Dogs have always been in my life up to about five years ago. When I lived at home with my parents we always had a pet. And I remember them quite vividly. Each one had its own personality. My favourite had to be our first dog, Lassie. She was a Heinz 57 . No particularly distinctive features. Just a mishmash of every dog you have ever seen. She was a mild tempered, quiet dog even when she was young. That is probably why she attracted every male dog in the community. They recognized an “easy” female when they saw one. And our garage became a brothel with dogs going in and out all day long.
But despite her reputation, I loved Lassie. She seemed to understand all my ten year old problems. She’d look at me with her big brown eyes as if to say I love you and then she’d lick my hand to comfort me. There was no better friend.
Unfortunately her shenanigans in the garage could not be overlooked . So my parents took it upon themselves to get rid of her. But not before she had a litter of puppies.
One of the litter was a little brown one that looked exactly like his mother and though he wasn’t Lassie we bonded right away. Unfortunately his stay with us was to be very short.
One summer’s day the family went for a drive to Mint Brook out near Gambo. While we picnicked the little puppy got out of the car perhaps through a partially opened door. He sought shade underneath near one of the rear tires. My dad totally unaware of the whereabouts of the puppy started the car and as it rolled forward he felt a bump. Without a word he stopped, turned around to look in the back seat where I was sitting with my sister and asked, “Where is the puppy? “
We looked around and realized he wasn’t in the car. But we didn’t have the awareness that my father had and were puzzled but not alarmed.
Dad opened his door and got out cautioning us to stay in the car . We couldn’t see what was happening. But the look on his face when he returned was unmistakeably pained. My dad was a sensitive man who loved animals and children. He told us as gently as he could that the puppy had gone under the wheels of the car and was dead.
To say we were broken hearted is an understatement. I have had my heart broken many times in my life but the pain of a fresh young unscarred heart has to be the worse. We continued our trip but there were many tears. It took us months to get over the loss of those two dogs.
In time,however, we recovered and were ready for our next dog, Percy.
I doubt there has ever been a dog as disagreeable as Percy. He was a small collie that my parents had ordered from Montreal. He came with papers and all and must have been a valuable dog if those papers meant anything. He had his registration number- a dog’s license plate. And like a car it was on his rear. A letter that came with him stated so.
Well do you think we could find that registration number? We checked under his tail, on his tail, over the hind quarters, even the anus. We poked and prodded parted his fur and finally gave up in frustration. The poor dog must have thought he’d ended up with a crowd of perverts. No wonder he barked and growled. He bared his teeth and snapped at anyone who approached . I suppose I would too if a bunch of strangers had the fascination for my derriere that we had for his.
It was about a year after he’d come with us and we had backed off checking his hind quarters that I had a brainwave. I rushed into the house to find the letter. Sure enough I had solved the mystery. The number was stamped on the dog’s rear. Too bad the author hadn’t left a space between the first and second letter _ r ear . We’d been examining the wrong end.
So Percy stayed with us for a while but one morning he too disappeared. And this time we believed he had been stolen.
There was another dog that followed Percy. Queenie was the longest tenant but I was away at university by then so she became my younger brother’s pet.
The last two dogs I owned were as different as any two could be. One was mostly a Labrador whom we named Portia and the last was another Heinz 57 name Bou. Bou lived with me for 17 years and is a pet that I could devote a book too. One day I may write a post on her alone.