December 29, 2007

Sandy Dundee

My mind seems to have gone to the dogs, lately. I don't know why, but everywhere I go, I read something about a dog, or someone sends me something about one. I even went to the New York Times today (forty lashes: I deserve at least that many for going to TNYT for any reason) to read a dog story--well, a story about dog trainers. Anyway, it has conjured up the memories of some of the dogs I have known, at one time or another. They haven't all been nice ones, either, but mostly they have been.

I haven't always been that fond of them---in fact, for many years I was terrified of them, having had a nasty bite from one, requiring several stitiches, and the subsequent rabies shots to follow. I was only thirteen years old, at a carnival, just strolling along, minding my own business, and the little critter came running from one of the tents and chomped down on my leg. It was a traveling carnival, and by the time that I had gotten treated at the local emergency room, the carny people who owned the dog, packed up and hightailed it out of town, taking the dog with them, of course, which was the reason I had to take all of those shots--no dog to test for rabies.

Daddy always owned a dog of one kind, or another, including a lot of hunting dogs, and a few others, but Daddy was lord and master, and only a look, or a word, and they obeyed any command, so I was never afraid of them. After that little carnival episode, all other dogs scared me, and I had no fondness for them, whatsoever, until I had my two sons, and all little boys have to have a dog. It was after that, that I began to see, that just like people, they are not all bad, not all good, not all pretty, and not all ugly, and it only takes a little "getting to know you" on both sides. And just like children, some are naughty, and some are little comedienes.

One of our dogs, Sandy, was one of the funniest dogs in the world! We got her, and her sister, Buffy, when they were just old enough to wean from their mother. They were beautiful Golden Retrievers, and when they were about six months old, they both came down with Parvo, which is a deadly virus, and wreaks havoc on the poor animal. They both spent time at the veterinarian's hospital, but Buffy didn't make it. The doctor told us, finally, that there was nothing more to be done for Sandy, either, and the kindest thing would be to euthanize her. We refused, and brought her home, and my son, Mike, nursed her back to health. She was a pathetic case, too. She would lie on her side, with her tongue hanging out, and that was about all she could do for several weeks. Then she began to grow stronger and stronger, until she was bounding around just as before. The only after-effects of the illness was that she stopped growing. Just like that, she grew no more, and stayed the size of a six month old pup! She adored Mike, and was his constant companion, and she kept us laughing at her antics all the time.

When we lived in Florida, she was almost caught by an alligator, and had a couple of tooth scratches on her haunch to prove it. After that, we would put a bandana around her neck, strap a toy knife in a sheath around her, and when we would say, "Sandy! Alligator!" She would snap her head around, taking the toy knife into her mouth, and look at us with her Barney Fife look! While wearing her outfit, we called her Sandy Dundee!

One Labor Day, she got out of the yard, and we couldn't find her, anywhere. A short time later, we saw her running up the street with a whole bag of buns in her mouth. We had no idea where she had gotten them. Right after that, she took off again, and this time, she came back with a whole block of butter, dropped it, and took off again, disappearing completely. Next, here she came with a piece of meat of some kind, and ashes all around her nose and mouth! She took off again, and we tried following her, but there was no sign of her anywhere! This time, we met her coming up the street, with a deflated beach ball, soaking wet, from head to toe! We were horrified, because it seems that she had found someone's Labor Day cookout, and had made off with just about everything they had! She had been cutting through yards, which was the reason she disappeared so quickly, and we were unable to find her. We figured that she actually went into the pool after the beach ball, or they finally caught her snitching all their stuff and squirted her with the hose. We asked around, trying to find out who was missing their Labor Day cookout stuff, but never found out where she had been! And Sandy? Well, she was so proud of herself, and walked around all day with what we called her Barney Fife look--you know the cocky, smug one that he always got when he thought he had outsmarted Sheriff Taylor, or the local bad guy? We laughed so much, but I'll bet that poor family wasn't laughing at all!

When she was nearly four years old, she was hit by a car, which was flying up the rural road where we lived, at about sixty miles an hour. The driver didn't stop, or even slow down, and we lost our precious girl who had given us so much joy. And even as she faded away, lying there surrounded by the people who loved her, and were telling her how much, her eyes were full of fear and pain, but even so, they were filled with love for her people--especially for her Mike. Her eyes never left his face.

Do you think that dogs really do feel all the emotions that humans feel, like love? I do.


rockync said...

Oh my, yes, I've had some very smart, funny, loving dogs. It is so sad to lose them, but they leave us with such profound memories. The one constant in my ever changing life that I can always count on is the unequivocal love and tail wagging greetings from my border collie, Molly. It's always good to come home.

k said...

Yes. Absolutely, indubitably.

Actually, I think lots of animals do. Not just mammals, either. Birds too, for sure.

A few years ago, I was watching a documentary on penguins. It was narrated by a British guy, and perhaps produced by Brits too.

And there they were, watching these penguins and discussing that wonderful tradeoff they do between mama and papa, carefully handing over that one precious egg so papa can keep it warm while mama finally gets some food...

and the narrator said,

of course, they don't love each other...

I've listened to these pompous pronouncements all my life, and wondered how the heck people who were supposedly doing a science type show could keep saying BS that had no data to support it?

That's a thing called *received wisdom.* It gets tossed around forever, and sounds logical, so people just accept it as truth. They never once even think on it, much less fact-check it.

Not a few months later, here comes this wonderful penguins movie - I forget the name, you might remember. I never saw it, but I certainly heard all about it.

And how very remarkable it was. You see, what I heard from all directions was how beautifully that movie showed how much love those penguins felt.

Jan said... is something the way that they love us, unconditionally, isn't it?

Just think how glad they are when we come home, too! :)

Jan said...

k..I didn't see the documentary about penquins, but I have seen them about other animals where it showed them to have almost human emotions.

Ironically, I was reading a blog the other day about someone who was trying to get rid of a mouse. I copied and pasted it here:

"I have a peculiar aversion to killing things if I don't have to. Years and years ago, my wife and I discovered we had mice in the house. I put poison under the hutch. One day as we were in the living room, a mouse came staggering out from under the hutch, and collapsed. This was not my wife's cup of tea, she loves little animals. Then, to our horror, a larger mouse came out from under the hutch, and crawled to the side of the dead mouse. It was clearly the male and the first mouse was his mate. I'm not making this up, it's just as it happened. The male mouse put one arm over the dead female, put his head on her head, then he died. There they lay together, a little tableau of man's inhumanity to mouse. My wife was scarred for life, no doubt, and though I had disposed of the rodents I did not find myself exalted by my family for having done so. After that, we used "trap em alive" traps if the need arose, and released them out in the woods."

Isn't that amazing...and touching?

sue said...

Not just dogs, either, but all critters. I mean, lots of people don't like cats but if you look at the face of a cat how can you not believe in a God? I mean, the markings and the design is so PERFECT. I love my dogs and cats and enjoy seeing the wild birds at the feeder and the deer in the field... and, yes, I do believe animals have very definate feelings and I hope my critters that I have loved so dearly will be there in the afterlife waiting to see me again.

Jan said...

Sue, I like cats, too..we had a few of those over the years, and they each had their own unique personality.

And who knows..there's nothing that says they won't be there in the afterlife to greet us! I am smiling now, getting a mental picture of all the pets that all the people have owned over a lifetime, greeting everyone! Well, actually it is making me laugh out loud! :)

sheoflittlebrain said...

This is such a touching story, Jan. Your little Sandy brought so much joy and love to your family.

The story of the two mice is just amazing and I believe every word. we just have to pay attention to animal behavior to witness something extraordinary

I firmly believe that animals are capable of the same emotions as people and show us that all the time. Not only that, but they are capable of thought and have the ability to plan for the future, at least the near, future.

Jan said...

She..thank you.

I certainly agree that they are wonderful creatures, worthy of love and respect.

Your Samantha story was amazing, too! Imagine that..finding a home for that last pup! :)