Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Recently I made a scrapbook page of Jenna posed with various dogs. They have all been good dogs – except one.  Our first dog ran away before I had even learned that I was pregnant with Jenna.  Houdini was our favorite dog.

I had worked with a women who was a humanitarian and on a mission to save all animals – dogs in particular.  She asked me if I’d be willing to take a dog.  And the boys had always wanted one – and finally we had the room.  We went to take a look at the dog before we moved to the house I had just purchased.

My boys commented that the dog was fat.  They were more interested in the dog’s sister (who was not available for the taking)  apparently a fat dog was better than no dog.  I told my co-worker we’d take it – but first she’d have to wait for us to move into our house before she brought the dog.  But actually the dog was brought to us on first day of the move – so we hadn’t actually settled in yet.

Houdini was an overweight borderline collie/Australian shepherd – who when shaved of all of his hair looked like he could be part greyhound. A board was used to block the entrance from the driveway to the backyard.  It was only because of his weight that Houdini was unable to escape. 
Once the boys slimmed him down, Houdini would make escapes from the yard as he often went in search of the boys.  That’s not the real name that our dog answered to, for he had been given a name already long before he came to us. But it is the name we would have given him had he not already come with one.  And actually what we had called him that when we make reference to him.

 Houdini was a larger dog and any gaps that we could find in the yard seemed much too small for his body to slide through. And yet he was always making these astounding escapes that would make us scratch our heads.

Our boys were out of town and we left Houdini with a sitter while we went to meet the boys.  Houdini made his escape and was never rescued.  The sitter felt bad, though I assured her that it wasn’t her fault.  I had warned her about Houdini - but there are some things that some people don't take upon face value - and she may have ended up even more floored than we were.

My oldest son asked if I was pregnant.  At the time I didn’t realize that I was.  But I suspect Houdini knew.  It was after Houdini was gone that I understood why he had been sticking so close to me.

We didn’t get our second dog until after Jenna was born.  Roland had wanted to get a dog that could protect me and Jenna while he was away.  And we’d gone to animal shelters in search of something – nothing specific in mind.  

We happened to be at the pound when Roland received a phone call from a business partner who inquired about the background noise.  By coincidence he had a dog and a newborn though he didn’t seem to have room for both and perhaps we’d be interested in taking his dog? So we went to check her out.

Daisy – our only female dog.  Also fat.  Sweet. Not too bright – reminded me of Odie (from the Garfield comic strips) – she was actually younger than I had thought.  Such a lazy dog for still being a puppy – though she was an awfully big puppy. 

Lab mix with a what looked like a St. Bernard head –or so thought my oldest son and me.  St. Bernard’s are big dogs, though I suppose she could have been part horse. But she did not seem to offer any protection for us – oh, her size alone would throw off a few people.  But overall she was not a threat.  She was a homebody.  Never wandered off to explore the way the rest of our dogs have done.

Houdini had always hidden from the noise of the fireworks – where Daisy would literally stand on top of them.  Crazy dog.  Lazy Crazy Daisy.  Sometimes I think that’s why her previous owners named her so.  Rhymed with some of her characteristics.

All three boys were in high school – busier than they had been with Houdini.  Daisy still wasn’t getting the attention she deserved. Jenna was my priority – not Daisy.  Two years after we got her we learned her previous owners had been looking around for another dog.  We gave Daisy back to them. Evidently they had learned to make time for her as they had slimmed her down so much she literally looked like another dog.

And then there’s Patches a Great Pyrenees.  I don’t actually consider Patches to be a family dog.  He was the only dog that came into our family as a puppy.  He was a Christmas gift to my eldest son from his then girlfriend – who assured us that he would not become too large of a dog.  She must have been comparing it to a grizzly bear. 

It actually took him a while to come up with a name for the few week old puppy. Originally our son had come up with Patch – but his girlfriend had dated a guy who’d gone by Patch and didn’t want the reminders – but Jenna had already started calling the dog “Patches” and that is what I called him – until he ran away.

I don’t remember how long he was gone before my son and his girlfriend found him and returned him to our house.  By then most of his “patches” had seemed to disappear and we referred to him as “Buddy” which is the name my son had finally settled on.  Though neither Jenna nor I considered him to be our “buddy”  What a disobedient dog.

My son has always loved horse sized dogs and actually had that with Buddy as he continued to grow and grow and eat and eat and grow some more.  I remember my brother looking out the window three months after Christmas, asking if that was our dog.  I said yes – though Buddy was just a puppy.  My brother looked again and said, “That ain’t no puppy”

Seems like our oldest son was spending his entire paycheck on Buddy.  First with a dog house that Buddy would never go into – not even when he was puppy sized.  He was a weird dog – always buried beneath the boards which leaned against our house.  We could always find him there when it was raining – but loved the snow.  Our youngest son tried building him a larger house from the boards he used as shelter – Buddy wouldn’t use that either.

Jenna learned to love the dog house.  When Buddy went through his “chewing” stage, Jenna hid all her toys in the doghouse knowing that they would be protected as the dog would never go in.  I thought that was really quite clever of her.

I thought it would be great for her to have a companion – until he got too big for her – still playing like a puppy but outweighing Jenna and pushing her down (which she didn’t like) and actually turned out to be longer than my oldest son. 

Buddy wanted to play 24/7.  He was always barking.  My son would often keep Buddy in his room at night so the neighbors wouldn’t complain – but even if he was inside the house, the neighbors would still blame any barking noise on his dog.

Biff tried.  He really did.  But though he had time for a normal dog – he didn’t have time for an undisciplined puppy. On the first week of October, my son’s girlfriend (who had broken off the girlfriend/boyfriend thing and asked for a more platonic relationship; we’d see her just as often – but I think she came to our house just see Buddy and not so much for Biff) took Buddy back to her home (which was in another county)  We never saw either one of them again.

          Buddy was the only puppy.  Never doing that again.

          The economy has been unkind to so many people.  We lost our house and were forced to move to a much smaller house in another city.  Jenna has always had a lot of friends but seems a lot more challenged in the current city were we presently reside.

Two years after we moved in, we went dog shopping again.  This time we brought home an older dog whose previous owner discovered health issues on her part that made it difficult for her to take care of her dog anymore. 

And it’s not as though Highness (not his given name – but seems to fit as he seems to be under the impression that he is prince or king of our domain; very high maintenance) doesn’t demand much time – although he does enjoy going for walks.

I truly believe his last owner tied a bib around his neck and allowed him to sit at the dinner table with her. What a finicky eater.  I don’t know who is more finicky – Highness or Jenna.  If I did not know better I would think Highness was/is a cat.

          Highness (a beagle) seems to be a cross between Houdini and Daisy.  Not quite as active as Houdini – but sweet – very sweet.  And naps almost as much as Daisy did.  We all enjoy Highness’s company.  Even my oldest son who would still like a horse sized dog is happy with our actually smallest dog. 

          My scrapbook page also includes Max and Bear.  Max, who we see on occasion outside the library and Bear who belongs to our hairdresser.  Both dogs are bigger than Jenna – but not puppies who don’t know their own strength.  Jenna has enjoyed playing with both.  Often both she and my oldest son wish Highness was more active – but I’m happy with him the way he is – and I’m the one who spends the most time with him.  Jenna loves him, too. 

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