Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Our Dogs" © By Abraham Lincoln

Our favorite dogs are buried here. Cuddles was an old lady when she had to be put down because of arthritis and the pain she endured from it. She was 22 in human years and the oldest dog that Clayton Animal Care had ever cared for at that time. She came from Denise Sabo who was a student of mine over in Greene County when I taught there—Cuddles was “family.” I often wonder if there is a Heaven for Animals and believe there must be for something as special as these dogs have been to us from day one.

Tiger is buried here. He was supposed to be a Toy Fox Terrier but ended up being a Jack Russell Terrier. Tiger was the smartest dog we ever had and knew what 47 human words meant. He could distinguish between a yellow sock and a red sock or a red ball and a blue ball. He listened to you speak and would go and get what you sent him for. He also knew exactly what to do when I would tell him: "Go out in the yard and set down for a picture." He would do that and often Cuddles followed him and sat beside him and we were able to take their pictures together. Tiger suffered a stroke when we were in Florida. When we got home he could no longer bark and his body was bent in a semi-circle but he lived a while longer. In spite of the best care we could give him he was having a hard time getting his breath and laid down and died from a heart attack practically in my arms. I was devastated and cried for a long time.

Benji (Benjamin) is buried here too. He was rescued from the animal shelter in Dayton and my mom said, "He is so ugly only his mother could love him." Benji stole our hearts and was a wonderful small benji-type mixed dog. He loved to run and ran around our yard daily until he nearly exhausted himself. He wore a trail around the yard that he ran on like it was a race track. After many years, he had to be put down and his death was a terrible experience for me.

Puppy is buried here. She wasn't much older than a small puppy would be but had suffered a badly broken leg and was taken to the animal hospital by our daughter, Melinda. She came home and we cared for her. Puppy was a sweetheart and Cuddles and Tiger both fell in love with her. They were all pals together and lay in the sunny spots together and had a good life together. Her broken leg and steel brace were almost forgotten memories when pieces of bone began to work out of her leg. She cried in pain. The vet could operate again and try to get the pieces out but would not guarantee anything. Eventually, sadly, Puppy was put to sleep. God I missed her a lot. She seemed to have to prettiest smile of any dog I ever saw. We all missed her. Tiger and Cuddles missed her for a long time after she died.

Patty drove to New Lebanon on a stormy night and brought home a tiny puppy that we called “Autumn Eve” because it was Fall when we got her and it was in the evening. She was a tiny dog and we assumed she would not get very big. Our neighbor lady, Mrs. Brock, had got her sister from the same people. They named their dog, “Cuddles” and Cuddles was a tiny dog. We really liked her and she was the reason Patty went to the same breeder and bought our dog, Autumn Eve. But Autumn seemed to grow up and ended up twice as big as her sister across the street. Autumn was a Toy Fox Terrier and had perfect, heart shaped ears that were always perked up. She was a lap dog and a favorite sleeping pal when I laid back and went to sleep in the recliner—she always lay beside me and we dozed together. She developed cataracts and we could not afford the $2500 price tag charged for the removal of one cataract, so that, plus her bad case of arthritis and age found us making the sad decision to have her put to sleep. I cried like a baby when she was brought back to the car in a plastic bag with those beautiful ears, perked up. I had a hard time putting her in the ground and covering her up back in 2006.

We stopped at the Darke County Animal Shelter in 2011 and picked up a small Jack Russell Terrier. He was covered with small black and brown spots. I mentioned that he looked like somebody had sprinkled him with pepper. After two baths and visits to the local vet, our Darke County dog was named, “Pepper Jax,” and we think he is one of the best dogs we ever got because he came house broken and that was a big plus to us. He is about 3 or 4 years old now and runs like the wind. I think he could outrun Benji on a race around the yard but Benji would do it for several minutes at a time. Pepper Jax does it once and if he doesn’t catch a bird that is fleeing a bush he seems a bit disappointed. Yes, he has actually caught two birds he flushed out of boxwood bushes.

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