Dog’s Life

When I was in the neighborhood of 7 or 8 years old, our family got our first dog. (As an aside, doesn’t it seem like in every single one of my childhood memories, I’m 7 or 8 years old? Either that was the most important year of my life, or my life took a great nosedive at age 9. Or perhaps I just stopped remembering anything that happened after 1960. Yep. A big blank.)

Anyhoo, back to our first dog. Without doing any research whatsoever on dog breeds, Mom and Dad purchased a toy manchester terrier. For reasons I can’t recall, we named him Geno. We chose that dog because my Uncle Jeep and Aunt Cork had just purchased a toy manchester, and we thought he was cute. He was, but only because there is no such thing as an ugly puppy. He was a sibling to my aunt and uncle’s dog. And, because he was a terrier, he needed a lot of exercise.

I can’t tell you whether or not he remained cute as an adult dog. What I can tell you is that none of us was a very good dog owner at that point in our lives. Dad and Mom certainly didn’t have time to take a dog on daily walks. Dog Parks were nonexistent because in those days nobody could imagine taking a dog anywhere outside your back yard, unless it was around the block. I’m sure Mom and Dad nagged us to walk the dog. We occasionally did, but not often. Part of the reason we didn’t like to walk the dog was that he was completely and totally untrained on the leash. Part of it was that we would rather have been playing with our Barbie dolls than walking the dog.

The reason I don’t know if he would have been cute as an adult dog is that I killed him when he was still a puppy. Not on purpose, of course. In fact, I was taking him on one of his infrequent walks. Mom was punishing me because Bec and I had gotten in a fight. While I don’t remember the cause of our fight, I must have been at fault because Bec was taking a nap, and I was walking the dog. I put the dog on the leash, went outside, and started heading to visit my Aunt Cork, who lived two blocks away. We lived on a busy street. The dog, being naughty on the leash, began running. He took off so quickly that he pulled the leash out of my hand. He ran out into the street, where he promptly got run over by a car. He blessedly died instantly.

A few years later, we got the dog that all of us would consider our childhood pooch. Mac was a mutt. We bought him from some farmers in a nearby town. He was purported to be a poodle and Scottie mix. There might have been some poodle, but the nearest Mac ever got to Scotland was in my dad’s glass of Scotch whiskey. Mac was an adorable puppy that grew up to be an fairly ugly dog, mostly because he became quite fat. Unfortunately, we had not become better dog walkers. But we all loved him very much, and my parents were broken-hearted when he died many years later. The kids were al grown up and had moved on to our own dogs.

I have been thinking about dogs recently for a couple of reasons. First, Bill and I enjoyed the time we spent with Jen’s pooch Winston. I still wait for him to run to the door when I come in from the garage. We both miss him. Second, I have recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure, and I think a dog would be a good buddy who would calm me down and force me to walk more.

Unfortunately, there are down sides. One of my grandkids — Mylee — is very allergic to dog dander. I think she’s better now than when she was young. But that’s a big thing. Second, if we have a dog, then we lose a great deal of our flexibility.

Weighing the odds. What do you think?

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