Jerry's View: Dogs I have known
I've had a lot of dogs. Mac was an Australian shepherd I had when I was a teenager. Skipper was a beautiful collie. Tessie was our dachshund for 17 years. And Richard Tiger was a dog we got for son Tim at the dog pound. He was a wonderful spaniel (Richard, not Tim); I'd rent him from Tim for bird hunting. He charged me fifty cents.
The dog that stands out the most, however, was Charlie Brown. Charlie was a basset hound I got as a gift from my wife. "They told me that bassets have good noses," she said.
Charlie was supposed to be my hunting companion. But, after one pheasant hunt in which I had to break trail through the beet fields, I gave up on him.
Basset hounds are ungainly, saggy, baggy and undisciplined. They require constant attention. Nobody owns a basset; they own you.
No fence can hold one in. Originally bred to hunt rabbits in Europe, they go off to find a new, more attentive patron once you stop petting them.
Everybody in the community knew Charlie Brown. One of his favorite haunts was the old Flame Tavern on 128th St in Burien, where the customers served him beer in a dish. He'd get kind of wobbly, and sometimes the county police would bring him home to sleep it off. The cops would pull into our driveway, honk their horn and we'd go out.
Charlie would be sitting in the front seat, his head out the window. We'd lift him out, take him into the house and put him under his blanket. The cops loved him too.
One day he disappeared and was gone for four days. When he finally came
wandering home, he was obviously under the weather. When he didn't improve, we took him to a vet for a physical. The vet called to say that Charlie had a broken love-maker.
"How could that be?" we asked. We knew he went out a lot without permission. He stayed late and never offered an excuse for his behavior.
The vet wasn't much help. "Probably making love to a stone duck," he answered.
Dogs have a bone in their apparatus. Charlie's was broken and had begun to knit into an "L" shape. There wasn't anything we could do for him. They didn't make casts for that type of injury.
He got more thin each day, ate very little and stopped drinking beer. That kind of thing can depress anyone, especially a romantic dog.
One morning he just wandered away. Sad.
I hope the other dogs in dog heaven don't laugh at him because he is deformed....