Sunday, January 17, 2010

Down memory lane.

We've owned a number of dogs over the years. These two are Duffy, sitting proudly, in the tub and Sophie, embarrassed, for Duffy since he wasn't bright enough to be embarrassed.

Sarah was our first dog/child. We brought her from Boston, with us out to the wilds of Wisconsin.

Duffy came after Sarah. I took Zeus and the little Zeus boys to a farm that had advertised puppies for sale. Parents and grandparents on site. Apparently, Duffy was part everything as far as I could see. The boys played with the puppies and we settled on an adorable female only to see Zeus coming around the corner holding a puppy and declaring he had found McDuff.
The boys didn't care. I cringed thinking about leg lifting on my new bushes and plants.

McDuff went home with us.

I once watched a show on PBS about sheep herders and their dogs. There is the super efficient herder dog that understands strange commands and clicks and whistles and rounds up sheep as if it's life depended on it. And, then there is the dog that lies in the middle of the herd, at night, protecting the sheep or sleeping, hard to tell.

Duffy was the herd protector. He had a beautiful long Collie like coat, loved to play, loved to sleep and seemed not to have enough teeth in his mouth. The boys called him, Mr. 50% because he seldom could get a decent drink of water without spilling half of it out of his mouth.
He thought my youngest son resembled a sheep and was forever herding him through a room by nipping at his heels.

I would have Duffy shaved, in the summer, much to the disgust of the males of my household.
That long coat was not only hot, snagged every seed pod in the vicinity and was a wonderful hiding place for ticks.

Duffy loved being shaved. He pranced around as if he had won the lottery.

When Duffy was three years old I thought it was a good time to bring another dog into the household. My reasoning, at the time, was that the older dog would train the younger dog.
I know, I can hear dog owners giggling through cyberspace.

Sophie came from the Humane Society. A red head of questionable lineage. I was told she was part German Shepherd. From her no nonsense attitude toward everything, that could have been true.

Duffy found her amusing. We would walk along a country road and he would suddenly dive into the cornfield next to the road. Sophie, just a puppy would of course follow. Within seconds Duffy would reappear on the road, quite pleased with himself. "Problem solved, I got rid of her."

The boys would then have to comb the through the cornfield looking for Sophie.

We lived near a lake and often would take the dogs down for a swim. Duffy loved water, loved bringing back thrown sticks. Sophie, on the other hand would not go in the water but waited patiently on the shore for Duffy to get close and then rip the stick out of his mouth and bring it to us. I don't ever remember Duffy getting upset with this behavior, in his mind it's just how the game was played.

If he forgot about getting the stick or just wanted to swim, Sophie would bitch, sorry, bark from the shoreline, at him. STAY FOCUSED I'm sure is what she was telling him. She seemed to find a lot of his behavior embarrassing for dogs, in general.

As Sophie got older she found more things that Duffy did, to complain/bark about. Like an ill matched arranged marriage they spent their years together irritating one another.

Like small children can seem to see things that we can't see and talk to people that we can't see, my puppy, Murphy seems to do the same behavior as these children. Some would say, he barks at dead dogs.

I will often find Murphy, stopped in the hall, head tilted up, looking at what would be the perfect height of a muzzle and listening. Then he might give a sharp bark or continue on with whatever he was doing.

Frankly, it makes me smile to think that our dead dogs might be wandering around our life. Murphy often seems pleased, tail wagging to see what I think are the other male dogs we have owned, Sam and Duffy.

Repeated barking off into space when Murphy has a special bone lead me to believe he is dealing with Sophie or Hannah. Both females that felt it was their mission in life to keep everybody and everything in line. I refused to take Hannah, a German Shepherd mix, in the car, with me anymore. She chewed the seat belts when left alone, she barked at ANY car or truck that she felt was too close to our car, which meant I dreaded traffic light stops.

Hannah followed Sophie in the doggy lineup. Sam, followed Hannah. All dogs from the Humane Society. All dogs with their own personalities, issues and baggage. All loved for the love they gave us.

Right now, as I type, I can hear Murphy muttering and barking at something, in the hallway.
I know it's not the cats because they are in here with me. The house is empty of people except myself. Perhaps it's Sophie trying to take his bone away or Hannah just being bossy.

Or maybe it's just Murphy with his own set of issues. As far as I am concerned my dog sees dead dogs. It works for me.


  1. At present we don't have a pet of any kind. I can hardly believe that myself. We have always had animals of all kinds, living out in the country most of the time. I am really wanting a little dog, have been thinking of getting one for awhile now. Reading this makes me REALLY want one. :) They are such good company.

  2. Murphy is just the right size for us. I know John would love another big dog but it's just too much to train, run after, feed, clean up after, etc.
    Murphy is a Teddybear. It's a mixed breed and he doesn't have fur but hair which means he has to be groomed but at this time in my life I can afford to have that done.
    He's smart, cuddly, sits on my lap, sleeps with me, against my back. He's my little protector.