Monday, April 5, 2010

On Family Pets

When my children were just little gaffers they witnessed the birth of puppies.  "When can we have a puppy" became the daily plaint.  So a puppy was welcomed to our home.  She was a cross between a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Golden Labrador and we named her 'Brandy'  after her colouring.   What a dog....she was beautiful, she was gentle, she was loving and so sensitive. 

She was sensitive to the personality of each family member. My youngest son loved to rough and tumble and she would romp with him until one of them tired.  My  daughter would dress her up in all sorts of garments and she would look at me raise her eyebrows as if to say what is this.  My eldest son carried the world on his shoulders and often was the brunt of bullying;  Brandy, our dog, would sense his need and would cuddle next to him, nose thrust next to his and sigh with him.  

Where we went, Brandy went, except for a seven week cross Canada trip when we thought it may be too much and we boarded her.  The kennel owners were so concerned she would die of lonliness and lament.the first night they brought her into their home to live until our return; their children trying to comfort her. 

She travelled to my mother's for Christmas; my mother did not allow animals in her home; but when I advised if she wanted us for Christmas, our family dog was part of us; she relented.  And Brandy sensed that mother was nervous of dogs and didn't approach her.  She immediately became my father's closest buddy. 

Our home was surrounded by cornfields so no need to worry about the dog wandering, she would occasionally disappear into the corn to flush out the odd pheasant.  We lived in a neighbourhood without fences, lots of children and dogs.  A real estate development was planned for the cornfields so we fenced our yard to keep our dog safe.  Someone left the side gate unlatched and our dog disappeared one week before Easter. 

We searched and searched. No Brandy.  Easter morning dawned and my eldest son had also disappeared.  A light snow had fallen during the night and we could see his bicycle tracks through the snow.  No easter egg hunt that morning, noone cared.   We followed the bicycle tracks through the village to find our big brother.  He was all over town following dog tracks hoping to find Brandy.

Brandy had been missing for two weeks when I received a telephone call at the high school where I worked from the principal of the public school.  He said he had a dog named Brandy in his office. 

I will never forget the gym teacher who was in the office at the time.  Without hesitation he insisted  he would drive me to get my dog.  When I arrived at the school, Brandy was curled up on the principal's shoes...dripping mud and water on his shoes and trousers.  He didn't give a hint of having been inconvenienced, he was glad to have helped.  Without a word the teacher picked up Brandy in his arms and carried her out, placing her on the backseat of his immaculate new car.  I will never forget the selfless immediate response of these two people to assist my beloved pet.  It never occured to either of them to do otherwise.

A trip to the vet confirmed Brandy had been badly beaten.

We don't know who would have mistreated such a gentle, loving creature.  The only time we saw the Rhodesian ridge across her back was whenever  we crossed a certain intersection in town; a low growl would emerge from her throat and the hair along her spine would stand straight up.  She knew who had hurt her, we never found out. 

We no longer have Brandy, but each one of us carries this gentle, loving creature in our hearts and we are better persons because of the love she gave each of us; she brought joy and taught valuable lessons of caring and sharing we may have otherwise missed. 

1 comment:

  1. I had a collie dog when I was young she also disappeared. She was away so long that we had given up all hope of ever finding her again. One day a royal navy van drew up at our door and a sailor carried our dog into the house. She had wandered into the navel base. Fortuately her name tag was still on her. We never ever found out where she had been but her paws were raw that day and she looked as if she had not eaten in a long time. The one thing that was strange though was that from that day on she refused ever to go on a bus though she had before then. She most certainly never liked passing the bustop at the top of our road and always gave it a wide berth.