I recall when I was growing up, we had many different pets at one time or another. Rarely did we have more than one pet at any given time but we did seem to go through quite a few of them. Cats, birds, fish and I even had at one time a hamster. Until the thing got out and paid a visit to my mother as she was taking a knap on the divan. So much for the hamster. But of all the pets we had we seem to always have at least one dog. Now you must understand that we had lots of dogs it’s just that we only had one at a time. Except for that time my parents witnessed someone dumping a pregnant beagle on the side of the road. Well they scooped her up and brought her home and then spent the whole night watching eleven puppies being born. Just as soon as all those pups were weaned and adopted, the momma went on her way. Other than her there are two dogs that particularly stand out in my mind.
The first one was a standard size poodle we named blackie. I guess because he was black. Now blackie had one very distinctive condition. He had, shall we say, a digestive issue. When he would pass gas he could clear a room. He passed gas a lot. He would lie under the divan as we would all be watching the television. If you saw him sneaking out of the room, and he would literally sneak out of the room, you knew it was coming. To this day any time the aroma of any particular room gets a bit thick, my dad will blame blackie.
The other dog that stands out in my memory was named Rebel. MY dad was a mailman, letter carrier as they are called today and he was always coming home with a puppy that someone on his route happened to be giving away. One day he came home with this little adorable ball of fur. It was not little for long since it was half German Sheppard and half Saint Bernard. This thing got huge. It was just as gentle as it was large. On one day it had gotten out of the yard and decided to lie down and sun himself in the middle of the street. Had traffic backed up for blocks. Some one had to find my dad on his mail route and ask him to go home and move the dog.
The strangest thing that happened with Rebel was on one warm Saturday afternoon while my dad and I were working on an old jeep in the garage. We had poured some gasoline into a metal bucket and had been soaking greasy parts in the gasoline to clean them up. While we were both on our backs under the jeep, we heard the slurp slurp slurp of Rebel drinking something. When we looked we noticed that he was drinking out of the bucket of gasoline. Startled, my dad yelled at him to “get out of there” and when he did he started acting very strangely. He started snorting and wheezing and shaking his head. He staggered a bit and was pawing at his snout. We thought for sure he was a goner. We crawled out from under the jeep to try and calm him down when all at once he bolted out of the garage running at full speed toward the street. Just before he ran into traffic he stopped, turned and started back toward us again running full tilt. He turned once again just before he reached us and back down the drive he ran. He did this several times. My dad and I could only watch in horror thinking that surely he had poisoned himself. Then with one final turn at the street and still with a full head of steam, he galloped down the drive toward my dad and I still snorting and wheezing. Just before he reached us he suddenly stopped, looked at both of us standing there and slumped over on his side.
Now in my lifetime I have seen a lot of unique things. I have at one time or another been in all 48 continental united states. I have seen many things both strange and wonderous but nothing can compare to what my dad and I witnessed that one warm summer day in our own back yard.
And as far Rebel, don’t worry, he was ok. Just ran out of gas.
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