Dogs I have loved, and kinda loved

My little Barney face is having some health problems. Fortunately, I spent some quality time with him on my lap at the vet when I was home for Christmas…especially since I traumatized and neglected him the week I brought Isis into his home. I sort of knew when I said goodbye on Christmas (as opposed to Thanksgiving, when I was so stressed about taking Isis on the plane that I forgot to say goodbye to Barney), that it might be the last time I saw him.

I never really loved a dog before Barney.

Well, I guess I’ve kinda loved dogs before, but not in the way that causes total heartbreak when they’re gone. My brother chastised me recently for not caring when our first dog, a Springer spaniel named Fritzi, was hit by a car. Actually, he flat out blames me for her death (still), because I knew she had gotten out and hadn’t gone after her. We had just moved and she had gotten out a lot at our old house. She was hard to catch, so I just figured I’d wait ’til she came back. Didn’t factor in a negligent, possible inebriated driver.

I was 13 and I didn’t not care that she died. But neither did I go with my mom, my brother and the carcass to wherever it is that you take a dog carcass.

Our subsequent dogs were mistakes in judgment. Note to inexperienced dog owners: it is not wise to take your child to the shelter and let her fall in love with a dog that is being brought in by a nice couple at that moment and take it home that day. Especially when it is a much larger breed than you intended to get. Sasha was a barker and she mysteriously “got out” one day after repeated complaints by our next-door neighbors about the noise.

It also is unwise to take the last cocker spaniel in the litter. Apparently, when we took that puppy to the vet for the first time, the doc said he was a vicious dog and should be put down. I wasn’t the expert puppy raiser then that I am now, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t make Max less vicious to let him bark at me from the back porch every afternoon as I watched soap operas, trying to make myself invisible on the couch so he’d shut up. We held on to that dog until he bit the poolman. Mom bathed him and got him all pretty when she took him to the shelter, in hopes that some sucker might fall in love, but then he bit my mom in front of the shelter employee before my mom was even out of the lobby. We’re pretty sure he was sent to live on that proverbial farm that people talk about…

Barney, on the other hand, is perfect in every way. I had forgotten that he used to hump people’s legs, but it’s cuter when a Lhasa apso does it, isn’t it? We’d never had a dog before Barney who could be trusted to just hang around the house.

It’s the memories of those other “bad” dogs from the past that makes me marvel at how relatively well-behaved Isis is. She jumps a little, and she likes to chew on Rob, but we’re able to have her in the room with us when we’re home. Initially, we planned to not let her on the furniture, but she ruled against us on that one, and uh, we decided not to fight her on it. She knows who’s boss (us). I think. She just likes to leap up on the couch or the recliner and chew on a rawhide.

She has not yet kicked us out of bed, although Rob did give her the impression she is allowed up there. The last couple of nights, she has curled up for a few minutes at our feet, but then got bored and went back down to the floor where all the toys are.

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

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