Earlier this week, August 26 actually, was National Dog Day. Though I spend a lot of time online, this day crept up on me and, sadly, I didn’t do anything to celebrate with my pups.
I’m a dog guy. Always have a been. Got bitten by one when was 7 or 8 and still that didn’t shake me. Had a poodle mix from hell when I was growing up – one of the snarliest dogs you’ve ever seen. Probably, though, he wasn’t trained correctly so that was probably our fault.
Then, my high school and college years saw me without a pooch. After college, living in a rented row house in South Philly with a buddy of mine, I got back on the dog track. Why?
We wuz robbed.
Yep, one steamy summer night, while we were asleep in our bedrooms upstairs, someone climbed into our screened-in window and stole our TV. Walked out the front door and left it open.
My roommate and I decided the next day we should have protection. A gun or a dog.
We didn’t really want to get a gun and dog was a much more fun option. So, we headed to the local pound and found one of the best dogs I’ve ever met. Mack.
Mack was a beagle mix with one of the best personalities I ever saw on a dog. Fun, funny, loving. He was the best. When I moved out, Mack came with me and was a constant companion for years. Heck, I broke up with girls because they didn’t dig on my dog Mack.
When Leslie and I moved out to San Francisco, though, Mack was getting on in years and didn’t make the move. He went to live with my parents where he spent the twilight of his years going for walks in the cool air of Northeast Pennsylvania. He passed away at 14 in 2008.
After moving back from San Francisco, I came home one day to find this furry little black and white ball of Shih Tzu puppy.
“Oh hello!” I said. And Bella promptly peed on the carpet.
She turned 10 this year, and we’re lucky she made it this long. Back in 2009, she was very sick, doctors didn’t think she’d pull through. But she’s tougher than we gave her credit for and she did. Now she’s the elder stateswoman of the house. She watches over everything, commenting very little. But she’s there and she’s our gal.
Next came our little spitfire, another Shih Tzu. Roxie Maybelline. She’s a cranky little pup, but never hurts anything. You scratch her belly and she grumbles and growls. But not in a mean way. That’s just her. She’s like an old man from Brooklyn who hasn’t had his coffee yet. (actually, my wife says she’s the canine equivalent of me. Or I’m the human equivalent of her. In any case….)
This two dogs are so much a part of the family. Our decision to go to Vermont, where I shot these portraits of Bella and Roxie, was based, in part, because they could come with us. And they enjoyed it up there, I think, even dipping their paws in Lake Champlain.
This week, while my wife and the kids were at the beach for a few days to enjoy the last week of summer, I dogsat my in-laws dog, Samson. He’s a Shih Tzu too, but bigger than my two girls. And still a puppy at just over a year.
Got me thinking it may be time to get Number 3.
Now to convince my wife….