If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life. ~Roger Caras
I lost my dog, Dub, last year before Christmas. He was a very good dog. A chocolate lab registered by his first owners as Coffee W. Crutcher. Those owners got more dog than they bargained for with a lab puppy and he soon found himself chained to a dog house in their yard. Enter my friend, Carolyn. A dog lover like me. A very tender-hearted dog lover. She sees the lab and imagines his life of confinement and offers to take the dog from the owners. They agreed and Coffee W. Crutcher began the next chapter of his life.
Carolyn took him to the vet, did all the necessary things to keep him healthy, loved him, but she lived in town and had a small, unfenced yard. He had too much dog energy for that small space. Enter my wide open farm and the fact that I was down to only one dog. So it was great timing. Coffee W. Crutcher came to live with us here on the farm along with his registration papers, his dog house, his dog dish and his extra heavy duty dog chain and leash.
So, Coffee W. Crutcher began another new chapter in his life and found a permanent home. He was a dog with energy. The first time I tried to take him for a walk on his leash, just as a training exercise, I ended up being dragged through a briar patch. Next walk we used a choke collar. He was a strong dog and just a little hard-headed. So much so that yelling Coffee didn’t penetrate his ears. He didn’t even so much as turn his head to see if there was any possibility I might mean him. Crutcher didn’t work either, but Dub – short for W – that he could hear. So this beautiful chocolate lab with the very distinctive name became my dog, Dub.
Well, as much as he ever became anybody’s dog. He was always an independent soul. He liked me. Walked with me every day. At times he’d sit down and patiently wait for me as he’s doing in the picture above. He liked going swimming and rarely passed up the opportunity to take a dip in a pond or creek or plop down in a mud puddle. He was a retriever who would not fetch. If I threw a stick or ball, he’d just look at me as if to say, you threw it; you go get it. He had a good appetite. Ate his dog food and supplemented his calorie intake by killing the occasional unlucky rabbit or squirrel. Once some wild ducks hatched out around our pond. Dub waited until the ducks were about half grown before he swam out and “retrieved” one of them as a tasty snack. Then he went out and got the others, one by one. Not a good place for ducks on Dub’s pond.
Other dogs loved him. My yard became the gathering place for all the neighbor dogs. They came to lay beside Dub. Or on top Dub. They loved Dub. He’d been to the vet to be neutered before he came to live here on the farm, but the surgery must not have been a complete success. He didn’t go chasing after the female dogs, but they came to our yard after him. When that happened, he couldn’t resist the siren call. I put him up when I knew what was happening, but sometimes he was gone before I knew the girls had come after him. I never knew for sure if any of the pups were his because there were other male dogs around, but one time when there was an American Staffordshire in the neighborhood, I was pretty sure that the one pup she had was Dub’s. She wouldn’t entertain attentions from any of the other dogs. Another time he went off with a different neighborhood flirt and ended up several miles from home next to a parkway where somebody stopped, gathered him up and turned him in to the humane shelter. It was a holiday weekend and I didn’t figure out he was gone until too late to call. He spent the weekend in doggie jail before I could find out they had him and bail him out on Monday. He was happy to be my dog that morning.
So many stories I could tell about Dub. How he developed an allergy and was tormented by itching in the spring and fall until we had to give him steroids. How he liked to go sleep on the neighbor’s porch furniture. How every bed I bought him he slept on for a few days and then attacked like it was a wild animal and spread filling all over the yard. How when he was beginning to get old and tired, he’d go to the middle of the field where he could watch me walking to lie down and wait for me to come back around. How he had to wear one of those collars after he had surgery on his ear. How if he thought he was going to the vet, he just came to the car and climbed right in. Never tried to get in the car any other time. How he was a very good dog.
In December, he got very sick. I knew he was dying and went out to the garage to check on him on a morning in December thinking I’d have to take him to the vet for that final trip. He wasn’t there. He wasn’t anywhere. I walked miles on the farm looking for him in every fence row, under every cedar bush, and under buildings and everywhere I could think of. He wasn’t anywhere. I was about to decide he’d walked on up to heaven, but then a few days later, the neighbor came over to report he’d found him next to his pond. I should have walked his field instead of mine. So now Dub’s buried out by the gate we passed through so often on our walks. You want to outlive your dogs because dogs are only here a short time. But at the same time you remember every one them. Good dogs all. And Dub was a good dog who had a good life here on the farm.
Have you known some good dogs in your life?
A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, big or small, young or old. He doesn’t care if you’re not smart, not popular, not a good joke-teller, not the best athlete, nor the best-looking person. To your dog, you are the greatest, the smartest, the nicest human being who was ever born. You are his friend and protector. ~ Louis Saban
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