Sunday, October 16, 2005

Favorite pet

Did any of you readers not have a favorite pet, at some time in your life?

Peg, better known as Schnoodlepooh over on her blog which she calls “Jack,” tells a heartbreaking story of her little dog named Bijou and how he met his demise one year ago today.

She then relates the guilt she has felt ever since for not being aware of the hazard and correcting it. (It wasn’t her fault. It was one of those crazy, freak things. You’ll have to read the story to understand.)

Her story reminded me of (and I commented on her blog briefly about) a favorite pet of mine and Carol’s who also suffered an untimely and awful death.

His name was Marshmallow. He was an English bulldog who looked ferocious, but who, like his name, was soft and sweet on the inside.

He never met a person he didn’t like. His tail was docked, but he would wiggle that little stub so hard his whole hind end would wag, trying to show how much he liked you and how much he wanted you to like him. Unfortunately, if you didn’t know him and saw him coming, you would probably (like most people did) cower or run away in fear.

We saw some folks actually try to climb a fence to avoid him. Yeah, he was ugly. So ugly he was cute!

He was the smartest pet I’ve ever had or been around. You talk about an animal with a huge vocabulary! We could tell him to “go to the kitchen,” and he would hang his head and look at us with pleading eyes. The kitchen, you see, as where we would banish him if he happened to be producing his typical malodorous gas. The kitchen was also the place we would send him at bed time.

When we would affirm the banishment with a stern, “Go on!” he would slowly get up and trudge out of whatever room he was in. When he left the carpeted area we could hear his toenails scrape across the tile floor of the kitchen to his spot near the refrigerator. A bit later he would reappear, wagging his way back into our good graces.

He is the only dog I’ve ever seen who would eat banana. Not only would he eat it, he craved it. If he heard a banana being peeled in another room he would race in, plop down in front of whoever was peeling it, and look up with yearning! He got to the point that if we mentioned the word “banana,” he would expect to eat some.

We had another dog at that time who thought he should get some of whatever Marshmallow got. When Marshmallow was getting a piece of banana, Hurricane thought he ought to be getting some too. We would dutifully give him a small piece, which he would snatch from our hand, mouth a bit, and then gently deposit on the floor. At once Marshmallow would gently pick it up and gulp it down.

Marshmallow, unlike many dogs, hated to be wet. Like a cat, he would shake his feet if he stepped in a puddle. If we happened to mention the word “bath” in his presence, he would quickly slink off and hide under a table, desk or chair. When we actually gave him a bath he would tremble the whole time, but loved it when we would rub him all over with towels.

I could go on and on with stories about this dog, but I need to tell you of his ending.

We let him out in the back yard one evening as we often did so he could do his business. There had never been a problem. An hour or two later (after dark) we called him but he didn’t come. This was unusual, so we searched.

I found him in our backyard swimming pool, drowned. We’ll never know how he fell in. He wouldn’t have gone in voluntarily with his loathing of being wet. The poor guy was so solid and heavy that it was a tremendous struggle for him to keep his heavy head above water. We know he had to have been terrified.

Well, I cried. Carol cried. Joy and Amy (our daughters) cried. In fact, we wailed!

This was at least 15 years ago, but to this day whenever we see a real (or even a picture of an) English bulldog, Carol will always smile and say, “Awwww, bulldawwwg!”

Sorry. I don’t usually do sad posts.

Blame Peg!

1 comment:

kenju said...

A sad end to what was undoubtedly a sweet dog. Our last dog almost met a similar fate. We put her out in the back yard one night in November, and she didn't come back to the door as usual. We went out back to look for her and she was in 6-8" of water, lying on top of our pool cover. She was too small to pull herself up and over the side of the pool, so if we had not found her, she would have drowned or frozen to death. Now you have two sad stories.