Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Snoopy, my great friend from high school

When I was in high school, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, my two best friends were Bobby Shaver and a neighborhood beagle named Snoopy.

No, I didn't name Snoopy after the Peanuts character; he wasn't mine. Snoopy belonged to a guy we knew as Chick, but he spent a lot of time with me.

I'd get up for school, and Snoopy would be waiting on the porch. He'd walk with me to the bus stop, and he'd be waiting on the little hill when the bus came back in the afternoon.

I took long walks back then, and Snoopy and a bunch of other neighborhood dogs would follow me. It's true that other dogs were often with me, but my neighbors thought of Snoopy as "my" dog.

When I was about to graduate from high school, I started thinking about Snoopy; he'd probably be gone by the time I graduated from college. And that saddened me.

But he never got close to living four more years.

The summer I graduated from high school, a bunch of us went up to the elementary school to play basketball. When I came down the hill, Snoopy was sitting near the main road, and I went over, greeted him and rubbed his head.

Before I finished walking home, someone told me that he'd seen a car run over Snoopy's hind end. I hadn't noticed the injury, and I was devastated. A few minutes after I got home, I looked outside, and, amazingly, Snoopy had dragged himself "home." He was out in the intersection near our house.

I called Chick and told him about Snoopy, and he said I ought to take care of it, since Snoopy was "my" dog as much as his. I told him I had no money for a vet (true) and no way to get him there (also true; I had no car).

A few minutes later, Chick and his family showed up to get Snoopy. I never heard any more about him.

Let's get one thing straight, some people thought Snoopy followed me because I fed him. Not true. I never fed him. For some reason, he just liked me.

He's the second-best dog I ever knew; Lady's No. 1.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

I'm sorry, Scottie; I messed up

I was thinking of our collie Scottie the other day, and I was saddened again.

When we got Scottie, he was an old dog with a big smile. My favorite photo of him (I can't find it, sadly) is him leaning his head on my wife Holly's knee. As usual, he was smiling. He never looked happier.

But I turned out to be a bad owner with Scottie. He was constantly in the way (he wanted to be close to us), and I always yelled at him to move. "Scottie, you're in the way" was his second name.

That would have been no big deal with Lady, since she'll forgive almost anything; she has a strong temperament. And, besides, I've rarely yelled at her, other than to get her attention.

But Scottie couldn't handle it. I noticed that he wouldn't come to me when I opened my hands for him, and he no longer had that constant doggy smile.

One day, I let him outside to do his business (he always came back; no problem), and I noticed that he was dragging a hind leg when he returned to the house. That worried me, since our late collie Katie had done the same thing. Then she laid down and never walked again.

The next day, Scottie did the same thing; I never saw him walk again. The difference, though, was that Katie had remained interested even when she couldn't walk. When I got home from work or wherever, she looked up hopefully. Scottie just laid there on his side, and I don't think he ever ate again. I'd put a small dog bowl never him, and he'd stick out his tongue to drink water. But that was it.

The vet gave us some false hope — they'd had to hold him up when he supposedly "walked" a bit. After about two weeks of him being prone, we took him to the vet to have him put to sleep.

I miss Katie and Buddy (our mutt) terribly, but I feel worst about Scottie. I never yelled at the other dogs, other than to get their attention. They all looked happy to see me (Buddy especially around dinner time).

But Scottie didn't; he looked afraid or worried. And that saddens me.

I'm sorry, darlin'. I messed up and wish I had a do-over.

More entries from The Dog Blog

Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

More blog entries by Tom Gillispie

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie