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Monday, July 10, 2017

Pets and things

I have had three pets that have been meaningful in my life. There were a couple other dogs in between but they didn't last long for one reason or another…

The first dog we ever had was named Morky. He was a cross between everything, a mutt. His mother was a dachshund terrier and his father was a poodle spaniel. Or maybe that was the other way around. Anyway, he was unique. He was kind of a lap dog.

We had him when we were still living in town and brought him to the country when we moved. Morky and I were pretty inseparable. Wherever I went, he went. When my parents couldn't find me they would yell for the dog and the dog would give my whereabouts away. I remember him being quite feisty also. He protected me on many occasions from scary neighborhood dogs and older douche canoe kids.

Morky only lasted a short while out at the farm. He got along with the other dog and cats. But the one thing he did not get along with was the school bus. That school bus got a lot of our pets and was the demise of Morky one afternoon after we got dropped off.

There were quite a few years between Morky and our next permanent dog. There were two or three other dogs in between that didn't turn out. They somehow miraculously disappeared…

I got a chocolate lab when I was a senior in high school from a cousin whose labs had a litter. I believe the whole litter was either given to family or friends around Enderlin. When I first saw my lab I knew right away I was going to call him Lloyd Christmas. If you don't know, that is the main character in Dumb & Dumber. Have you ever named a pet after someone and later realized that animal has morphed in to that character? I am not saying he was dumb, I'm just saying he was not Lassie.

Lloyd was a big clumsy yet agile brute of a dog. He was around 100 pounds and for some reason he still thought he could sit on your lap like was a puppy. His paws were like a Clydesdale's and he was as graceful as an ox. He would also eat anything. One time he ate an entire frozen ring of deer sausage. Another time he swallowed a plastic plate filled with shrimp mousse that had cellophane wrapped around it. Neither of those things seemed to bother him either. He had an iron stomach.

The first time we took Lloyd to West Silent Lake, he spotted some loons as soon as we got to the cabin. He took off down the steps and jumped off the end of the dock only to realize he could not touch. You see he was used to the sloughs around our farmstead where he could touch and breathe. I didn't think a dog could drown but he tried to. Good thing my brother-in-law was there to save him. It was quite the scene watching a 100 pound lab doggie paddle on top of his rescuers head. They finally made it to shore and after a couple hours he figured out how to swim. Then he started swimming after the loons. Never did catch one though. I believe that was the last time we took him to the lake.

He was also tough. I remember getting ready for school and I heard my dad take off with the pickup out to the field. Pretty soon I heard the pickup back in the yard and dad said that Lloyd had gotten run over. Lloyd not only got ran over by the pickup but also by the anhydrous tank trailer that was getting pulled behind. They are not light. The only injuries he suffered were a collapsed lung and a broken tail. Within a week he was back to his old self. Well except for half of his tail. It had to get docked.

I think I had him for about six years. Every once in a while he would take off to the neighbors a couple miles to the West. They had a lab that always seemed to be in heat. It didn't matter the time of year. And evidently Lloyd was twitterpated with her scent. One of the times he left the yard and he did not come back. Do not know what happened to him. Could've been coyotes or maybe just got ran over. Anyway, there will never be another Lloyd. He was one-of-a-kind.

That brings us to my current dog, Otis the Beagle. I got him in 2008. A cousin of mine had a friend who was moving and could not bring Otis with. So my cousin knew that I had always wanted a Beagle and delivered him to me from Bismarck.

Beagles are very loyal and notoriously stubborn. They can have quite the attitude. Otis is no exception. He is sometimes an asshole. But he is cute so he gets away with it. He pretty much had the run of the house for the first few years. He would sleep wherever he wanted. It was usually with me. This got cut short a couple years ago when his back got hurt from jumping off too many high objects.

When I am outside, I am usually with Otis. I came up with an apparatus where he can be attached to my chair without getting wound up by a leash. We go everywhere together whether it's chasing vermin around the yard, checking the shelter belts for deer sign or scouting deer down the driveways. He has quite the nose. When he gets on a scent, his head stays down until he finds the source. It is a struggle to get him away from sniffing. I swear one of these times he is going to pull my chair over.

We have lost him a couple times or I should say he has gotten away from us a couple times but there is always an easy way to find a Beagle. Just wait for him to start baying. It usually doesn't take long before he has treed something or cornered something and that is when the noise starts. There aren't too many sounds like a baying Beagle.

When Otis is gone I don't know if I will ever get another dog. But I've said that before. There's just something about having a dog around that makes life better.

On second thought, I would get another lab…

Thanks for reading, Clint.

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