As I start the long journey forward with Pritch I often find myself thinking about dogs past. There was Flapper, a mutt that truly defined the term “mash-up,” but it was Salty Dog, a yellow Labrador with middling retriever skills, that provided the bulk of the memories–some of which are now legend in my family.
When I was 14 and Salty was just over a year old, he developed a bad habit. He would often bolt from the yard in the middle of a training session and not return until the following day. They were anxious times, and no matter how hard I tried to control him I couldn’t. Our vet suggested that neutering Salty would curb the problem. Since we had no intention of breeding him we figured it was best for all involved. But a few weeks after the big snip, I was working with Salty in the front yard when he took off for the hinterlands. I went running after him, but my teenage legs were no match. As usual, my mom and I piled in the car and went looking for Salty. And as usual, we had no luck. Back at home, there was a message from the vet on the answering machine. (This was long before cell phones.) Turns out Salty had shown up outside his office door–a 2-mile trip that involved traversing a busy road–slobbering on the glass until they invited him in.
We picked Salty up and returned home. But a few days later he hightailed it yet again…and about an hour later the vet called. Salty was sitting in the waiting room. The next week, same scenario. This time my dad drove me to the vet’s office. On the way home, I asked my dad why the dog would be so intent on running to the vet’s office when most dog’s hated going. With a bit of hesitation, my old man answered, “Maybe he’s looking for his nuts.”
Maybe he was, because until we installed an electric fence Salty would often take a jog to the vet’s office. And every time I went to retrieve him I thought, who can blame him?
I can’t imagine youth or adulthood without a dog, if not only for the companionship but for the adventures and stories that come with it. I’m sure you all have some canine tales. Feel free to share.