Saturday, July 31

From Doggedly to Dogless part I


In the true spirit of being Red Necks, our family frequently checks the "free" section of our local classifieds, looking for what random things are one man's junk, being another man's treasure (ours). As we peruse the ever growing, ever changing list, we come across, on every page, something which bothers us. Family members being pawned, no thrown, away to the first taker who has a "good home". Ariel in particular is bothered by this, as the number of family members he has fed and cleaned up after and trained who could potentially have ended up on this list far outnumbers my own. All of them lived with the family from whenever they came into the family, be it wandering and found on the street or from sucking pup, until the time they died.
I remember being asked as a child, along with all of my siblings, what we'd like to do for a fun family activity. Whenever I could remember it I always suggested the same thing. Why don't we go down to the Humane Society and look at the dogs! What a novel idea! Ok. so I had a pretty warped idea of what fun was even as a child. I thought of all those potential slobbery friends just waiting for me to take them out and play with them. I just knew that if my parents saw the right pair of those huge brown eyes, they would definitely give in to their more puppy loving sides and let me bring one of them home. Obviously my parents knew this truth about themselves as well, because we never actually went to the Humane Society. Now I realize that I probably only knew what it was because of the occasional lost pet.

 

 We had plenty of pets. All of them, if I could help it, had some sort of fantastical name. There were the cats, Princess, my confidant; Lancelot, my blue eyed prince, and Titania, Queen of Faeries. There were the dachsund; Romeo, Gretal and not to be forgotten, Bentley Titus Thorndike the 3rd (I always imagined it was a good name for a prince, definitely not a good prince though, and on a random note he particularly disliked thin men with dark hair wearing navy blue ie. mail carriers) Of my own animals, two of them had more claim to my heart than others. The first was a Great Pyrenees, one of two inseparable Pyrenees in our families memory, though they never met. The first was Yeti, we had him only three days because his former owners missed him and asked for him back. The second was Caesar, he was my protector. My rebellious headstrong thirteen year old self would take him walking with me at three in the morning on a summer night. I always knew that he would protect me from whatever foe. He was my stalwart stallion, always awaiting to aid me in my escape from being grounded by taking him on a walk, convenient when you are thirteen and your friends live just a few blocks away. But then there was Hatchu. ok, so he is the definite exception to the fantastical names, but to give us credit, we didn't name him. He was as energetic as a Border Collie can be. A year old when we first brought him home, my sister and I spent many an afternoon at puppy training classes and at the park trying to form him into a calm and obedient dog. But he was always as border collies are. One of my favorite things to do was take him running to one of my sacred places, now overrun by development. He was a flash of black and white on a distant horizon, disappearing over one hill, reappearing at the top of the next; his long narrow head moving up and down, from front to back with the smooth movements of his run. But every few minutes he would stop where he was and wait for me with his tail wagging excitedly (as if I could possibly catch up to him) just long enough for me to see where he was and yell some variety of "good dog" and then he was off again like lightning. A random kind stranger once said to me "you really need a whole valley to have enough space for a border collie to run.". I concur. I did not have a whole valley at my disposal all of the time. I went off to college and didn't take him with me and when I came back , whatever training he may have had at one point was ruined. He lived chained up in the middle of our unfenced yard. What grass grew in that circle was immediately worn off where Hatchu's chain rain over the ground. One sad day his happy tail got caught in the chain afterward it never stood up wagging excitedly again. To me, it was a miserable existence.


A few years later my parents moved to Helena, Montana and Hatchu escaped from their small but fenced yard, probably chasing after a dear or a rabbit. We never went looking for him. We only hoped that he had been picked up by the humane society and one of the many ranchers in the area had taken him in. However, months later, we were at an outdoor market in Helena and saw a small family with a beautiful well trained border collie who looked just like Hatchu. Accept for this border Collie had a fluffy, happy, wagging tail. When we asked the family where they got their dog, they said they had gotten it from the Humane Society just a few months earlier. Happy Endings come to Dogs as well. And this brings me to the end of this portion of my doggy tails. Happy tails to all and to all a good dog.

1 comment:

Dede said...

I can't check any of the "responses", cause I don't think you're a weirdo, and "huh" doesn't fit. It's interesting, but more than that...it's novel, it's touching, and I loved reading it!