|Left to Right: Andy & Lakota|
For dogs, our house must have seemed like ‘doggy heaven’. Once Princess and Father came on the scene, it seemed like a steady stream of dogs appeared at our home. Some were curious passersby who went to the edge of our yard but didn’t show much interest in hanging around. Then there were others who were usurpers trying to challenge Father’s claim to our yard. I’ve previously described in detail of male dogs who bucked up against Father only to be smacked into submission and sent on their way with their tails tucked between their legs.
There were other dogs who I categorize as Father’s ‘concubines’. Father had the good life after he joined our household. He had free meals, free boarding, free medical coverage, and most importantly as far as his namesake is concerned, a steady stream of female dogs that found their way to our house when they were in heat. I did worry about the female visitors because I didn’t know how they would react to Abby’s presence. I worried that they would view Abby as a competitor, but luckily, there was never an incident between Father’s girlfriends and Abby.
One time, a female and her puppy visited our yard. The female was a red chow and her puppy was a fluffy, jet black little fur ball. My god was that puppy so cute. So cute in fact that I went outside the fence where they were and picked up, hugged and petted the puppy. The mom surprisingly didn’t seem upset that I was handling her baby. The puppy was an absolute doll. I’m fairly certain this puppy was Father’s. (For the sake of good taste, I’ll leave out the specifics.) This puppy was about the way I imagined Father looked like when he was a puppy. That puppy was so cute that I wanted to keep it as my own. However, Abby, who was on the other side of the fence, was agitated and quite upset. Her jealousy induced crying and whining made me realize that Abby would not like a new addition to our household, so I put the puppy on the ground. It ran into the nearby woods where its mom was, and they ran off and we never saw them again.
One stray arrived at our house with the hope of sticking around. I barely remember what it looked like, but it was a mixed breed with brown hair. At the time, I was living at my condo and wasn’t willing to adopt it. I had been burdened with thousands of dollars in vet bills the previous few years, and because there were ominous signs our company was going to have a massive lay-off in the next year, I had to go into ‘miser mode’ and watch every penny I had. My mom too needed to watch her budget, so she too couldn’t afford another pet. Realizing what fate lay ahead of this dog, it saddened us to call animal control. The animal control officer arrived at our house shortly after, put a collar around the dog which made it yelp and escorted the dog away. It was sad, but we were burdened with a lot as it was and couldn’t afford to take in a new dog.
Another interloper was a Siberian Husky named Lakota who lived in a house behind ours. The home was a ‘starter home’ in a development built in the late 80’s or early 90’s and so was relatively new compared to our house which was built in the early 50’s. Lakota ran free in her owner’s fenced-in backyard and often stood at her fence gazing at me and the babies running around the backyard playing and having fun. She longed to be with us in our games, and I could hear her whine and cry at her desire to be with us. Apparently, she paid close attention to Father’s going in and out of the fence because one day, Lakota escaped from her fence and snuck into our fence. Andy was still a puppy at the time. What triggered this memory is an old photo of Andy sitting beside Lakota by the pool filter. The dog looked like a wolf and had quite an intimidating appearance. My old fears of big dogs resurfaced, but I quickly found out Lakota was a sweetheart who was lonely and wanted to play with me and the babies. Looking back, I am surprised Father didn’t attack the trespasser, but he may have given her a pass since she was a female.
We immediately recognized Lakota as our neighbor’s dog. My mom called the phone number on the dog’s tag and told the neighbors where their dog was. I wish that is where the story ended with Lakota, but it doesn’t. The owners, a young couple, spoke to my mom a while when they came to our house to retrieve their dog. Eventually the conversation turned on the subject of my playing with the dogs. The neighbors spoke of how funny and entertaining it was when I ran around the pool teasing and playing with Abby. In particular, they thought my game of ‘cooky-coo’ (they didn’t call it that) where I climbed to the top of the slide, heckled and teased Abby followed by screaming at the top of my lungs ‘Coo Coo’ and jumping into the pool was hysterical. This game always drove Abby nuts and led her to whine and cry. The neighbors said they would go to their patio deck in their backyard, sit back and watch the show and said they even made it a point to do so when they saw the game in progress.
I’m glad I wasn’t a witness to that conversation. Just hearing about it was embarrassing enough. Here was a fully grown man running and screaming around his pool with his dog. These people must have thought I was a ‘special needs’ person or something. However, it wasn’t embarrassing enough for me to stop playing the game. The show must go on!