When we are young they are often our first time in learning responsibility. We grow with them and they may be our first experience with death. As we get older the role often changes but is no less important. For some it’s our children’s best friend as we watch the cycle unfold for them. Or we may choose to be pet parents rather then have children our selves. And in some cases we experience all of these scenarios. I would say that my dogs have played a major role in my life, I dare say as important as my spouse or kids. When I was young my beagle mix named Flash Gordon was a bright spot in a dark childhood. Later when I was on my own a pappillion named Sidney was my bff. That dog would do anything to be near me and was fiercely protective of my oldest kids. He lost his life while I was in military training school and he was outside and a coyote got into the yard. It was a terrible blow to my soul because I always felt if I was home he wouldn’t have been outside by himself long enough to be hunted. Later I was blessed with a chocolate Labrador named Molly. By that time I had 7 children and my hands full. She was full grown and pregnant when we got her. Her previous owners wanted to get rid of her because although she was purebred her puppies would not be. We got the used car sales pitch about her being a year old and this being her first litter. Of course at the vet we learned a much different story. Molly was closer to five and been bred multiple times by that point. We didn’t care we found homes for all her puppies and got her fixed. She lived the rest of her life raising the seven kids as I was convinced she thought they where her pups. She was an amazing dog that ran along side of me on many horse rides. She would alert for snakes and head off wild dogs like she was born to do it. She had her mischievous side though as we lived in a rural alfalfa community she knew our neighbors better then we did. I never knew she was sneaking out till people started asking me how she was doing. Most neighbors loved her apparently. There was the one neighbor that came storming up to the house screaming about the dogs fighting. Apparently he was furious that his male prized pit bull came home torn up. He demanded to see the beast that had done this. So I brought out my lab. She wasn’t large for her breed and being a female I was concerned she probably took the worst of the fight. I should have known better though. She was in her own yard and probably protecting her kids. Story goes she gave him hell all the way back to his yard and then came home like nothing happened, without a scratch. She lived to 16 years old and I miss her everyday. I have had a lot of dogs in my life. Being out in a rural area we often got dogs dropped near us. We found them in all kinds of places. More then a few times we would be out riding horses and hear puppy cries. My kids became masters of catching pups in wood piles or in abandoned homes. We had large sheds and storage buildings on our own property that would have to be checked during puppy season. I was convinced people would drop them near our home because they would hear I was a sucker for a furry face. Now the kids are grown and moved out. So that means I have plenty of time for my three furkids. I
thinking back now about those missed dogs, because again we will be losing one to dog heaven soon. He is 13 years old and was rescued from an overcrowded shelter. He has been amazing. He never completely got over his street days and on occasion would dig out or over a fence. He always came home pretty quick. As he had been getting older, he has learned he can do what he wants. He pretends to not hear us when he chooses and has tricked more then one dog walker into carrying him home because he is too tired. Only to dash through the house as soon as he is set down. He has become a trickster in his old age. I think he truly likes tricking people. And although he can barely stand without swaying as he has got an old man stance it only takes him looking at the two younger dogs for them to stop mid battle and lay on thier bellies in submission.
I hope to have a few more good months with him, but the story is concluding for my friend sooner rather then later.