I have always been a dog lover! Oh, that's not to say, I haven't loved one or two cats, along the way, one in particular, I still think about often, and miss more than I can explain. But, it has been dogs since the beginning.
I can still remember the very first dog I had in my life. We must have got her when I was about 8 and my brother was 4. She was a puppy of Holly's dog, Cookie. Yep, I remember going to Holly's and seeing the little black and white ball of fur, and then the agony of having to wait until my Dad brought her home in his coat pocket. We named her Bootsy, Betsy, and she was the smartest Heinz 57 in the world! I can still remember the first night she stayed in our home, my Mom took my brother and I to the show. My brother was so thrilled, he stood up, and informed the whole theater, we had a dog!!
That dog gave us everything! She was entertaining, she was loving, she was a great listener, but, she was my Dad's dog. Oh, she loved my brother, and would lay in his bed with him at night, but Dad was her person. He was the one who fed her the square of Jersey Milk chocolate every night, he was the one who would whallop either of us, if we tickled the dog's feet too long. Bootsy, is in almost all our family pictures, she was family. She lived for 14 years, and put up with 2 kids without biting. No pure bred, she was one of a kind, and I was lucky enough to get another dog, many years later, that was very much like our first dog.
Funny, I had an awful lot of dogs, Bowe, Muppet, Freddy, Tibby, Chelsea, Betsy(yes after the first), and perhaps some that I have forgotten. Bowe was my "Circus" dog. Had him before my first child, and he could escape from anything. My Grandpa came from Scotland for a visit, and found this dog amazing, he is the one who called him the Circus dog, just like Harry Houdini. Muppet was my SPCA dog, he was flown in on the same plane my brother's first Lab came in on. The Lab flew inside the plane, my poor Muppet was inside the nose with the luggage! Muppet was my oldest child's , first dog, he was loving, and loved, but he did not have a good life, chewed up once, and then poisoned by a nasty neighbour, along with a few other pets, in town..
I had a wonderful cocker spaniel, Betsy, my one and only papered puppy. I had to part with her when we moved, because pets were not allowed in the place we lived. I hated my Honey for making me give up my dog, but it had to be done. That doggie went to distant relative's and was killed by a car, shortly afterwards. When we bought our hovel, I was promised another spaniel. Hah! My honey and the kids drove out to a rescue place, and returned with the promised cocker spaniel, and his friend Chelsea (a mix of all the "nasty" dogs and Lab.)I was ticked!! That dog was nothing like my pure bred, he was a dwarf border collie!! His name was Napoleon, and we called him Nappy. He was by far the smartest dog we ever had!! That dog grew up with my kids, he came home when my son was 5. He climbed the apple tree with the kids, he jumped on the trampoline with the kids, he gave us love, he listened, and he became family. Chelsea did not live long, I found her one day, lying dead in the yard, and buried her myself. Nappy mourned, and so did we. That was when he moved into the house, and became my dog.
We had Nappy for 16 wonderful years. I cry as I type this, I miss him just as much today, as I did when I had to say good-bye. He refused to die. He could barely walk, but would follow me about, 1/2 blind, many times getting to me, as I was turning to go back. He farted, he piddled without knowing it, but he just didn't want to leave. We had to put him to sleep. The day before this happened, I took a day off work, and sat outside on the ground, thanking him for the years of unconditional love he gave us. I didn't want him to leave, he didn't cry and whine in pain, but it was clear, to continue on, would have been cruel. My son was almost 21!! The day we sat in the house, and Nappy was not there, was a quiet, empty day.
Before Nappy left, however, my son brought his dog home. He had been told not to even think about getting a puppy, I refused to puppy sit, and put my foot down. Crap!! I saw the fat roly poly "great Gambini" when I went to feed the puppies one day. Oh, they were too cute!! But, I stuck with my decision, no puppy!! He didn't listen. Brought that yellow, 1/2 Lab, 1/2 golden retriever home. He insisted he was going to take care of him, his name was to be Diesel!! Hah! Within a week, I had renamed him, Rupert, he was spending nights in my room, so I would hear him and take him out, and my son didn't have a chance. The puppy became mine, when the name stuck, and he was an "early birthday gift".
This dog, came into my life when he was desperately needed. He helped ease the loss of Nappy, and now I can't imagine a world without him. He is spoiled rotten! I drive home every lunch hour to let him out, we book pet friendly hotels, when we travel, we go through the drive through, to pick him up chicken strips, if we have lunch out of town. We hit the Pet stores as soon as we get out of town, for things he desperately needs (toothpaste, and treats). He gets a new collar, every few months, he has a million leashes, he has his own pillow (which he refuses to use) he has his own blanket (doesn't use it) rubber maid dishes , so he can drink while traveling. Stops are made constantly while traveling, because he whines. He has more toys than my kids ever did!! Nothing like sitting on the couch and having the rubber chicken squawk. Guests are forewarned they will not leave the house without a coating of yellow dog hair. We no longer wear black pants. He is the sun and our world revolves around him!
My kids have grown up, poor old Nappy had to take second place to kids, but not Rupert. My Honey and I cater to him completely. My parents had an Irish Setter , when I left home. I remember telling my Mom that the dog was treated better than us kids ever were. I thought it was crazy, Mom cooking bones with garlic powder sprinkled on, for the dog!!! They brushed him constantly, he was spoiled rotten, king of the house. It is a cycle. I have become my parents!! Now when my kids tell me that I spoil the dog, and he is treated better than they ever were, I smile, and tell them..."One day, you will hear your children tell you the same thing". They will remember Nappy, like I do Bootsy, and if they are very lucky, they will gift their children with a childhood friend, who is always content to love and be loved,and, when their children leave home, the empty space will be filled with the "spoiled one".