I have owned many different dogs over the years. Each one was special and different in their own way. All of them have made my life richer from the experience of knowing and loving them.
One of my favorite dogs growing up was named Ladybird. She was a mid-sized mutt mixture of Spaniel, Collie and Terrier. We got her as a puppy in the 60′s. My father named her Ladybird after the First Lady, Ladybird Johnson. We called the dog “The Bird” for short. I remember hearing our gardner mumble to himself about how crazy we were to have named our dog…”The Bird.” Then I over heard him say, “Just wait, the next thing you know, they’ll be calling their cat, “The Dog!”
The Bird was quite the actress. In the winter months when she wanted to come inside, she would jump up on a table outside our kitchen window and dramatically shake and shiver in the cold (remember this was Phoenix, it never really got that cold). But it always worked, and she got her way until she tried the same dramatic routine in the scorching 118 degree heat. She never could understand why it didn’t work in the summer. The Bird loved to play ball with my Dad. They had a very special bond and Ladybird remarkably lived for eighteen years.
During my college years, my sister Karen and I once owned a blonde-haired, black masked Afghan Hound beauty named Cybil. We got her as a puppy. She was small once, for about two weeks. Cybil did not know that she was a dog. She thought she was a cow. Cybil was not the smartest card in the deck. She loved cows and insisted on playing with them every morning before we went to class (our apartment was next to a cow pasture near the University of AZ). We were not allowed to have a large dog in our small rental, so Karen and I had to sneak Cybil in and out. Somehow we never got caught. Karen decided to train Cybil to ring a string of bells attached to the front door when she had to go out. The problem was, Cybil would ring those bells at 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning, every morning! Sleep deprived and not doing too well in class, we pawned Cybil off on our parents who were less than thrilled.
On the day of Cybil’s final departure, my sister and I put her in the passenger seat of our convertible. A group of young college boys were driving behind us and thought that there were two blondes and a brunette in the car. When they pulled up beside us to get a good look, Cybil turned to them and yawned. They were mortified.
We now have our Golden Retriever, Zari. As much as The Bird loved the ball, it is nothing compared to Miss Zari. She won’t leave me alone. She is relentless. The more I throw the ball, the more she begs for more. If I hide it, she finds it. If I don’t throw it, she barks until I do. If I even attempt to ignore her, she will deliberately roll the ball under the bed and bark until I RETRIEVE it! That dog has got me well trained! She will not go anywhere without a ball in her mouth. It has become her addiction, her doggie pacifier. In the morning, I am greeted with a drooling wet ball dropped onto my face between my eyes. That’s one wet wake up call.
I know, I know I shouldn’t let Zari get away with it, but those eyes of hers. Those beautiful deep brown eyes always get to me and I melt. Sam says I’m not strict enough with her, that’s my problem. It is a problem, but how can you get angry with a dog that grins!!