Saturday, October 6, 2012

A dog's life

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.



  1. So sorry to hear of your loss. When a dog dies it is like loosing a child or another family member because they are man's and women's best friend. When my last dog died A.D I grieved and am still grieving his passing. He was an awesome white German Shepherd who the youth in my first youth group bought for me before I left Port Huron, Michigan. He was my best friend and everyone would say what an Awesome Dog you have so that is how he became. A.D. I hope and pray A.D. and Wishbone get to meet up in heaven and become friends as they wait for us to get there. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers as you grieve his passing and readjust your lives now that he is gone. Goggle " Rainbow bridge" is you have never seen that poem about what happens after a pet dies.

  2. Linda we are sorry for your loss. I had a dog who was my best friend. He was run over by a truck when I was on my Mission in Japan. I was really sad when I received a letter from my father who told me what had happen. I was reading one day where one of the LDS prophets stated that animals will resurrect some day. This statement gives me hope that some day I will see Blackie.