Today is National Dog Day.
It made me remember the dogs in my life.
I was raised with my grandmother’s four Pekineses, and that made me one of the pack.
When we moved away, my mother bought a French poodle we named Jolie, whom we adored. He was a mass of brown curls with brown eyes and a pink tongue.
As I got older and we had grass we had a Collie and then a Doberman.
When I got married we had a succession of cats. Pretzels, the stray. Eternity, the Siamese mix, and Zoe, the Russian Blue. Pretzels died of cancer. Zoe walked out one day and moved into another couple’s home. Eternity stuck with us through a cross-country move, the birth of two children, and neighborhood feline bullies.
When our son was twelve, he wanted a dog. We told him he’d have to research the breed and give a report describing why he had chosen that particular one. To help him we took him to a dog show. He fell in love with the beagles. We chatted with the breeders and decided the handsomest dogs came from a breeder in Napa. Who wouldn’t want a beagle from wine country? And so Calvin came into our lives and changed us forever.
He flunked training school. We attempted off-leash episodes only to regret it when he caught the whiff of a scent. He loved to eat. He’d bay at police sirens. He’d get fox tails up his nose, which meant visits to the vet’s for surgery. When he developed a chronic neck problem we took him to the chiropractor for treatments.
Everybody in the neighborhood loved Calvin. He was our goodwill, fun loving, expensive ambassador.