Life is Better with a Dog Named Oscar

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, filling an emptiness we don’t even know we have. ~Thorn Jones

Some of you have been asking about how my dog, Oscar, is doing. About a month ago, one of the men working on a room remodel here at the house ran over Oscar. He was parked beside the house in the field and we don’t know if Oscar was under his truck or just running along beside him. At any rate, one of the wheels must have run over his leg and broke both bones. 

That was a bad day for me. I was sitting with Mom who was having one of her more unsettled days when I got the call from my husband reporting Oscar had been hurt. My husband was getting his eyes examined and couldn’t go home right away. I couldn’t leave Mom alone and so couldn’t go home to see about my dog friend. A couple of hours passed before my husband finally got home and reported Oscar’s leg was broken. I still couldn’t leave Mom’s, but a neighbor came over to help load Oscar in the van for a trip to the vet. They kept him in the doggie hospital and did surgery on his leg the next day. 

Dog surgery is not cheap, but Oscar is my dog. Dog lovers will understand what I mean when I say he’s my dog. He’s been my dog since my husband brought him home about four years ago. I had another dog at the time. A chocolate lab that was my dog too, but he was also an independent character who although he’d been neutered had not lost all his romantic desires. Female dogs from around the neighborhood loved Dub and came to get him from time to time to take him off to get in trouble. (Honest, it was never Dub’s fault! Or so he would have me believe.) I had to bail him out of doggie jail once and did so gladly. 

For some reason, my husband decided I needed another dog. I resisted. He went shopping on the internet for dogs. Free dogs. He would find one and then have me come look at the dog’s picture. I resisted. I had my dog, Dub. I was happy with that. But then he pulled up Oscar’s picture. Someone had dropped Oscar in Lexington near a horse farm and a young couple had given him a home. They loved him, but when spring came they were going to have to travel around in their job of training horses. So they advertised for a new home for Oscar. That was the name they gave him. For some reason his sweet face and that name broke down my resistance. A phone call or two later and my husband went to get Oscar and bring him to his new home. From the very first day, he was my dog. Sometimes it just works that way. We thought he was grown. He weighed about sixty pounds. We were very wrong. He kept growing. Now he’s over one hundred pounds – bigger even than my old dog, Dub, was. 

Dub passed on one sad summer day a little while after we got Oscar. So it turned out to be a good thing that I stopped resisting and let Oscar join our family. He’s a very good dog. He doesn’t roll in cow piles or want to drag various dead animal parts home to the yard. Dub was very good at that, but not enjoying the special aroma of those two things is an important good dog attribute out here on the farm. Just ask my neighbors, whose St. Bernard loves to decorate her neck ruff with aromatic cow piles.

Oscar is not a swimmer in spite of obviously having lab in his mix. He will wade a bit when it’s very hot. He looks ferocious when he’s barking at strangers, but if they will notice, he’s usually wagging his tail at the same time. I used to have a dog in the house, a sweet cockerspaniel. I decided Oscar with his good dog manners, would make a wonderful house dog and invited him in. He refused. He did not want to cross the threshold. In fact, he did not want to so determinedly that he sat down like a mule and wouldn’t budge. I gave up after a few tries although I continued to hold the door open now and again to invite him in. He always ran the other direction. 

But after his surgery, he was ordered kept in confinement with leash walking only for six weeks. I bought him a bed and we gently pushed him into the house when we brought him home from the doggie hospital. I had to put a trail of scatter rugs across my hardwood floor to get him to walk to the front door to go out. He still won’t venture out of the back hallway into the kitchen or living room. He does come down the hallway into my office now to keep me company when I’m working. 

For two weeks I only took him on short walks, but for the last couple of weeks, he’s been going on the full walks with me. On leash. He’s never tried to run away from me. He’s been a model dog. So what if bone shards decorate my office floor and his panting drips all over the rug after we walk. There is also Oscar, inside keeping me company. Sometimes good things come from bad. I’m not sure what will happen after he is released to run free again, but I hope he will still be willing to come inside and keep me company. A dog makes a wonderful writing friend. Especially a good dog like Oscar.

One of the most enduring friendships in history – dogs and their people, people and their dogs. ~Terry Kay

Have you had a good dog in your life?