The first dog I remember was Beauty, my grandmother's dog. I was about six when a very pregnant Beauty hid under the bed to deliver her litter. She went a little nuts, growling and snarling at anyone who went near her. She was never the same after that. Motherhood's tough.
I couldn't have a dog when I was kid because my brother was allergic. My parents got me a stuffed Pekingese as a consolation prize. I was okay with that. I remember posing with the fake pooch on the balcony of the Thunderbird Motel in Miami when I was 8.
One day, when I was about 10, I was sitting in my Uncle's living room when their small white dog decided to go pneumatic drill on my leg for about 10 minutes. I thought it was just some kind of game so I didn't stop him. I still remember my father and uncle laughing hysterically in the corner as they watched me.
When I was 22, I got a cat. I named it The Great Santini. It disappeared one day and never came back. A week later, I got a genuine hand-cut, ransom note, asking me to leave 20 cans of tuna behind the Poodle Palace if I ever wanted to see the cat again. True story. I think my friends were playing a practical joke. About the note, not the missing cat.
I finally got a dog of my own when I moved in with Chandra. KD was loyal, sweet and mild-mannered, but had a serious obsessive-compulsive disorder. She loved rocks. She loved rocks so much she would nose them off the edge of the pool and dive to the bottom to retrieve them. Endlessly. She also loved frisbees. We probably went through a hundred canvas Flippy Floppers. Go to Laguna High School. You'll find three on the roof.
One day Chandra and I were driving away from the house to run some errands. After a little bit, we heard panting coming from outside the car. We turned to see KD running full speed next to the car, desperate to keep up with us. We stopped and let her in. The dog knew what she wanted. She wanted us. And rocks. And frisbees.
FYI: I like big dogs. I like to rassle with them. I like their big heads and big ears and big feet. Not a fan of the small dogs. Most are too yippy. And they always seem to have a chip on their shoulder.
Chandra and I got a second dog, Kayla, a soft-as-silk brown lab-pit mix with some serious issues. Kayla, a rescue who had been returned to the shelter numerous times. should have been in intensive therapy with a dog shrink. She had severe separation anxiety for a long time. She finally settled down. At about age 10.
When Kayla was a puppy, she swallowed a rock and needed expensive surgery. A week later, she swallowed another rock and needed another expensive surgery. To this day, we're not sure what we would have done if she had swallowed another rock.
|Kayla almost giving a kiss.|
Kayla showed her true colors when I got sick. I remember sitting glumly on the sofa, my stomach bloated and painful, feeling depressed, my energy completely gone. Suddenly, Kayla jumped up, snuggled next to me, put her head on my lap, and stayed with me for hours. Later in her long life, when she was sickly and emaciated, I would lay down next to her, pet her gently, and whisper in her ear, "I'll never forget what you did for me."
Our third dog was Gracie, another rescue who was all legs and nose. I've never seen another dog that looked like her. Chandra brought her home from the shelter on a whim. I was hesitant. We already had Kayla. But Gracie jumped into my lap as if on command. She was home.
Gracie had an amazing temperament. You could walk her off leash and never worry about another dog or human. She was content to chase frisbees and balls.
|Gracie at her finest.|
Teddy is our current dog. Eighty pounds of muscular, Pit Bull love. I've never had a dog that loved to kiss you so much. I feel like I'm dating again.
Teddy has a crush on me. He follows me everywhere. Even when I'm peeing in the bathroom. In the morning, Teddy will climb on top of me and try to get as close as possible. Sometimes, it feels like he's trying to get inside of me.