Sunday, July 21, 2013
Cowgirl Sass & Savvy
Old dog memories
by Julie Carter
Out in the country everyone’s got a good horse story. That favorite, best ever, never had another one like him kind of story. But better than those, are the deep-felt recalls about an old dog that was the light of their life.
Favorite dogs that we remember stories about aren’t limited to rural living but it is often in the rural setting you find those special canines in larger numbers. Acres of living space allows for an assorted collection of the critters that accumulate before one realizes it.
At one time, my family had five of those absolutely worthless bordering on stupid mutts and actually loved, fed and nurtured them all.
Bridgett, a Saint Bernard, was quite the “nanny” of the bunch, but did look a little out of place on a high desert cactus laden ranch in New Mexico. Her most unpopular day was when she broke through the door into the house to steal the roast off the counter that had been set out to thaw.
Poppy and Puppy were the watch dog - guard dog committee. They would bark at you until you were in the door, then Puppy would return to his guard post while Poppy would stand and “smile” at you. She had a muzzle and teeth that made her appear to be perpetually smiling.
Tiny was just that on a “compared to” basis. He was some sort of terrier dog with great big “bug” eyes. There was nothing special about Tiny except he was there. He had joined the herd of mutts that had been dropped off or deserted only to find their way to a middle-of-nowhere ranch.
Then there was Rupert. Rupert was a small red long-haired mutt that until his dying day thought it was his job to bark and bite even when he was deaf, blind and had no teeth. He’d lie under the kitchen table and when an unsuspecting guest would move their feet the wrong direction, he’d make an attempt to “gum” their foot off. He was as aggravating as he was comical.
There were more dogs after that; Jessie, Mike, Murphy and Pepe among others. The point is, we all have memories of a special dog, be it mutt or purebred.
We cuss them, love them, and call them names. And we miss them more than we can explain when they are gone. They are doormats, babysitters, guardians and companions. Often completely worthless pain in the rear buddies; they mark a place in our hearts that lasts forever.
We identify a dog with his owner and vice versa. When we lose a loved one, their dog is a cherished link to them in the days ahead. When we then lose the dog it’s like losing the person all over again.
Dying peacefully of old age is the ultimate we can wish for our pets. Rural living brings with it other dangers for them that can shorten their life span including snake bite and predators. It’s hard to tell a dog with a tendency to hunt to not be sniffing around the bushes because he might find a diamond back rattler.
I’ve lost some pretty special dogs over the years that hurt my heart so badly. And always, I swore I’d not get another one to avoid the pain. Then somewhere along the way a roly-poly blue heeler puppy would catch my eye and I’d cave to the cuteness.
And the cycle would begin again.
Julie can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. And no, don’t send me your puppies, blue heeler or otherwise.