Now in my 50th year I find myself thinking a lot about time. The way I usually equate time is through events or milestones. Because dog’s lives are so much shorter than our own, having a dog causes us to witness an accelerated microcosm of our own life. I have been a constant dog owner. Here is my life in dogs.

Fritz

One day when I was six years old living in Tudor Court, my grandfather showed up with a little black ball of a puppy. I spent the next 4 hours scheming with my mom on how we were going to present this to my dad. If I remember correctly he was eating dinner when he heard soft little yelps emanating from the living room. My father wasn’t crazy about the idea of a dog but tolerated him. I named that puppy Fritz after the son of the guy who was building our new house. Fritz was a smart, athletic dog that had 9 lives. I remember him being hit by a car and a motorcycle on two different occasions. He was always running away (we never had him neutered) the evidence of which was one of the neighbor’s new puppies which when it grew up was Fritz’s double. Fritz settled down a lot in his old age. When my parents divorced and I went off to college my dad and Fritz bonded. Fritz would pace around the house keeping in constant motion, I imagine because it hurt too much to stop. He would have a hard time getting back up once lying down. In the end my father would have to carry him outside to relieve himself. My dad knew it was time to take Fritz to be put”to sleep”, he just kept putting it off. When he finally took him to the vet for the last time it was he who held him as he passed.

Emma

A smart, contemplative, melancholic dog. We chose Emma because she was the only dog not barking or making a fuss while walking through the pound . She stood at the back of the pen sheepishly staring at me. This is the dog I wanted. My ex-wife named her Emma after the daughter on the popular television series at the time “Thirty Something”, it fit. I think Emma may have been abused as a puppy because she would cower when an object was picked up too quickly near her. It took awhile for us to gain her trust but she eventually came out of her shell. When my first wife and I split, I got Emma. Emma and I lived in some pretty dismal places and I shared my food with her. Her funniest trait and the reason I referred to her as melancholic was her constant sighing. I think Emma grew to think of herself as my equal. We went everywhere together, she didn’t need a leash. Emma was good-natured and accepted whom ever I brought into our lives, girlfriends, wives, children Emma put up with or loved them. When dementia started to set in and Emma started mistaking indoors with outdoors I knew it was time. I held Emma when she was euthanized and I’d never cried so much in my life. Emma was the best dog I had ever had.

Annie

I was dogless for 5 years when I felt that canine yearning again. Annie was chosen off the internet, not the best way to adopt a dog. It took me awhile before I warmed up to this nervous little creature, my wife even longer. My son however immediately loved her as I had loved Fritz. We named her after a bottle of ketchup on the dining room table. I kept Annie with me constantly the first 6 months we had her which was why she was so successfully housebroken. I was able to bring her with me to work everyday and she developed her amazing ability to ride in a car. I’ve never had an animal that was so good in the car. She jumps in the car and lays down in the backseat foot wells and sleeps until we get to our destination. Annie’s bad traits are her nervousness, which makes her a chewer. She’s chewed through drywall and our sneakers. If you bring anything new into the house and she sees that you need or want that item, she’ll take it and chew it to pieces. Her other con is her smell, which I attribute to her nervousness. Its sort of homeless person mixed with cooked peas. This smell requires her to be bathed pretty regularly. Time will tell where she ranks amongst other dogs but I have grown fond of her just the same.

Dog’s lives become milestones of our own. There really is nothing better than getting to know a dog. The only downside is their lives are so short by the time you get to know them they’re gone.

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