funny.  But it kind of fit in with dad's family because his parents called their children: Son, Brother, Sister, and Baby.  The kids called their parents mom and dad.

The first "Lady" I recall was thrown out by someone at our corner. She was a tiny little puppy and was covered with fleas and sores and just in awful shape. When dad and my grandparents found her, I was with my mom at church. I was so excited when we arrived home to find a new puppy. Maybe I was 4 or 5.

Dad and Grandma and Pop were working on Lady when I got home and Mom made me change clothes before I could help. Dad was always so good with animals as was his mother. I can't really remember how my Pop was with animals but I suspect he must have been good with them, too.  They were bathing her and putting on flea powder when I finally got to join in.

That Lady grew into a fine specimen of a collie dog and, along with Buster, was my nearly constant companion until they forced me into school.

Even then I can remember sitting in class and looking out the open, screen-less windows and daydreaming about being with Lady and Buster. A few times this got me into trouble, too, and I had to sit in the cloak room. Which wasn't such a bad thing because it was quiet and peaceful in there and a young boy like me could be at home with his thoughts, a better fate than sitting at a desk and learning about Dick and Jane and Spot.  And Spot was pitiful compared to Buster and Lady.

My mother backed over Lady about a dozen or so years later and we had to euthanize the beloved pet. Everyone, especially my mother, was so terribly sad and grief stricken.

We had several other Lady dogs then and all came the same way.  The last one was a little Australian Shepherd looking dog.  She was one of the smartest dogs I've ever known.  Dad loved that little dog and she loved dad.  One day she left and dad was so sad.  Strangely enough we found her a few miles away and coaxed her in the car and took her home.  Dad was so happy.  But a few weeks later she left again and we never found her.  We all thought she had something wrong with her and left to die.

The last dog that dad had was my little Maltese, Tuffy.  Really his name was Sir Tuffy IV.  He was my Ex's dog but she couldn't keep him when she left and I couldn't take care of him either.  So dad and mom volunteered.  Tuffy was about 13 years old when he went to live with dad and he lived with them for 5 years until his death.  At the end dad carried him everywhere and had to help him do everything.   He died the year I came to live with my parents and dad buried him out under the cottonwood tree by the old garage.

One time while Dad was sick my brother brought over his little dog, Nettie.  Dad had always loved Nettie and looked forward to our visits there.  And Nettie loved Dad, too.  But this time was in the last year or two of dad's life and the Alzheimer's had progressed.   My brother put the little dog up on Dad's couch and instead of Dad being happy he was a little scared I think.  He wrapped a blanket around the dog's neck and was trying to force it away from him.  We had to intervene to keep him from hurting Nettie.  I remember having tears in my eyes then.

Besides Tuffy I had a poodle named Mimi and a Keeshond name Cocoa and a Dachshund named Sam.  I think there were a couple of other short timers but I no longer recall.

I have no dog now but my mother-in-law has three.  They, along with the four horses, and one cat give me plenty enough animal friends for now.


Lori1955 said...

This made me think back on all the dogs I have had. I too have had a dog for most of my life. Sometimes I miss that now but I still doubt that I would ever have a dog again. Of course I've said that before and you know how that goes. :)

~Betsy said...

I completely agree about folks from the city disrespecting those of us in the country. A few months back, some slob dumped an old couch over the hill onto our property. What the heck? I guess they had no use for it and thought we might like it! We used it as part of our bonfire for Brian's graduation party. It went up fast.

This is a lovely piece, Terry. Dogs can be such wonderful companions and it seems you had your share.

Annie said...

I'm surprised the woman even bothered to ask.

All of my cats just showed up here. I'm sure that at least one of them was dropped.

¸.•*´)ღ¸.•*´Chris said...

Gotta love those furbabies. I have one dog. Her name is Ash (my hubby and I were both firefighters) and she was dumped when she was 2 months old. She is 4 years old now. I might blog about her sometime soon.

Dogs are just cool animals. Very loving creatures. I'm glad Ash decided to come home with us.