Monday, April 30, 2012

Going to the Dogs Part 1

I'm trundling along in the job search project. Today was a relative good day; Friday had me feeling low and useless. So as expected, this is an up-and-down prospect, and there will be many more ups and downs before it's all over, I'm sure.

So I'm swapping topics for today. I've already blogged (some) about my career. And my music. And now it's time to address the third leg of the milk stool that is my life.


I have always been a dog lover. I was the child who would pull Mommy's arm to the owner of a dog walking by and beg to pet him or her. And that trend continues; even now, on vacation, if I spot a dog being walked nearby, I feel compelled to stop the owner, ask if I can say hello, and squat down to scrungle an ear or get a kiss. Much to the embarrassment of my teenage daughters.

As a child, we had a dog, Dusky, a Lab mix. He came our way in an odd set of circumstances, thanks to Dad. Dad's cousin is a veterinarian who now has quite a lucrative practice in California. But back then, he was local, and he introduced our family to the joys--and trials--of dog ownership

Dad was also a dog lover, regaling us regularly with stories of a dog he had when he was younger, Trixie. I always thought Trixie was a girl; somehow, in my mind, I linked "her" with the character of Trixie in The Honeymooners (which was still in a regular rotation of reruns when I was a kid), as played by Joyce Randolph. 

But Trixie was a boy. So named, I later learned, for his ability to do "tricks."

Anyway, Dad always wanted to bring a dog into the house, but along the way, Mom resisted. 

Until the opportunity to get Dusky came along, thanks to his cousin the vet.

I don't know all the circumstances in Dusky's need for a home, whether he was part of an "oops" litter or was simply a leftover dog that needed a home.

But he came our way early one summer when I was perhaps five or six years old (so this would have been 1968 or so).

Unfortunately, Dusky didn't stay with us very long. 

First, he had medical issues. And again, I'm fuzzy on the details, but I do remember that he had an allergic reaction to a vaccination, and one of his eyes turned a milky gray. I'm not sure if he lost the sight in that eye or not; it's possible.

The other problem with Dusky is that he never quite got the idea of house-training.

And remember, in that day, crate training wasn't nearly as common as it is today (I happen to be a devoted fan of crate training, having worked through it with dogs of my own and helped other with it along the way). 

So Dusky was messy. And his medical issues proved expensive.

The final straw in Dusky's permanence in our house was his nipping. Dusky wasn't very well socialized (again, dog psychology then wasn't what it is today, and we were never quite sure of his parentage or the diligence with which his breeder attended to him). In short, he nipped. A lot. And I seemed to be the constant object of his teething. So most of my memories of Dusky are rather painful, and I'm not talking emotionally.

And these factors drew Mom's patience very short.

And so one afternoon, upon arriving home from school, Dusky had exited our happy home, taken by Mom to "...a large farm with rolling green lawns and lots of other dogs with whom he could run and play and enjoy the rest of his life."

Uh. Yeah.

But Dusky planted some seeds that took root, seeds that eventually led me to incorporate dogs into my daily life and appreciate their charms and humorous quirks.

NB: The photos below show my older brother Paul with Dusky, not me.

No comments:

Post a Comment