Saturday, November 14, 2009

Memory Lane 14. Love That Dog

Skippy... the dog, not the child.

When I was a kid, I think first grade, my folks got a dog. It was this little sheltie-mix puppy from the pound. A little boy that we named Lad. Lad was so little when we got him that he was still squatting to pee. He was too tiny to lift his leg. Awww. So cute!

We hadn't had Lad for six months before, suddenly, our back yard became the place that all the big dogs in the neighbourhood wanted to be. Even the geriatric basset hound next door tried to break down the fence between our houses to come for a visit.

My folks were stymied. What could be causing this behaviour?

(You'd think they would've figured it out. My mom was a nurse, for crying out loud.)

Realization dawned, but not until after the damage was done. We were missing a panel in the back fence, and Lad was starting to get rotund. SHE was not a very large dog, and she'd been visited by a number of the larger dogs on the block. Her maternity seemed doomed from the beginning.

She went into labour on Easter Weekend when I was in second grade, and died after her sixth puppy was born. Three of the puppies were stillborn, leaving us with three little cute mewling blind furballs. It was time for the eye-dropper feedings, and round-the-clock bottle feedings until they were weaned.

The three little guys couldn't have been more different from each other.

The black one was the largest of the three. He soon grew a curly coat, and was probably some standard poodle mix. He was adopted by another Mountie family, and they called him Oggie. Oggie the doggie.

The little brown one doesn't ring too many bells. He also was pretty large, probably knee-high at the shoulders, but not as large as Oggie. I think he, too, went to another Mountie family.

The little white one nearly didn't make it. She was the runt of the litter, and needed the most care to keep alive. I guess my folks couldn't part iwth her, so we ended up keeping her. We called her Skippy.

She was adorable. The best pet. For fourteen years she ruled our house, and put up with our shenanigans.

She had a stroke the summer after my second year away at college, and went blind. But up until then, she'd been a remarkably healthy dog, considering the shaky start she'd had.

Love that dog.

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