Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Very short dog tale


When my dad died, I left a guy, bought a house, and got a boxer.

My very first dog was a boxer, when I was a kid of maybe 4 or 5. At that age, I had a lot of time to myself. Can’t say how much exactly, but in retrospect, I expect pretty much. I remember dialing the number of neighbors we once knew in far off towns and states.

“Hi!” I’d say.

“Why, my goodness, is this Karin?” they’d answer.

I would call the operator from time to time. He or she was always nice, and I’d ask if they had ever seen a boxer with pink nose. Our boxer had a pink nose. One operator in particular that I remember answered, “Well, no I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog with a pink nose. Where’s your mom. Can I talk to her about your boxer?”

I don’t know how long this operator and I discussed boxers and pink noses, but I do recall it was a very satisfying conversation.

My boxer’s name was Box. Likely I was to blame for that, but can’t say for sure. I do remember his dog house, which was a perfect replica of our house, same colors, design, trim and everything. My dad built it. It had a mud room, and a main room, with a rubber flap in front that you could push up on to its roof.

When there was rain and lightening, and this was Seattle so probably almost all the time, Box and I would sit side-by-side in the main room, my arm around his shoulder, and it seems his was around mine – but that’s not physically possible, is it? In any case, we watched the weather together.

And sometimes, when the wind would change – south to north, we’d get drops of water on our face. And I’d lick his face and he’d lick mine. Is that gross? It didn’t seem so at the time. It doesn’t seem so now.

When my parents brought home a new baby, another family came to take my dog away. They arrived in a station wagon, and it took some work, getting Box in the car and keeping me out. But much as we struggled, Box and I, we knew this wouldn't turn out well, that ultimately, we had no real say in the matter. Finally, there he was, locked inside, leaping from back to front and side to side. They drove him away and we never saw each other again.

Many years later, and actually many dogs later, I got another boxer. Sometimes Phoebe and I would sit on the front porch when it rained, and we’d watch the weather. I’d have my arm around her shoulder. And she had her arm around me. Or so it seemed.

There's a perfectly wonderful boxer who needs a home, and Petrea at Pasadena Daily Photo and I hope to guide as many eyes in his direction as possible.

So visit Patch to meet Vinnie, a dog who is practically perfect in all possible ways.

29 comments:

  1. You made me remember my first best dog friend, Lucy. She lived for 21 years, from 3rd grade to the birth of my first child. We used to ice skate on the pond together.

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  2. So your first dog wasn't a succession of Beagles named Heidi. And your father cutting ties between you and Box for a younger brother. I see....This explains so much

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  3. This is heartbreaking, Karin.

    Reminds me of ...

    THIS

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  4. Gosh, that's a sad, good story. My parallel is with English Bulldogs--as a wee child, then high school, then my first dog as an adult. I've quit them because of their health issues, but I still love that look.

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  5. amen Mr Earl, amen.

    wv: preist...hmnnn.

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  6. There is no bond like the bond between an animal and his companion. I remember coming home from school one day to discover that my cat was no longer there. No explanation, no opportunity for goodbyes. You can tell it bothers me to this day.

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  7. This brought tears to my eyes. It shouldn't have happened that way. Some folks just don't get dogs.

    I hope someone who does get dogs gets Vinnie. I think he's a rare prize.

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  8. Oh shit, Earl, I just heard the first line and knew I couldn't listen to the rest. I can't go to dog or horse movies, either.

    Patti, you really did grow up together. I love the ice skating image.

    Banjo, yes the mooshie face. It's a shame when human intervention harms a breed.

    Carolynn, yes, but really, how did they expect you to come to terms with something like that?

    P, fingers crossed.

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  9. So sad, Karin. If only parents realized, they might think twice. Mine was a little black, long-haired mutt they "gave to a nice farmer" when we moved.

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  10. This is a heartbreaker. How do you do this to your readers?

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  11. Me thinks there is enough material for many blogs to fully lance your emotional carbuncle.

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  12. So sad that your parents sent poor Box away. The baby was doubtless nowhere near as much fun, at least for you. I found an orange kitten on my way home from school when I was in Kindergarten, and I had him forever. Mom said no, but once I pointed out to Dad that the kitten's hair matched his and mine, the kitten was mine. Funny how we remember our first pets in such detail, isn't it?

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  13. There's a place that I visit from time to time - the one where I have to remember all the dogs, cats, horses, hammies, and birds that came into my life and then left because of circumstances beyond my control. For the most part I feel nothing in those moments because remembering would break my heart. Bit I think I felt a little fissure open up when I read this. It's prolly because of all those lost loves that my four legged friends mean the world to me now.

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  14. Bettertry, in my case, I think wounds heal, but from time to time I'm compelled to pick at the scabs. Paula might be better at leaving such things alone.

    Marjie, what a clever girl you were/are. I just wasn't smart enough.

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  15. My first dog was murdered by a neighbor. You do get past it, but you still have the story in you.

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  16. I'm just fine, Karin. These stories are the reason we all visit with you here. We all know the drill.

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  17. Poignant story; brought tears to my eyes, too. Petrea's right -- some people just don't get it.

    I hope Vinnie finds a wonderful, loving home.

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  18. Heartbreaking indeed. If he'd had opposable thumbs I bet Box would have written a story about how devastating it was to be taken away from the sweetest little girl a dog could ever know. My first pet was an outdoor cat named Dusty, who got hit by a car fairly soon after we got her. My beloved maternal grandfather was moved to write a limerick called "Neath the Paw Paw Patch We Lay Kitty" which didn't go over too well with my mom at the time, but now we all laugh about it. Years later I recorded him reciting the limerick so now if I need consoling I listen to that.

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  19. That is so sad, Karin. I got choked up by the time you mentioned Phoebe. Is that your dad in the photo?

    Petrea, that's quite a bomb to drop. Are you going to fill us in?

    I hope Vinnie's story has a happy ending.

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  20. Petrea, I thought you grew up in a bucolic rural village with lots of nice neighbors. What happened?

    Most of my dogs were rehomed, as we were an Army family that moved every three years. We had dogs and cats wherever we lived, and I was their main caretaker, but my mother always found them good homes, so it wasn't too much of a wrench. My first puppy went to live with my Granny and Granddad. They claimed at first that they weren't dog people and were only doing it for me, but after a week, they were dog lovers, and she was spoiled like a baby with them. I'm sorry you never got a chance to say goodbye to Box, Karin. And I hope Vinnie goes to a good home - he sounds like the ideal dog.

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  21. His pink nose sounds so whimsical. I'm very sad that you lost each other. I like to imagine Box sitting there with you and Phoebe on the front porch when it rained. Perhaps they're keeping each other company now. I'll pop over to Patch and say hello to dear Vinnie.

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  22. Petrea, that's terrible. I can't imagine what you went through.

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  23. I guess it was kind of a bomb, sorry. It's a long story and I didn't understand all of it until I was older. But in rural hamlets people have guns, and one of our neighbors shot our dog one night, thinking he was avenging something that never actually happened. I didn't know that at the time.

    I remember a lot of things about it but especially that I couldn't stop crying, even at school, and the school librarian kept scolding me for it. I think I was about 5.

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  24. That's terrible, Petrea. I'm so sorry.

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  25. oh Petrea! Every time I hear a story like that, I think about the lies that are told to children, to "help them understand" a situation by avoiding the truth (and yet, children are told to tell the truth). They never do understand the lies and when the truth comes out, it hurts even more, usually at a time when there is no one left to explain why such a farce was committed.

    Lotsa hugs, even old hurts still need hugs to help heal.

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  26. In my mind's eye, you look a lot like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird...I can see the big crocodile tears as Box was driven away...my heart break's for that little girl, in love with her dog and losing such a precious friend...
    So glad there seems to be a happy ending for Vinnie...

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  27. Darn those allergies. They've got my eyes watering again.
    That is a tribute to your awesome writing Karin...

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