Thoughts about puppy love

Sixteen year old Rufus crossed the Rainbow Bridge last week validating the belief that our pets are indeed special. (Photo by Glynn Harris)

“Puppy Love is an informal term for feelings of love often felt during childhood and adolescence. It is named for its resemblance to the adoring, worshipful affection that may be felt by a puppy.” (Copied)

I have been on the receiving end of such love for much of my life as a child, teenager and as an adult.

I recall pups with names like Tippy and Rusty but years have erased most of those memories except I remember what faithful companions they were as they trailed along behind me on ventures to the woods, stopping to investigate a toad or a lizard.

The first vivid memory of a pup involved a bob-tailed pooch named Jody. He wasn’t supposed to have his tail whacked off. That was reserved for breeds like cocker spaniels which we thought Jody was until we learned his mom, a registered cocker, had a fling with a mixed breed mongrel down the street. It was only after he was ours that we knew without a doubt he was only half cocker spaniel. The other half was heaven knows what.

Jody had the makings of a good squirrel dog and was just beginning to tree squirrels when he decided to cross the road in front of a car. The Buick won.

Then there was Bambi, a little bitty doe colored Chihuahua. When Kay and I married, her nine year old daughter, Melissa, was excited to have a pup included in the deal. Bambi grew old, became weak and frail and we had to make the decision no one wants to make. We loved her too much to see her suffer so we did what we had to do. She was no longer in pain but ours was real.

Next to come to our home to live was Trixie. Her arrival was accompanied with a strange set of circumstances. My wife, Kay, was working in an office down town when someone brought in a matted and dirty little pup that was found wandering the streets and was in dire danger of being run over. Kay’s compassion took over and she brought the little dog home. We cleaned her up, took her to our vet to have her checked out. It was only then that we learned she was a poodle.

We named her Trixie because she told us her name. Not really but as we called out various dog’s names to her, every time we said “Trixie” her ears perked up so someone had named her that or something similar. Trixie it was.

There was not a sweeter little dog in the world than Trixie. For the 10 years or so that we had her, she was warm and cuddly and loving, obviously appreciative of being rescued. Just like Bambi, age and ailments eventually rendered her existence miserable. Once again, we had to make a difficult but necessary decision to ease her pain and misery. Gosh, that hurt to have to do that but we loved her too much to do otherwise.

We waited a year or so before thinking about bringing another puppy into our lives. An ad in the paper described a little Papillion at a kennel and when we arrived, it was love at first sight. There was a tiny fur ball we had to have so we paid the lady, bundled him in a blanket my wife had purchased and brought him home and named him Rufus. Before leaving the kennel, I rubbed the blanket on his mom, placed it in the crate we had for him and when he sniffed his mom’s scent, a little tail began wagging and his whole life, that blanket became his surrogate mom.

For 16 years, 8 months and five days, he was a vital part of our family, vital to the extent that we spoiled him. Early mornings he had to have a particular treat and at 5:00 in the afternoon, it was his snack bone followed by his daily ride to the park. He was virtually the little boy we never had and we spoiled him rotten.

Over this past year, he began gradually losing his eyesight and hearing and spent most of the day sleeping. Then last week, more serious problems occurred, difficulty in breathing, he was increasingly in distress and once again we knew we had to make that dreaded decision.

Just before the lethal dose sent him over the Rainbow Bridge, he reached over and licked my hand and my eyes are getting wet as I write this. Kay and I take comfort in believing that today, he’s free of pain and romping the fields of Heaven with Bambi and Trixie.

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