(NaBloPoMo for Nov. 29, 2013)

 

Since I wrote a piece about our cats, I need to do something about dogs.  Wilma and I won’t be having a dog at all – that comes from her experience as a young child when a German Shepherd bit her in the face – and it was even a dog that knew her and had been around her.  At any rate, that is why we wont’ be having dogs.  I will say this…she doesn’t panic much around most dogs…. Little ones aren’t that big a deal, and I have seen her hold off her sister’s rather large dog – but her discomfort is nonetheless enough to have led us to the decision of having no dogs.

And that also means my dogs appear in my childhood.  There were two –

Skeeter was already in the family by the time I was old enough to be aware of dogs.  He was a shorthair mutt, mostly white, with a few tan patches for effect.  He was probably what we would now call part pit bull, but he certainly never – ever never – showed any sign of aggression that so much today is attached to the breed.  I do believe that the part of Skeeter that may have been pit bull was neutralized by some other more gentile breed that swam along his genes, right next to those pit bull genes.

Skeeter was a good pal in every word.  His tail had been bobbed – all you saw was a little stub that would wag and wag when he was pleased or happy.  I don’t remember him playing with me much, but I do remember him laying with me in our ‘big’ chair.  There was just enough room for the two of us as I watched TV.  I remember one particular night when he and I sat together for a good several hours, my fingers petting his head and his soft ears.

Over the years, Skeeter aged and is hearing started to go … and then…

A guy came to our door; a salesman of some sort – maybe he was the insurance guy, I don’t remember for sure.  As I stood at the kitchen sink, he came in, pointed to me, and asked my dad, “Is that your boy?”  Dad nodded and the guy signaled him to come outside.

What had happened was this; as the guy came up our rather long driveway, Skeeter stepped right out in front of him.  The car went right over Skeeter.  The man led dad to where Skeeter lay – still alive, but definitely not to recover.  I remember dad lifting Skeeter into a box, putting the box in the car, and then getting a gun from the house.  He drove off and came back awhile later, having put Skeeter out of his misery.  We buried him in the back yard with full tribute and thanks.

Our other dog, Hector, overlapped the Skeeter years by a good 6 or 8 years.   He was a birthday gift of sorts from my best elementary school friend Jimmy – Hector was born on Columbus Day, and I got him for my birthday in the following December.  He was a long hair mutt (we had a penchant for mutts, I guess) with black hair and floppy ears.  He had a strange habit of being able to leap directly up and down in place, especially when he was enthusiastic or excited.  I’m sure he barked some, but if Skeeter barked at all, Hector barked even less.

He was a bit of a joke among my friends because he was such a ‘bouncy’ dog.  His jumping was often exhibited when we’d be out riding bikes… Hector running along and jumping up as close as he could get to the bikes.  He was a happy dog.

Eventually, I went off to college and never really lived at home much again.  Hector went on to live with my folks the rest of his life when he finally died of old age … dad may have ‘put him down’ when Hector got too old to manage any longer – I don’t rightly recall.  Hector was a fine and faithful dog who was with me a great deal of my life.

There was one other dog in our house – Peanut joined us just about the years that I was heading off to college, so Peanut (a white long-haired dog) knew Hector.  She was rather mellow – not much of a bark that I recall, but could “OOOOOOOOO” very sweetly and softly when we wanted her to sing.  My folks eventually moved out of the house, so Peanut went to live with a friend who lived out in the country.  I have no idea how she lived out her life, but I’m sure our friends took great care of her to her end.

And those are my dogs – one hundred percent pure joy and rewarding.  I thank them for their devotion.  I wish everyone could have dogs of such wonderful nature and demeanor.

 

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