Inspired by Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Precious Pets
…We have a dog. Her name is Kaki. She is a beagle…
That was the grand announcement in my diary for January 1, 1965 for the first (and last) dog to appear during my childhood. Three scrawled blue ink sentences interspersed between waxing my new white bike, describing my parents’ Open House and watching The Addams Family and Gomer Pyle that night on television.
Kaki’s arrival actually happened on Christmas Eve 1964. I imagine she was supposed to be a Christmas present for me and my 3 younger siblings…
…We have a surprise for you all!
The front door opened and a small dog broke loose from my father’s grip. She started running – taking off down the hall through the kitchen and into the dining room. From there she ran straight into the 4 of us waiting in the living room. Where a fully decorated Christmas tree was standing in the corner. All hell broke loose.
We all chased her. She ran faster. Repeating the circular path around the main floor of the house. Kitchen-Dining Room-Living Room. My parents yelled. The next thing I remember, our new dog ran into the tree and grabbed ornaments in her mouth. Glass ornaments. The tree may have tipped over. I was petrified. She’s swallowed glass. She might die!
My remembering gets murky after that. I think my father finally caught her and checked her mouth. Gave her bread to eat, which was supposed to stick to the shards from the ornament. Perhaps the actual drama was shorter lived, but it was scary for all of us – Kaki (named for her brown colored ears) was probably the most scared.
It was my mother’s well meaning idea to give us a dog. I think it completed her dream of the ideal family unit: mother, father, 4 kids and a dog. In her dream we would all help take care of it. Without complaint. The dog would, of course, behave perfectly. There would be no peeing on the floor. No chewing on furniture. Eating the pompoms off the tablecloth. Throwing up on the rug.
Unfortunately for Kaki, she behaved about as perfectly as the imperfect children in this less than ideal household. She was a sweet dog, though. I enjoyed walking her around the block. Searching the neighborhood (repeatedly) for her when she escaped out the front door…not so much. I wonder now if my parents ever brought her to obedience school.
Several years later (4 or 5?) my parents gave her away to a single guy (I think he was a veteran) who wanted a dog. I don’t remember why or when or how.
When I had a family of my own – including a daughter and a son – the subject of getting a dog came up a few times. My husband and I decided we had enough to do with jobs, a house, kids and activities. I saw first hand as a child…dogs are a lot of work and take a lot of time. And sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan.
When you grow up, you can have your own dog!…was our standard answer.
And they did.
My daughter and her husband adopted a rescue dog in 2014. Lutra is a well loved (and well trained!) member of the family. She loves squeaky chew toys, cheese and helping out with crumbs below the chair belonging to the newest human member of the family. She does not like squirrels or cats and lets them know it too.
My 3 year old grandson considers Lutra to be his dog.
My son finally got a dog of his own this past February. He and his girlfriend also adopted a rescue dog. It had been found lost on a highway in Arkansas with no chip or ID. They discovered him on an adoption site online and he arrived via a freight truck at a rest area nearby. We went with them to pick up their new pet.
They were understandably a bit nervous – after all they lived in a small 4th floor walkup apartment in Boston. A high strung barking dog would be a challenge. The agreement included a 2 week trial period, but as it turned out…they had nothing to worry about. It was a perfect match. We could see it that cold day in the parking lot as they met for the first time….
Taco is the most chill and relaxed dog ever.
My children have grown up.
They have their own dogs, just as I predicted.
Life is good.