The Senate has reached the mid-point of Trump’s impeachment trial, the point where it’ll become obvious even to the dimmest bulbs that no Republican has any intention of convicting him, and I say it’s dog content time.

When Mister B and I came back from our walk this morning, Maxie was sunning herself on the patio bricks. She let out an aroo by way of welcoming us home. It’s her happy sound, or so I like to think. The only times I ever hear her make it is when she’s saying hello or announcing that it’s dinnertime. She never says aroo when it’s time for a bath.

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Maxie

Maxie’s little aroo is the closest any of our dachshunds come to howling. There are plenty of howling doxies on YouTube, so I know they do it (little wolves, every one of them), but not ours. Schatzi, our first doxie (and the one we raised from a puppy) didn’t even learn to bark until she was around six months old and had a palo verde beetle the size of her head cornered on the back patio. We could hear her making chuffing sounds in her throat, and a week later she let out her first full-fledged bark when a coyote sauntered past the family room window. I miss Schatzi every single day … she’ll always be my girl.

Schatzi getting a treat

Mister B is a great one for barking, and he has a nice deep one … except when it’s shrill, as it gets when he sees other doggies walking on his street. He’s the most vocal of the lot, the only one of our dogs to keep up a constant stream of chatter. It sounds like whining, but we know he’s talking. Where’s dad? Can I have a bite? Are we going in the car? Are we there yet? When he really wants to say something, though, like for example when he wants me to throw the ball he just laid down at my feet, he barks.

Mister B, reluctantly posing

People use the phrase “rescue dog” too freely. We bought Shatzi from a breeder and raised her, but the other two, Maxie and Mister B, came to us as older dogs. Friends pat us on the back for rescuing them, but it’s not like we found them starving in some back alley. Maxie lived with a friend’s daughter, a young woman starting out on her own, at that stage where one bounces from apartment to apartment. She simply couldn’t keep Maxie any longer, and bequeathed her to us. Mister B was raised in a loving home, but his human, a widow, died when he was nine. Donna and I heard about this senior dog through a friend who knows the lady who runs the dachshund rescue charity in town, and that’s how we hooked up with him. We wanted them both and never thought of them as rescues … but at the same time I’m glad we were there to take them in when they needed new homes.

Donna & Duke in Sacramento

This is an old photo of Donna with our first dog, a coyote/collie mix named Duke, probably taken in 1969 or 70 when we lived in Sacramento, California. Duke’s previous owner kept him locked in an outdoor chicken-wire cage; at any rate he was locked up in one and furiously barking when we showed up to see about adopting him. I remember he was around two years old when we took him in. He was terrified of cars and would hunker down shivering in the footwell whenever we took him anywhere. One day I pulled a broom out of the closet to sweep up some cereal I’d spilled and he ran screaming to the other end of the house, where he cowered under the bed, so I’m pretty sure his first owner beat him. When it comes to Duke, I think rescue is the right word. He got over his fear of cars, and I learned not to use the broom around him, and he was a very good boy. We passed him on to a hippie friend when we left Sacramento for Montana and my first teaching job. Dukers was six then, with many years left to live. We hope he had a great life.

It gets my back up when people say dogs don’t have souls. If we have souls, so do they. When people talk about smartness in dogs, I have the same reaction. It’s irrelevant. Dogs are as smart as they need to be, and far smarter than most of us realize. I could happily spend the rest of my life with dogs. They’re better company than most people, and for one thing I’d be free of Facebook and Twitter. Well, maybe not Twitter, because when the news is shitty, as it is now, people post photos of their dogs.

© 2020, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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3 thoughts on “Dog Content

  • Our first dog, Buster, came to us from a feed store. The last of the litter and the proprietor asked me if I wanted the dog. (My son was playing with him.) I politely declined, he said he would be free. My reply was “Sure, then the collar, leash, bowl, food and initial shots. Hardly free.” A minute later the fella shows up with a cart with the collar, leash, bowls, sack of feed, bed, and the paperwork from the vet who had initially seen to the litter telling me he’d arrange for the rest of the shots. Terri was about to kill me when we came home with him but fortunately, Buster found his way into her heart in a matter of minutes. The vet said the dame was a German Wire Haired Terrier, and they thought the Sire was a Scotty who could dig under the fence. Turned into the ugliest dog you’d ever see but he was so ugly he was cute. He learned to bark at the quarantine facility in Hawaii when we transferred there in ’90. Very well behaved until he got on the scent of a game bird and then he was off. There were so many mornings camping we’d wake up and there were a handful of grouse he had ‘collected’ overnight. My biggest fear was his antics would be observed by a conservation officer and I’d be hit with a big fine. Fortunately he remained under their radar.

    Shakespeare was a Saint Bernard. The runt of the litter, the breeder was going to put him down but we agreed to take him (for half price) and he had 10 good years with us. Being the runt, he was small, the size of a mature female Saint, peaking around 185lbs. He was a good dog, but when he got excited, he could bring an first timer to their knees. His tail was long, heavy, and just below belt height. When he wagged, woe be it to the uninitiated man nearby! He never jumped up and wasn’t allowed on the furniture, but if you were to sit on the floor, it was interpreted as an invitation to join you on your lap. He could lick your entire face with a single swipe of that big tongue.
    Our son had a pet bunny. She came home a few weeks before Shakespeare and they grew up together. It was so funny to watch them play, he’d scoop her up gently and set her on the couch, closer to eye level, and lick her. On cold nights, she’d climb up on top of him and find a warm spot to curl up. This led to his assumption that any small, furry critter was a friend to pick up and play with. The rabbits in the woods adjoining our yard were terrified but they’d still venture into the garden. He’d scoop them up after an amazing chase and set them on the picnic table. They would quiver, petrified, until he’d lose interest. And on his last trip to Pets Mart, there was this miniature Yorkie who had just had her hair and nails done. Her owner shrieked in terror as she saw the rhinestone studded leash disappearing beneath his jowls. He set the dog down on a stack of dog food, licked her and they played while the owner howled. (we made a quick exit before she tried to hit me up for a new coiffure.
    He made it to 10 which is OLD for a Saint.

    I’d get another dog but we travel a lot and I wouldn’t feel right about leaving the dog in the RV (with the AC running) for extended periods. Perhaps when we come off the road. A Basset named Beauregard!

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