Monday, November 03, 2014

Showdogs ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Jilda and I have always had dogs. Most of them were “throwaways” that showed up at our front door limping, with mange, the worms, and other maladies stemming from abuse and neglect.

A big red dog of questionable lineage wandered up several years ago. He was so old, his teeth were worn down to nubs and one of his ears had been chewed off. We often got creative with names, but we just called this one Ol’ Red.

He was so far gone, it would have been more merciful to put him down, but with a little time and Jilda’s loving care, he lived several years and died happy.

I’m not sure if it was by chance or some hidden intuition, but they all somehow found the hidden path into our hearts.

When dogs show up here, they hit the canine lottery. They are petted, medicine, vet visits, and three-square meals a day with tasty scraps of chicken, and other treats that somehow tend to fall from our plates at mealtime.

Some die soon after they arrive, and others have stayed as long as 15 years.

The Universe must have bent slightly these last few years because instead of gimpy mutts, the two animals that arrived at our door have been show dogs. One was a thoroughbred collie, and the other a thoroughbred Yorkie.

They want the same thing as the mutts — attention, to be petted, a decent plate of food, and a warm place when it’s cold outside.

But these dogs need a good bit more than mutts. If you've ever seen the old television show Lassie, Caillou could have served as a double in that series.

Grooming him is a chore. After brushing, there’s enough fur on the ground to knit a blanket that could keep Rhode Island warm in winter. But he is a beautiful dog.

When we walk with Caillou, he runs through the woods with wild abandon. Upon return, he’s often dragging the forest behind him. I find myself saying unkind things as I wrestle the briars and brambles out of the six-inches of hair on his tail.

Over the weekend, our carpenter friend Ray helped us replace the lauan and commercial tile on our kitchen floor. It was a messy job involving lots of glue. I’m still finding glue on tools and doorknobs.

Today after my nephew Haven helped me move the stove and fridge back into the kitchen, we were standing in the living room sipping a cold glass of water.

I heard Caillou coming before he arrived. He seemed to be clanking against things as he walked through the house.

When I looked at him more closely, he had a broken corner of commercial tile covered in glue tangled in his tail.

I had to cut it out with shears. He looked a little embarrassed as if to say, “I have no idea how that happened daddy, I promise.”

As I say, I love our dogs, but I'm kind of hoping the next dogs that show up are just mutts.


  1. I'm convinced there's a special part of Heaven reserved for folks like you and Jilda!
    Just when my eyeballs were spilling over their brinks, you made me LOL with the vision of Caillou's tail accessory.

  2. Awe you and Jilda are so good to your animals... I love that... it shows what kind of people you really are, sweet :)

  3. Than you Launna.We appreciate your kind words.

  4. Anonymous10:04 PM

    If I'm reincarnated as a dog, I'm coming to live with you & Jilda!!

  5. Well built column and a beautiful picture.
    Happy election day.

  6. Your house is obviously dog heaven.

  7. Beautiful creature. Dog find you and Jilda because they all know a good thing... and they pass it on.

  8. Caillou is a twinner to Lassie! So beautiful! How sweet and kind of you guys to take in those lost doggie souls...they are lucky indeed! Any cats come your way? Not that I'm thinking of dropping Squeak off at your door.....

  9. You're good people you and Jilda. I used to take in all kind of strays but I don't do it anymore because i have very little time to give them. I have so many animals to care for at the farm.

  10. Dogs are wonderful companions and have been known to extend the lives of those they love, so your dog is just trying to keep you healthy! I love dogs, although I do not have one presently because we travel a lot now and didn't feel it would be fair to have a dog and continually board him while away. Once we stop traveling so much, I'll be getting another dog...I truly miss having a dog around the house right now.


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