I remember the day my husband brought the little dog home. He was a full-bred Jack Russell terrier, but he came with baggage.
Born on a farm, he had been adopted by a family; but they brought him back because he was vicious.
Before long, the terrier attacked the largest farm dog; and the farmer knew he had to find him another home – and fast.
My husband was the sap. He loves dogs, and the cute and expensive terrier was free.
Arriving home, my husband called me over to meet our new pet. I took one look at the animal and told my husband to bring him back.
The terrier had a large gash on his head that he sustained in the dogfight, and it looked infected. I was sure he would die.
Coming to reason, my husband reluctantly agreed. He chased the dog around the yard but couldn’t get him into the truck. When the terrier ran into the kennel, my husband shut the gate; and the dog moved into his new digs for good.
My son named him Wishbone, after the PBS character, a canine sleuth that reenacted the classics. But they were never close. Actually our three children were afraid of him.
Wishbone was territorial and seemingly unlovable. He growled and flashed his pointed teeth at any man or beast that came within a hundred feet of the kennel.
We bought Wishbone an adorable red doghouse with green shutters, and he loved it. In the winter we filled it with straw, and he snuggled inside with just his head poking out.
If a mouse made the mistake of stepping on his turf, Wishbone trapped it under the doghouse, burrowing a tunnel until he caught the squatter. Opossums tried to dine on his kibble, but their nighttime visits were always their last. We never had to remove the carcasses because he ate them.
Despite his quirks, Wishbone endeared himself to us. My husband liked to carry him around in the crook of his arm, and the dog followed him as he did his chores in the barn.
Every morning I would give him a large piece of rawhide, which he would tear and consume in minutes. He let me pet him and scratch under his chin whenever I gave him a snack, a biscuit for extra-large dogs.
Just like other folks, the vet was afraid of Wishbone. While most animals were greeted sweetly and stroked by the staff, our dog was fitted with a muzzle as soon as he came through the door.
We dreaded the annual rabies shot at the fire station. My son had to accompany my husband because it took two grown men to accomplish the feat.
First of all, they had to stand in line, and Wishbone let the German shepherds and Alaskan huskies know who was boss.
One time he got loose, and my husband had to grab him in a headlock to protect both animals and humans.
And after the shot, he always left a present behind.
But the years passed, and Wishbone aged. He developed cataracts and lost his appetite. He stopped growling at strangers. We knew his days were numbered.
Last Wednesday he breathed his last, and my husband and I are grief stricken.
If dogs go to Heaven, we know that St. Peter was waiting by the gate with a muzzle.