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Halfwit
by Bob Valleau
11/27/09
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I love dogs. As a kid, my family always had two dogs. When one died or ran away, we would replace it with another. I remember romping around in the backyard with our dogs and letting them chase me until I fell down from exhaustion.

We had one dog who holds a special place in my heart. He was a black and brown Cocker Spaniel. He was a lovable dog and extremely loyal. He would always want to be where we were, enjoying our company. His name, Halfwit, was peculiar as well. I guess that is why he is permanently etched into my memory. But his name belied his behavior because he was every bit of a smart dog. He was not witless, not even halfway.

My dad named this Cocker Spaniel when the dog was still a pup. He called him a name in a fit of anger over a pair of his favorite house shoes the pup had chewed for breakfast. I'll never forget that morning how this dog got his name as my dad bellowed from another room, "You half wit son of a gun." The latter part of that quote is rather mild compared to what he actually said. But I'm glad "halfwit" stuck instead of the other.

As I grew up, Halfwit got older and feeble. He would sleep more because he lacked the energy he once had. But one morning, Halfwit seemed more alive than ever. He wandered off into our neighborhood and just like when he was younger, we expected him to return -- at least by evening. Evening came, but Halfwit was nowhere to be found. After a few days we knew he had probably wandered off to die, sparing us the ordeal of his life's end.

My dad agreed that Halfwit was the smartest -- and most loyal -- dog we ever had. He certainly was the first dog we never replaced.

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