Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Five Furry Friends, Part I
Since I've been on the subject of friends, I think the first day of spring is a good day to write about my fine, furry friends. I have the time now to sit back and recollect the companionship they brought to me.
As a child, there was Ginger, the small male terrier who my Auntie Mary bought because he was advertised as a Chihuahua. In those days, you accepted what was and moved on, plus the attachment was already there after he kept growing and growing. He was my daily companion. My family and I lived in an apartment building that my aunt owned. I really considered him my dog. I took him for walks, talked to him, fed him and myself regularly, and learned what a grand companion a dog could be. Ginger lived for 17 years!
I went off to college and was notified one year that Ginger had died. It was during the winter months and the ground was frozen, so my aunt put Ginger in a plastic bag in the freezer, so she could bury him later????? Sounded strange, but I could see my aunt doing this. This was her every day companion, too, since she was home every day taking care of business with the apartments. I didn't worry about my aunt but mourned with her. I was in another world by now and was able to get over this all right, but I did value the presence and warmth of a pet.
When I married and became pregnant, I did what every hot-blooded pregnant woman does. My husband and I chose a sight unseen Dalmatian from a litter of 12 off a farm! She was so regal looking that I named her Dynah. I was home with my children most of her life. She was skittish and even though she was fixed, she had false pregnancies a number of times. This caused more fret for her since building a nest didn't amount to anything except becoming more skittish.
She ran away one day after being left out in a storm by accident. She dug a hole under the fence and took off. Story has it that she jumped in the first car that opened its door. The people took her to the pound and then we got a call--next time there would be a charge of $50 and it goes up each time.
When I finally returned to the work force, she was very unhappy and couldn't adjust, making messes every day. Everyone was frustrated. The kids had to help, too--every day. I took her to the vet to get her shots in her 12th year. I warned the kids that I might not bring her back. I didn't know what I was going to do or could do.
When the vet walked in, I immediately said I wanted her put down. He was surprised to say the least. I told him of our problems, sobbing. He said that pets were here to make us happy and if we're not happy, or the pet isn't happy then it's time to do something. He also said while listening to her heart, "She does seem to have a heart murmur." Did she or didn't she? I knew he knew that this was not easy for me. He asked if I wanted to stay, and I thought, "I'm doing this by choice, so I should be here." The vet was very compassionate to us both and told me not to get in the car right away, but to walk around outside first before I drove. I went home and the kids knew right away. So sad to have to face my kids.
Of course we all missed having a dog. We went "shopping" with my sister-in-law Michelle to farms that placed ads. Now we had chosen what looked like a brown and tan coon dog--big ears and a nose that kept the kitchen floor cleaned without direction. Her name became Tootsie Michelle! Tootsie came from an old family dog's name. Plus, she was the color of a tootsie roll anyway. Toots was a loving pet.
We moved to another town because of my husband's job, and there was no fence for our large yard. Tootsie stayed pretty much in the yard, but did wander off. She was about four when I came down the stairs one morning to go to my teaching job with my son in tow since he was at the same school. Tootsie's eyes were yellow. Her skin was yellow. She could barely walk. We took her to the vet immediately. They kept her overnight to try to flush her system of the poison she had gotten into. She died. This time, we brought her home and buried her in the backyard. We weren't ready for this so soon again.
But I said I was finished with dogs--lots of work and then there was the sadness with the loss.
This was November. By January, my youngest son Ben said since his brothers were never home anymore, he needed someone to come home to and play with after school. How does a mother say "No" to that!? I missed a dog, too.
Tomorrow: A trip to the pound--Part II of Five Furry Friends