By Joe Darby
The loss of our rat terrier Mosby a couple of weeks ago has gotten me to thinking about the dogs that I’ve had throughout my life. It’s been a pleasant, but bitter-sweet journey in rememberance. I’d like to share some of my recollections with you, if you please.
My first dog was a black cocker spaniel. My two older sisters had taken me to a movie. It was a Van Johnson flick that had a couple of retrievers in it and one of them was named Fetchit. Well, wouldn’t you know Mother and Daddy had taken the occasion of their kids’ absence to go to the pound and adopt the spaniel, as a surprise.. My sisters and I promptly named her Fetchit, of course.
She was supposed to be the family dog, but she quickly decided that I was her special guy. I was about 5 or so at the time. She became my constant companion, going out to play with me, sleeping in my room at night and generally being my full time shadow. I even have an old black and white photo somewhere of Fetchit and me on my large tricycle, with her looking as if the trike was hers and she was giving me a ride.
Fetchit lived until I was in my mid teens. By that time her facial hair had turned almost all white and she had lost weight, but she was still going fairly strong. We took her to get a hair cut and grooming and while carrying her to the car, she wiggled and I dropped her. She seemed okay at the time, but a few days later we found her dead. I fear she may have suffered internal injuries from the fall, but perhaps it was just her time. I don’t know. But she was my first great dog.
The next notable pup I had was a Dachsund who was supposed to be named Fang, but a little nephew started calling him Honky for some reason and that’s the name that stuck. The little wiener had more personality than any other two or three dogs put together. He could sit that long little body up perfectly straight to beg for a scrap of food. And, oh, he loved to drink out of a Coke bottle, hardly spilling a drop.
He’d often bolt out the front door when it was opened and run down the street. With my long legs against his little short ones, I could catch up with him fairly easily. When he heard my running steps right behind him, he stop, give up, roll over on his back in the middle of the street and look at me as if to say, “Well, fancy meeting you here.”
He slept with me at night and another great photo I have is one Mother took of me and
Honky fast asleep, with my arm wrapped around his little wiener body.
He too lived to a ripe old age and passed away peacefully.
Then there was Nelson, named after Nelson Stokely, the LSU quarterback of the mid 1960s. I lived in an apartment complex in the New Orleans area and this little medium sized yellow mutt hung around the complex. We just sort of adopted each other and when I’d get home from work, I’d whistle for him and he’d coming running out from behind some apartment building or other, wagging his tail and grinning (I know they say dogs can’t grin, but…) from ear to ear. Then he’d follow me into my apartment, I’d feed him and we’d settle in for the night.
There was a young family in the complex who had also taken a shine to him and they were about to move into a house of their own. They asked if they could take Nelson with them, who would have kids to play with and a nice fenced in yard. I knew Nelson would have a better life with them, so I said they could have him. And they promised to keep his name as Nelson.
I have a few more dogs that I’d like to tell you about, but I think I’ll save those stories for next week. And don’t forget to give your dog an extra hug today, okay?