Monday, February 11, 2008

do grand-dogs count?

I haven't owned a dog for many years. In fact, I've only ever owned one. It was when I was a teacher in the northern BC community of Hazelton many years ago. The summer between the two years I taught there a friend's dog had a litter of puppies. I volunteered to adopt one of these mongrels and at about six weeks old I took one home and named him Ruggles.

He was ever so cute as a pup and I loved him to pieces. He lived with us (another teacher and me) for the year and soon grew out of puppyhood, to become a smiling, exuberant and very disobedient dog (I had about as much success training him to sit, come and stay as I had in keeping a quiet, controlled classroom).

When I went home to the farm in Saskatchewan that summer, I took him with me. There he joined at least two other dogs -- old farm dog Toby, a stocky, black shorted-haired don't-know-the-breed, and my brother's red Irish setter Penny. I'm afraid Ruggles was at the bottom of the pecking order and not a welcome addition. Very soon he took to roaming.

He stayed at the farm when I left for Europe in August of that year. In October I picked up my mail from an American Express office and remember reading the letter from home in a Bern, Switzerland coffee shop. It not only delivered the news that my dad had been diagnosed with cancer but also that Ruggles had gone missing. They thought he had probably been mistaken by a neighboring farmer for a chicken-raiding coyote -- and you know what becomes of chicken-raiding coyotes. What a depressing day!

I've never owned another dog since then and neither have we had one as a family pet. The closest we've come is lately with our grand-dog Rupert. The kids bring him over when they come from Kamloops and we babysit him when they go out to visit friends. He is a beautiful black Lab, now a little over a year old and pretty well full-grown. However, he thinks he's still a puppy and is always trying to get up on our laps to cuddle. He enjoys the taste of body butter, loves new doggy toys and having his tummy rubbed.

For lots more doggy tales and information on how you can add yours to the "Dog Days of February" collection, go to Rebecca Writes who is featuring all things canine this month.


Annette said...

how nice that you can enjoy a dog without having to own one. :)

My hubby's mother does the same with our dog when we need help in that area. She spoils Sassy shamelessly. :)

violet said...

Thanks annette! Indeed, isn't that what being a 'grand-' is all about - having the perks without the responsibilities!? I like it.

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