Dan Ulmer: Dogs have always been around
My dad was really good with dogs. I’m not sure what it was, but he just had his way with them and all of his dogs turned out to be great friends.
Dad didn’t like to chain his dogs up or leash them; rather, he was able to train them to come when called, sit when told, and stay when commanded. He believed that dogs needed their freedom and yes, there were occasions when this didn’t work out so well.
Like the time Casey, our German Shepard, drug a deer skin across the street and dumped it in Mrs. Feickert’s yard. She called the police and the police called dad. Dad answered the phone and was informed that Casey had done this dirty deed and dad responded with, “Thanks for calling, we’ll tell him not to do that again,” and he hung up the phone.
Then along came Qualaby, half coyote and half husky. She was a good dog, but she liked to roam way too much… however, she always seemed to know where she was going. When she went missing, dad would call to see if we’d seen her, and most times she was either sitting outside our door or inside our house… then we’d send her home and dad would call 20 minutes later to let us know she made it home.
Then dad found Prairie, a huge golden lab without a mean bone in her body. Dad and Prairie became inseparable. There were quite a few times when folks around the golf course wondered whether dad or Prairie was driving the golf cart.
I remember one day seeing the two of them on hole 3, and I’d swear that dad jumped off the cart, walked up to his ball, and after dad took his shot, Prairie drove the cart up to him.
Then there was Sadie, who came about because my sister’s collie raped Jerry Hoff’s bull terrier. Jerry showed up at our house with this little ball of fur and while he was telling me it would grow up to be a 40-pound dog, the kids fell in love with it… and shortly after we took her in she grew up to be around 100 pounds.
Sadie never did well on a leash, but after we ran her over with the pontoon she mellowed quite bit and became a real home dog, so when unleashed she rarely left our sight or yard. She was my daily jogging companion and would heel at the snap of my fingers or come to my whistle, so we became great friends.
This went on until her rear end refused to follow her front end, and I had to leave her home. She kinda aged out from there and she had my heart on a string. Here’s a fine example of that:
Sady’s bladder was failing. I was chillaxing on our hammock under our deck. Sady was doing the same above me. My boys were cooking burgers on the grill and Sady’s bladder let go. I could see the golden shower dripping through the decking above me, but I couldn’t get out of the way, so I took a direct hit.
My response even surprised me, as most times I would at least jump off the hammock while letting a few curse words explode through the air (BTW, it’s now a scientific fact that cursing when injured relieves pain… not sure how God feels about that but it does seem to work). Rather than fully express my disgust I stayed where I was and muttered, “Poor Sady, she won’t be with us much longer.” Of course, my boys were on their knees in hysterics and all I could do was roll off the hammock and clean myself up.
I haven’t had to experience many golden showers in my time here, but Sady’s sticks in my head because I don’t think I’ll just lay there when the next one comes along.
Here’s hoping you can occasionally amaze yourself too, as well as have a few good memories of the dogs in your life.