Friday, March 25, 2011

"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare.

And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.

The Animal Shelter is holding its annual fundraiser this weekend that causes me to think about the loves of my life. I am sure you can still get a ticket for the Furball, “IMPAWSIBLE” by calling 6402456. It’s one of the more worthy causes you can support. It got me thinking about some of the loves of my life!
Ever notice how an image in a mirror is reversed…“God” becomes “Dog.” I am not surprised. Every dog I have ever owned was forgiving, all loving, and central to the life of our family. Most have gone on but their memories never leave and always comfort.
I once had a dog who loved to hunt so much she’d lose a night’s sleep (causing me to lose a night’s sleep) whenever I sat the shotgun by the door the night before. Though Abby loved the hunt, she hated the taste of the pheasants. Phhststt, she’d say, shaking her head and dropping the bird at my feet. Abby was purchased at a local pet store on a whim because I had read a story about how Springers were such good hunting dogs. I decided to train her though I had never done so before.
I called a renowned New England dog trainer who, upon learning I had purchased her at a simple pet store, advised me to “give her away and obtain a pup (hear heavy English accent) from a real breeder.” But the kids and I were already in love with Abby. She started by chasing rolled up socks and before hunting season, she was unstoppable! She lost her hearing later but she looked over her shoulder for hand signals and followed them right to the pheasant. Abby was such a joy!
The next Springer wouldn’t hunt. She cringed at the sound of a shotgun. Barkley once sneaked home the back way after a training session, crawling below the level of the weeds.  I gave up hunting her after carrying her out of a marsh when she just lay down after hearing the gun.
I once fell in love with another dog who, if given just one more day to live, would have begun speaking English. Rocky was so close. He’d form his mouth and sounds bordering on recognizable words would come. Just one more day, but it was not to be. Yet Rocky gave us the funniest memory of our lives in the afternoon he wildly chased a kite we were flying, barking furiously. He finally caught it and happily tore it to pieces.
Another beloved adoptee suffered from frequent seizures. We’d go for a walk and every time, Gracie would go down. Within a few minutes she’d get herself together and insist on resuming her walk. Though she has been long gone, I still see her rocketing from the bottom of the stairs when I’d get up in the morning.
Jack loved rocks. If I threw a ball, he had no interest. But if it was a rock, Jack chased it…sometimes so fast, he actually ran under it like a wide receiver. Ouch! Looking for rocks, Jack dug holes so big they’d tip over the lawn mower if you didn’t see them first. And there was Cocoa who slept so often by the door, there is still a Cocoa imprint on the old carpet that reminds us of her every day.
After Rocky died, we thought we could not handle losing another beloved. But, you know, a house is not a home without a dog to greet you when you come home. I told Pat that until she was willing to greet me that way, we had to have a dog in the house! After a couple of months we began looking and found the current love of our lives.
Buddy who came via the Springer Rescue, He’d had a tough life, lost in the mountains of Utah, found in bad shape, placed in a shelter and in foster care. When I first heard his name I thought “we’ll be changing that.” But when I met him, I said, “This is my buddy.” Buddy he remained.
Freud felt dogs had a special sense that allows them to judge a person's character accurately. If that is true, I feel a lot better about our chances in the hereafter.

[i] More about cats later!

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