Friday, 14 February 2014
My Dandy Brandy
By Chlele Gummer
My walking friend, Judy, will tell you that I say hi to every dog we encounter in our hour and 15 minutes walk around Spring Lake. In fact, I have to remember to smile at the owner as well.
But it's the dogs that I truly love to greet. Maybe it's my gleeful inner child that comes to fore at these times.
What fun it would be to have my own dog greet me every morning and every time I come back from being away. Fondly I remember those times years ago with my dog, Brandy. My blond poodle Maltese terrier mix was a joy to play with.
She was what I would call a true athlete as she strove to improve her sport of fetching far beyond what I could train her to do.
First it was the battle of returning the ball to me so I could throw it. I won that one as I stopped playing. So for her to fetch she learned early to drop the ball at my feet.
As time went on, she improved her game by accepting the challenges of longer and longer throws. She topped the game when she learned, on her own, to jump into the air, pull the ball out of its airborne path while running pell-mell to fetch it.
She'd do that time after time. I was amazed.
Having Maltese terrier blood in her, she had a coat of hair that didn't stop growing even as it hit the floor. She became a dust mop in a matter of weeks. So grooming was an important thing to keep me happy as well as she.
It took me awhile to learn to say the right words to the groomer. One time I was surprised to see my sweet Brandy dollied up like a poodle with her paws shaved and her nails polished. She acted differently with this gussied look, arranging her groomed paws, one over the other as she posed on the couch.
Another time, a different groomer,must have thought she was a Schnauzer as Brandy walked out like a king with a sheath of velvet shaved on her back and her sides stringing down to the floor like a robe. The groomer even managed to square up her facial hair.
I couldn't believe it. I know I didn't say, "Schnauzer cut," when I deposited Brandy there in the morning.
I learned eventually that what I wanted was a “sport cut” which meant take off one inch evenly all over. That's what I meant.
Brandy was my companion when I walked through the neighborhood. We'd go out early, especially in the summertime, before the heat sunk in. She learned how to heel and she never messed anywhere because she had to walk with me and I didn't stop.
The purpose of the walk was exercise, not do the daily duty. I used a choke chain and a strong leash and considered each walk a time for training.
She lived for twelve years, the last year being very uncomfortable with blindness and deafness and a dermatitis which she attacked by pulling her hair out.
I don't believe in extending a dog's life when it's obvious it's over, so I had her put down. Soon after I tried to replace her. I tried three different dogs and none were satisfactory for one reason or another.
Now I am forbidden to have a pet of any kind in the apartment complex in which I reside. So I greet each dog I meet, hand open and smiles. And they seem to recognize me, too, as if in some former life I was a gleeful puppy.
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