Giving credit where credit is due, the inspiration for this post comes from The Zen Hiker. It’s a great blog with a variety of topics and I encourage all of you to check it out. Two of his recent posts are about his dog. Which made me think about the great and not so great dogs that I have had.
Growing up I was petrified of
everything dogs. According to my parents, when I was about 4 years old I petted a neighbor’s dog from behind, startled him, and he turned around and bit me all over my face. Luckily he was near death and had no teeth. That’s the story and I have a vague memory of it. But whatever actually happened, it became a truism for me that dogs were evil creatures.
We moved to Westchester County, NY when I was turning 6 years old, and to rid me of my fear and because they wanted a dog anyway, my parents took me to a breeder to pick out an English Setter. I’m sure I was hiding behind my father and holding onto his leg for dear life. But puppies are cute so I was scared/excited when my father chose one of the litter, a Blue Belton English Setter. Then he said “And that one, too.”
So we also took home another puppy from the litter, a Brown Belton English Setter (better known as an Orange Belton but we didn’t know that at the time). And because it was my birthday, my parents had the silly idea to let me name the puppies. I came up with the wildly original names of “Bluey” and “Brownie.” Having two hunting dogs in a neighborhood in Westchester just wasn’t a good idea, but we lucked out with Bluey. He was deaf in one ear so had no abilities, nor interest, in hunting. He was my brother. And we loved each other unconditionally.
Brownie, on the other hand, was a true-born hunter and hunt he did. He was less cuddly than Bluey and my parents realized that this dog would be a handful when he caught and dragged home a baby deer. Oops. Bambi was in our backyard. What do you say to that? Good dog? Now return it to its mom?
Poor Brownie’s fate was sealed when he killed a neighbor’s cat. My father found a hunter upstate who had a kennel of hunting dogs and Brownie moved there. I always wondered if he was put to sleep, but I’m pretty sure he made the stay-alive cut.
Those are the two dogs who changed my fear into love.
Now anyone who has read my blog articles knows that I’m a recovering alcoholic. I do nothing in moderation.
So recovering alcoholic me ended up with 5 dogs.
Unlike my parents, I only adopt dogs from shelters. Not counting the one I was asked to watch while the owners went on vacation and then refused to take him back. The only dog I didn’t really love. A total pain in the ass.
Five dogs. Walking them was so easy….not. And of course they were allowed on the second floor. And of course they considered my bed theirs. Every night there was some fighting as to who would end up in a cherished spot on the bed. I usually won.