When you grew up in the country as I did, dogs were as much a part of life as the chickens that pecked around your yard, the milk cow chewing a cud in the pasture and the pig in the pen waiting for the weather to get cool enough to be converted into hams, bacon and sausage.
I mention this because we just became foster parents to a tiny puppy. More about that later.
Some of the dogs I remember living in and around the Harris household back then were Tippy, Rusty, Boots and Bitsy. Maybe there were others but time has erased their memories.
After leaving home, graduating from college and starting a family of my own, dogs have been a part of my life.
The first one I recall was, Jody, a little half Cocker Spaniel. Instead of being a pure-blooded Cocker, the mom apparently met up with a mongrel down the street. Before his pedigree was determined, we even had his tail docked like his mom. Even though he turned out not to be a full-fledged Cocker, we loved that little guy and were devastated when, out chasing a girlfriend down the road, he crossed ahead of a car and the Buick won.
Then there was Bambi, a little fawn-colored Chihuahua. She was a tiny little bundle we loved until her old age meant we had to have her put to sleep. I’ve had to do that with others that followed but Bambi was the first and it hurt the most.
Trixie was next and she came to us in a most unusual manner. Kay, my wife, was working downtown when someone came by her office holding a bedraggled little white pup she found wandering the street, a dog she couldn’t keep. Kay brought it home, we took her to the vet to get her cleaned up and learned she was a full-blooded poodle about two years old.
She came to us with no name and we tried calling her by several names to see if she would respond. When we said “Trixie,” she perked up so we assumed her former owner we never knew had named her that or something similar. We put a notice in the paper about finding her but never got a response, so Trixie enjoyed a full life with us until we had to do for her what we did for Bambi.
Then there was Rufus. We had started scanning the ad section of the paper for puppies available for adoption and located one, a Papillion, that caught our attention. It was love at first sight and we brought little Rufus home with us. He enjoyed a charmed life for over 16 years.
It was one of the saddest days ever when our good boy that had grown deaf, nearly blind and developed serious health issues had to be put to sleep over a year and a half ago. Kay and I decided that maybe our lives with dogs as companions was over; it hurt too much to have to part with those little fellows we had loved so much.
A lot can change in a year and a half. We finally came to the conclusion that after memories of Bambi, Trixie and Rufus had faded, our home was missing something we had enjoyed for years. We decided we needed to get another pup to fill the void and began praying for divine direction to be sure we were making the right decision.
It was almost by accident that we discovered a source that would soon be having puppies available for adoption. The sire was a long-haired Chihuahua and the dam a registered Yorkie. We put our name on the list for one of the puppies.
Easter Sunday afternoon, we brought our little eight-week-old Chorkie home, all two pounds of her and gave her a name, Coco, that seemed just right for her.
It feels good and right to be back in the puppy business again.