Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 138: Dogs

My history with dogs has been one of mostly sadness.

My first dog was named Toto. How original! Anyway, he was a fuzzy, curly haired little black dog. He wasn't that big. The last day I saw him is one of the enduring memories I have of my family. We had taken a vacation to Colorado. I was five or six years old. My brother would have been two or three.

Actually, this is the last memory I have of my parents being together.

On the descent from a visit to Pike's Peak, our green Oldsmobile station wagon had a flat tire. My father pulled the car off somewhere to replace the tire. Somehow, the dog got out of the car and took off. I remember my dad chasing him up the road.

When he returned, we had no dog. So my dog trauma started at an early age.

A few years later, our dog dug his way under a fence, escaped and was hit by a car. Another dog also died.

All of this happened at a pretty young age. Later I had dogs that lived long lives, but in looking back on it, I think I struggled with the losses. The relatively short lifespans of animals are supposed to be "teaching opportunities" but they only taught me that it hurt to lose your pets.

Moose and Monster (Piper) are healthy and young. It should be a long time before they move on to doggie heaven. I hope so. I'm closer to these dogs than to any dogs I've ever been around.

They're gentle, although Monster roughhouses a little too much sometimes. It's interesting to see the personalities they have. Moose is very calm and mellow. The only time he gets worked up is when a dog makes uninvited sexual motions toward him. Then he gets angry and barks and bares his teeth at them. Why do some dogs try to hump my dog?

The Monster is a spazz, but she also seems to be pretty well-behaved. She's half-greyhound, however, and as a sight hound she can instantly get micro-focused on something and take off. That's scary because she doesn't have the good sense to fear vehicles. We have to be careful when she is off the leash. She's getting better about not darting off but it's still a terrible possibility.

I guess one other thing I like is just the innocence and purity of their behavior. They're like small children like that: unprogrammed to some extent. The reactions are all honest.

They help me stay upbeat sometimes. That's a plus.

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