Dog's Best Friend
I met a dog this morning, a fine fellow by the name of Magic who works as a therapy canine. Magic is a very large, perfectly coiffed, half-Standard Poodle and half-Golden Retriever who has his own slick-finished trading cards. Meeting Magic made be that much more determined to acquire a dog of my own just as soon as I get settled at the farm next March.
My first dog was a brindle hound named Bozo, I have seen pictures of him and me playing in the yard when I was just barely walking. Penny, a copper-colored Cocker Spaniel was the first family dog that I remember. She was sweet and gentle, a great dog for little kids. I was a pre-schooler during the Penny years.
My dad had a Boston Bulldog (Boston Terrier) named Mike when I was in elementary school. Mike was with us for several years. The next canine resident at our household was a bird dog whose name I have forgotten. There was a brief time when my dad took up bird hunting and invested in a good dog. It was a short-lived hobby during the fall of 1963. I remember that because I was tagging along on a bird hunt the day Lee Harvey Oswald was shot.
My dad had two more dogs during his later years. The first was Pard (short for Pardner) another Boston Bulldog who rode everywhere with Dad in his truck and was an expert as passing gas. The second, Boog (short for Booger) was a large and very loud hound who showed up at my house and I managed to somehow get Dad to take possession of the creature. Dad liked Boog, but his loud, nocturnal howling set the neighbors to howling. He took Boog to live on a farm several miles out in the country - twice - and both times Boog beat him home. He finally found a home beyond Boog's homing range.
The most memorable and permanent dog to reside with our family as our kids were growing up was Rusty, a long-haired pleasant fellow who was with us several years. Rusty was named after Rusty Pails, a character that I created for a newspaper humor column. Rusty outlasted the family and was residing with me in 1997 when I had to give him to friends so that I could move to the city to pursue a degree in Social Work.
Emme (pronounced "Emmie") was a long-hair Chihuahua who belonged to a girlfriend. Emme bonded more loosely to me than she did to her mistress, and we were quite fond of each other. Sadly, Emme Ears left when the girlfriend did.
My final dogs were Paladin and Paloma, a pair of beautiful Great Pyrenees who were with me at the little farm in Noel about ten years ago. Paladin liked to sleep in the road, and he was big enough that drivers skirted around him. Paloma was adopted by the farm goose, and they were always inseparable.
Every dog was different, and each of them helped to make me a calmer and better person. (Dogs really are therapeutic!) Somewhere out there is a fine young mutt destined to live on a farm and howl at the moon with an old human fart - but he just doesn't know it yet. It will be the best years of our lives!