Do you have memories of a favorite pet? I think most of us probably do. Some of my fondest memories, as well as some of my saddest memories are from my dog Dooce, aka... Dobie Dog. With Dooce, my husband and I both had one of those owner/dog relationships that really only happens once in a lifetime. Dooce was the funniest, smartest, little mutt dog you have ever seen. He was one of those unexpected little blessings that showed up out of nowhere and then went on to become a friend for many years.

It was just a short time before my wedding, I was 22 at the time, and I was at my grandmother's house. Her house was located out in the country, situated on many acres. I have sense learned that 'dog dumping' is likely to happen in places such as this. My sister and I were in the garage. You know the kind of garage I am talking about ...your grandmother's garage, the one that has all four corners stacked to the ceiling with who knows what! On this particular day, over in the far left corner, there was this curled up, matted haired, very tiny and scared little puppy. We were hesitant to pick it up at the time, but we did. We took him in and bathed him and got him all cleaned up..... AND then, to what to our wandering eyes should appear ... no, not a reindeer the cutest, fluffiest, part- wiener dog you ever saw. From that point on, I knew he was a keeper.

And keep we did. Dooce became mine and my husband's first pet as a married couple. He was well loved, well trained, and could crack you up! For example, he never would wake me in the morning to be let out. Guess he knew I was in a much better mood getting my sleep. He would go over to my husband's ear, lean in real close, and do this deep but very silent bark. Also, he could not only sit, but he could extend his body up, sort of like he was sitting on his butt, and you could go, "BANG!", and he would fall over. He really was a wonderful dog.

Then the disheartening part came. The tragic part. One day I arrived home from my teaching job. At that time, I had quite a drive to get home. I pulled to the top of the driveway and got out of the car. Dooce was in the backyard as he always was, and he was happy to see me, to say the least. The problem was, Dooce had been sort of misbehaving lately. Yep, he had learned to climb our fence. The little guy could escape. So, until we could figure out what we were going to do about the matter, we put him on a leash. Here is where the mistake was made. Dooce was alive when I got home that afternoon, all happy to see me, begging for me to come get him. As I said, I had a long drive, so I went inside to go to the restroom, get a snack, and so forth.

Then, tragedy struck. I got this sick sense. It really had only been about 30 minutes. I got this faint realization that I no longer heard barking. As I looked out the back window, there he was. In his fit of happiness, he had climbed the fence, only to hang himself. It was a terrible, horrible feeling. I ran to him, pulled him off the fence, and even tried to do "dogie CPR". This dog was like our child at the time. It didn't work. Looking back, there is no way it would have worked, as he must have been gone for a good 20 minutes or so. I was in a panic, running to the neighbors, hitching a ride to the nearest vet. As my neighbor got me to the end of the street, reality set in. He was gone, he wasn't coming back, so I asked him to take me home.

I will never forget having to tell my husband. I will never forget the guilt I felt at the time for not getting him right when I got home. I now know it was just a terrible mistake that led to an accident. Despite the memories of that tragic event, there were many years of happy times, and I will never forget our first little dog and all the joy he brought the both of us.

Do you have memories of a favorite pet?


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