Inky was a mutt. A medium-sized, long-haired, black-furred mutt. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what her makeup was. She had short legs and a long muzzle, and fur that was long and dark, dark everywhere. I don’t recall a spot of white on her.
She was the dog I grew up with. We got Inky after my brother was born. So at one point, my parents had me (a 2-year-old), an infant, and a puppy. And then about two years later, another infant (Dr. Sis)!
Inky was a good pup, and a good dog until she got older. She got snappy, and couldn’t handle the excitement of children running around the yard. When I was a teen, we gave Inky to my widow grandmother Olympia. She did well there — probably got a little fat. But it was a calmer situation for her.
She eventually lost most of her eyesight and mobility, and we had to put her down. I don’t remember being particularly sad about losing her.
Dudley was a short-lived experience. We got him at the mall, an adorable and utterly spastic cocker spaniel. A year later, after two biting incidents, Dudley went to the Humane Society.
Dudley was named after my favorite ice cream parlor in Erie, PA.
Dr. Sis was a bit of a roamer before she went to chiropractic college and then settled in North Carolina. I forget if she got Buddy in Myrtle Beach or in Florida. Nonetheless, she called with reports of inheriting a Boston terrier from friends who were leaving the area and couldn’t take him with them. I believe he started life as “Peanut”, but was soon renamed Buddy.
If you have ever known a Boston terrier, you know what they are like: enthusiastic, small, friendly. They think they are the biggest dogs on the block. They want to lick everything. They refuse to heel. They snort when they are awake, and snore when they sleep. They are so ugly they are cute — they look like they ran face-first into a shovel.
Buddy was good for my sister. He was the first “grand”mammal — I think she got him before Dan and I were even dating let alone married. But Buddy was still very much part of the family when my own children were born. He was well-loved and well-walked on family vacations, that’s for sure!
Buddy was the ring-bearer in my sister’s wedding, and then made one more trip to the family vacation at Seven Springs. My sister nursed him as much as she was able. He had a good life, full of love. I think he was 17 when we finally had to say goodbye.
Fortunately, my sister had gotten Buddy a Boston terrier buddy — Roxy, who was even more lick-y, enthusiastic, and friendly. So while Buddy can never be replaced, we have a good breed in our lives.
The Camping Dogs
We take trips to the woods a couple of times a year. In among all of our friends and our friends’ children, there are dogs: Grace, Ruby (RIP), and Otis. Grace is a mutt, friendly and a shameless beggar of treats. Ruby was the sweetest, most affectionate Doberman pincher I had ever met in my life, and she is missed. Otis is a Labradoodle, and he’s very much like a muppet come to life. I think Kate is in love with him.
Finn and Charlie
Finn and Charlie are our neighbor dogs. Charlie is a Jack Russell terrier mix, and the elder gentleman of the house. Finn is a big, giant golden retriever, and he is Kate’s only match in terms of outgoing personality.
These are the dogs in my life, past and present. Someday, there will be a future dog. But I’m not scooping its poop.