Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dog Tales

My boys got their love of chili pepper from my side of the family, but they also got our gene for loving dogs. That gene can be a burden because loving a dog can cost you as much emotional and almost as much financial drain as loving a child. I grew up with a Cocker Springer mix named Tags when I was a kid. My dad also had a pointer bird dog, but she was used for hunting and was not allowed the free rein that Tags had. However, on the coldest or loneliest days, we would sneak Dutch in for some living room time!

I wasn’t married very many weeks before I got a Schnauzer named Bristles who was my best bud in St. Louis where I knew no one. Yes, he was one pampered dog, and he was a jewel to travel with because he never uttered a peep. He got down on the floor mat when I left the car and only got up in the seat when I returned. One day at the lumber yard he was so excited to see us return he jumped up and locked the door—with the keys inside. People warned us he would never take to a baby, but he took to two of them even when he was eight years old. Bristles also knew when I was pregnant before I did. He pushed into my tummy ever time I sat down, laying his head near new life. His body wore out when he was 15 years old and the children were in grade school.

The boys suffered with loss and so we got another dog, a rescue dog this time, a little fur ball that grew as the boys did. When the boys started running to a ringing phone and shouting “I’ll get it”, Sneakers starting running to answer the phone too. She barked furiously all the way to the phone before standing under it barking. She caught lightening bugs in summer for the boys, and warned us once of an evil person who was urging one of the boys to go into the woods with him. She never ever bit or growled, but with this man, her fur stood straight up on her back and she growled deep menacing threats. I listened to her judgment, and I have always been glad I did. She lived 17 years and never ever responded to another human this way.

So when grand dog Storm blew a knee, we were more than glad to help out for her surgery here at home instead of Wichita. We got her on Sunday and her surgery was Tuesday. The vet is very satisfied with the surgery, as he says it is the best one he have ever done. It is hard to keep her down for convalescing though and eight weeks will be a long time ahead.

The night before her surgery, the other son called from Kentucky in the middle of the night racked with grief. He was returning from the Doggie ER where his own dog had just died. Feeling fine until the last day of this life, our noticed something not right after his own babies were put to bed. He rushed Arthur in where they saw that he was so filled with cancer that he could not make the night.

Arthur meets one of the new babies.

Arthur was a rescue dog, and he had a rather odd personality. He obviously had been abused, and it took him time to trust and feel secure again. When the babies started coming, he took to them fine and when the noise got too loud with crying, he just removed himself to the basement. Once the toddler got to moving and going, Arthur was so funny because when Mason went down to the basement, Arthur came and when the toddler came up, the dog went down. It was like a Charlie Chaplin movie to watch them!

I like people fine, and in fact, I like to be around people. But then again, nothing beats man’s best friend. There is a saying that says something like the more people you know, the better you like your dog. There is some truth to that. If you have a good dog, you have the best friend ever. They just love you unconditionally and are such comfort everyday. They can’t be replaced because they have their own unique personalities. Our son might get another dog, but he won’t have another Arthur.


Ames said...

Oh Claudia, this made we weap. You know I am a dog lover. Got two of the sweetest Chihuahuas ever. They are a misunderstood breed. My girls are truly a part of our family. They greet us when we come home like we had been gone forever. Kisses and smiles all around. I also believe that dogs go to heaven, and that our family members will have to stand back while they greet us first. God wouldn't create something so loving and loyal to let it just be non-existent after it has had a life on this earth.
I loved your story. You have a good and kind heart. Hugs!~Ames

noexcuses said...

After 30 years of marriage, we finally got our first dog. We brought home a rescue that is a mix of Scottie and Bassett. The kids named her Tootsie and we just adore her. I am with you 100% that there is nothing that can replace the loyalty and love of a dog! I loved your story. You have so many wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing!

BECKY said...

Claudia, as always, you've written a beautiful piece. I'm so happy to hear about Storm, but so sad to hear about Arthur. As you know, I recently went through saying goodbye to our beloved pet of almost 14 years. And now, we have another adorable member of our family. Dogs truly are one of life's best gifts. Please tell your son my heart goes out to him.

Judie said...

OUr dogs are like our children, except the children never slept with us! We also have a rescue dog. We got him as a "transition dog" because we knew that our Precious girl didn't have much longer to live. When she died, we were devastated! It was the first time I had ever seen my husband cry! Now we have Lizzy, aka Little Liz, and she and Mulligan do their best to keep us happy.