Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
- TITLE: Charles M. Schulz was right
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My father paid for his food and vet bills, but whenever he was misbehaving, needed a bath, or had mess that needed to be cleaned up, he became, ‘your dog.’
If dogs could speak, I wonder what they would say? Yet, Monty had his ways of letting my brother and I know what he wanted, or what he may have been thinking. Monty could never be branded a ‘dumb animal.’ He was, for all the things that amused and infuriated me, an intelligent dog. There’s a lot of things I remember about the kind of dog that he was.
All day long, he barked at birds and chased as they flew overhead, like he was guarding the airspace over our backyard.
If we gave a pat to any other dogs during the walks we took with him, he gave a jealous little growl.
Monty even had his favourite places that he liked to be taken to. One was a huge park that we had to drive to. When my brother and I got our driver’s licences, we began to take Monty to this park ourselves. At the time, we hadn’t visited there for a few years, but when we got there, and parked the car, Monty began to wag his tail, getting excited.
My brother and I talked about which way we would go. Monty whimpered, probably because he thought that we were taking too long to get out of the car. When we began the walk, Monty was so excited, he pulled on the leash so hard that he could have dislocated my brother’s shoulder.
I’m certain that Monty could tell when my brother or myself were upset about things. In those times, when I was feeling sad, I would go outside to sit and think. Monty would run up, sit down next to me, then nudge his head under my shoulder, so that my arm would end up around him.
It was like he was saying, “I know how to cheer you up.”
Monty slept outside. His kennel was right beneath our bedroom window. Every morning, as soon as I got up and opened the curtains, I would see Monty, standing near his empty food bowl. He would look down at his bowl, glance up at me, then look towards our back door, as if to tell me, “I’m hungry, come and feed me!”
Whenever we bathed Monty, we always used the same old towel to dry him off at the end. This became his favourite towel. He got excited whenever he knew it was time to get dried, and he would give a little growl if he thought that we were taking too long to dry him.
True to the dog stereotype, he would go and roll around in the back yard as soon as had been dried and brushed.
I remember how excited Monty would get whenever he heard us arriving home each day. Dogs really are so great when it comes to showing us what unconditional love is.
It’s been eight years since I had to say “good bye” to Monty. There’s a lot that I miss, now that I don’t have a dog around to look after and keep me company.
The weekend my brother and I decided that Monty was getting old, and suffering too much, we took him to the vet to have him put to sleep. I was at church the next evening.
I told my friends about what had happened. Some of them said, “Now he’s in doggie heaven.”
I don’t know if pets are in heaven as well as people.
On the shelves above my desk at home, I keep a framed photo of Monty as he was in his prime, sitting happily in the backyard, with his smiling eyes, mouth open showing his big, sloppy tongue, as he was holding a chewed up tennis ball between his front paws.
Now I remember what a fun and rewarding experience being a dog owner was, for all the things about Monty that made me laugh and made me scold him.
I think that the late Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip summed this up best, with the sentiment; ‘happiness is a warm puppy.’ I didn’t appreciate what this meant until I became a dog owner myself.
I was blessed to own a dog like Monty.
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