Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pups, Past and Present

It's almost hard to see, but if you look hard- you'll see our pup. He's there on the sled, asleep. In fact he doesn't wake up. Which mean he doesn't need to be watered, walked, or otherwise worried about at night when neigbors are kept awake with barking. Cute, huh?

This pup is the kind that Padre wanted all through our growing up years. And the only kind we ultimatelygot to keep. We successfully smuggled dogs into the back yard, begged to keep 'em, and he relented, for a time. Then somehow they were smuggled back out of the yard and poor Madre had to do the dirty work.

All it took was 'lil brother, coming home the other day with his new hound, for the ghosts of all our dogs to resurrect, right there in our back yard.

I stood looking out the kitchen window in my apron and my jaw dropped like Ebenezer's dead co-worker clunking outside his door in chains and a kerchief about his head to keep his jaw in place. (Thank goodness for the mortuary techniques we now have!)

Jack, he got named, and you know what that means; by law you have to keep it. Jack is a pure bred lab and was hanging out at the Pound. They don't call it that now, in an effort to make the euthanizing of abandoned pets less cruel, it is now referred to as An Animal 'Shelter'. Like a lowly manger and barn kept Joseph and his young wife 'shelter' when there was nowhere else to stay in Bethlehem.

Jack showed up in our back yard much like all the pups that graced the lawn, by the same sweet, child: Baby Sis. B. Bee picked this guy out with the Torment as a surprise gift for 'lil brother.

Jack was saved in the nick of time.

So, gazing out the window, a Charles Dicken moment. Every pup unraveled before my eyes.

There was Sticks. The black dog that spent maybe 4 or 5 days with us. Nevertheless, my first dog. I recall being on the swing set and being somewhat scared of the thing. Luckily, we had pictures to engrave my first dog moment. So maybe it isn't a memory but a picture of me at 3 on the swing, The Torment playing with Sticks and a black dog.

I don't know if that was a foster dog situation or if The Torment got it and Padre had it expelled like the rest of the dogs we'd bring home. And Padre isn't here this second to clarify for the record. Sticks was black, like Jack.

Jack's eyes

were Scampers, unburied from his humble little grave in Blackfoot. (30 minutes south of where he lived with us.)

One bitter cold day in late fall, a man pulled up to our bus stop. Jumping out he asked us kids if anyone wanted a dog.

Duh. We all wanted one. And my guess was he had kids at home that wanted it, too.
But he was doing the Dog Sneek, to get rid of it before the kids and mom found out. Sly devil.

Through the back car window a small, black and white dog peered out at us kids. Hands shoved in my quilted maroon coat,I kept my hands warm and tucked my chin in close to my chest as the scene unraveled.

Back then we weren't up to date on Stranger Danger, and just watched the guy grab the dog out and hold him in front of us to better seal the deal.

The Torment spoke up, grabbed the dog and hauled off running for home. Half amused I heard him yell "Tell the busdriver to wait!"
I stood at the huge black console and tole the bus driver the predicament we were in, that the Torment would be back shortly and if she'd wait. Mid-explanation, The Torment rounded the corner, his breathe making puffs of smoke in the sky.

From TempleView Elementary, he used the secretary's phone to call mom. The yellow haired secretary, Mrs. Waddoups, let him inform mom of the little animal in our back yard.

Quite the strategy, if I do say so myself. By the time we were home, the dog had escaped, and it took The Torment and I searching a bit until we found it huddled in, Neva's yard. Shout out to Neva in Boise! At 98 she is still going, albeit she isn't square dancing with Bud, or taking care of her yard, or laying out on her deck sipping iced tea but she is still playing games with the other residents at the community center she lives in! WOW! I think Square Dancing is the trick to longevity. Seriously.

Well, Padre caved for awhile with Scamper. We named and fed it how could he not? He had to, mom was sold on the dog, too. Besides, we were older and complained, whined and begged better than with Sticks.

Padre even helped The Torment make a dog house so we wouldn't be tempted to let him inside. Scamper chased us over the lawn, nippedat our jeans, climbed over the huge pumpkins we used to grow and were covered with old blankets and burlap sacks to avoid the frost.

Once spring rolled around signs of dog became visible in the yard and Padre's acceptance thawed out. It was decided that Scamper would enjoy the country life; Aunt Annette's farm. 30 minutes away another dog would keep her company and she would have lots of unfenced room to roam.

Tears were shed. But ultimately, we were slacking off on our vows to take care of its excrement. Trying to do that and deliver the papers, well we reluctantly accepted the visitation terms. WE made sure our cousins understood it was OUR dog. So they couldn't take ownership or become too attached.

It was dark outside when I saw Scamper for the last time. She was peering in at us through the white screen door. I'd been upstairs with my cousins and gushing at my cute cousin, Tony, 7 years older than me wearing a jersey and talking with my older brother. Gosh, I wished they lived closer I'd thought sitting on the Jobi's twin bed in the cool attic bedroom of the farm house. And it wasn't just get greater visitation time with Scamps.

Reluctantly, we left. Whining to Padre the 30 minutes home at how mean he was to take our dog from us.

When I found out about Scamper's death, it was a sunny day. I can recall meandering home from the bus stop that day walking into the kitchen to see my sister sitting on the counter. She was wearing an apron, helping mom make chocolate chip cookies. I put my bag down and walked toward them. Madre broke the news.

"Scamper ran into the street and was hit by a truck." Mom said as bravely and consolingly as she could. I sat there for a brief, stunned moment and let the news register, deep in my young heart.

"Is he still in the road?" I asked horrified. Jared the cousin one year older than me, had scooped up her little body and carried her to the farm house. With tears in his eyes he informed my Aunt. And he was buried in a field by their house.

There was no solace! I walked back outside into the sun. Stunned.

Padre kindkly drove us to Blackfoot to say 'good-bye'. I remember riding in the truck(in the back of the camper) jostling around in silence, playing the scene out in mind. Scamper running into the road, getting hit and Jared carrying her bloodied body to the farm house.

We got to Aunt Annette's and Jared took us out to the spud field. Amarker indicated where our little dog was decomposing. Flashes of the truck hitting our dog and her racing around in heaven with our grandparents and ancestors waiting for our arrival was the scene that played out in my head. It re-played nightly until other things took its place.

Although I'd lost family members this event was the first time I really started thinking about death, heaven and that it would be worth being good so we could make it back to play with our dog!

'Lil brother brought home an array of cats that had to be sent to the Pound, cause CATS were a whole other story! (the famous cat story will be told later)

It wasn't 'til B. Bee, that another dog graced Padre's green lawns.

Maddie was a homely Mutt with a lot of personality. She, too, was black. She could escape the fence by climbing over the fence. All the neighbor kids loved her. WE'd be driving down a busy street and all the sudden there was Maddie running along side our car with a big grin on her face.

She did this for sport and was laughing as she cruised next to us until we rolled down the window and bawled her out for doing that- "you could get killed out here doing that!"

Maddie just grinned, jumped in the open car door, panted heavily and happily watched out the window at the rest of the cars driving on the busy road. All the while thinking she'd beat 'em next time. She was one competitive and lively dog.

However, Maddie also barked. Which was her down fall. Finally, our neighbor broke down and gave her a collar to keep her reigned in at night. Thank goodness for that.

Madre was determined to not let Maddie face the same fate all our other animals faced; a trip to the pound. She was the one that had to do the driving to the pound with all those pets, so really you can't blame her.

Eventually, us older kids were complaining and suggesting a nice home in the country where she could really spread her wings and fly.

The days of rounding up Maddie were done when someone offered to take her. She was given the gift of freedom somewhere on the outskirts of town. And Madre was somewhat at peace about the ordeal, at least on the outside.

Months later word got back to us that Maddie went missing. Of course we thought the worst. Don't know if it was ever confirmed, but I am guessing she went up against some faster cars out there in the country and just couldn't keep up.

I picture her dying happy though, doing what she loved to do; race.

So when Jack showed up with his sinus infection, sad droopy eyes,

and trying to recover from malnourishment; well, I just about fell apart.

With a trip to the vet and playing with a boy, Jack rebounded.

And its sweet the way he looks up at 'lil brother. Initially mute from shock, etc., Jack lets out some healthy barks.

Yes, there are tears later that day. I explain to J, that we can't have a dog. That he needs to be with Uncle. But, get this, Jack can come on camping trips. Visit at Christmas. He can walk him when Uncle comes! I encourage.

This doesn't go over well until a few hours and tears later.

"Yeah, Uncle Jake needs him. Jack needs to be with him." J responds in similiar brave fashion we exhibitied with each dog sent off to boarding school.

It's appropriate that Jack stay with Uncle, cause it was Uncle that brought home all those stray kittens and cats and the way Jack looks at him... you know it's puppy love.

I can see all our pets up there in heaven, stoked that Jack will be part of the family- heck he looks like all of 'em.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive