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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

On Dogs

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

By the time you get to be my age, you would think I would know better than to do the following: advise someone on whether on not they should get married, or divorcedÖ.try to change someoneís mind about God or last but not least buy someone a dog.

Seventeen years ago, my wife and I bought two dogs out of a litter of ten. Then we went back and bought three more and gave them to friends of ours. We lost contact with two of these friends so I canít tell you how these gifts turned out. I do know that the one I gave to my best friend was his for these past seventeen years. He named the dogÖRusty.

Well, as you can guess, old Rust bucket died a week or so ago and now my friend is in a state of mourning. In talking to him about what happens to dogs (they die) and how to get over it, I can sense that he is a little peeved about having gotten the dog in the first place and then having become so attached that his life is in turmoil with the dogís death.

So, now itís my fault.

Well, Iíve got big shoulders, lay the blame on meÖ..I can take it.

No, Iím just kidding Öhe really loved that dog. They traveled all over Godís green acre and back, bumping along side by side. If there ever was a great match made up between one man and one dog, this was it. But as we all know, the inevitable hand of fate has to come into play and we have to learn to deal with it as harsh as it seems. My friend wrote me a letter and signed off by sayingÖÖ ĎHe broke my heart and I donít know if I can ever forgive himí. Dealing with the death of an animal is tough. I know I cannot even begin to think what I would do if something happened to either one of mine. On one hand I am thinking of buying him a replacement but on the other hand I think itís best if he decides what he wants to do. Maybe he is just too old to have his heart broken again.

My second dog gift story is different. Another friend had a dog that died back in MarchÖ.his wife loved this dog and has been heart broken ever since. This was a special breed of dog and hard to find. So, Iím listening to him tell me about how sad she is. I look online and find one of these, only problem is that itís nearly 400 miles away from where we live. I call the breeder and get a picture sent to me and tell the breeder I want it, and then tell my wife weíre driving to go get it. We havenít had rain in our part of the country in months, but you know what Iím about to tell you. Yep, started pouring the minute we left the houseÖnever stopped. So, we finally get to the little town where the dog is located, meet the breederÖget the dog. This dog weighs two pounds and is four months old.

We start home. The breeder didnít have a carrier much bigger than the two pound dog, so we stopped at a mall and bought a larger one with a leash and a collar. Then we figured that since the poor thing had been cooped up for a couple of hours weíd let it out for a walk on the grass.

Still raining.

What happens next? Dog slips the collar, runs under the car, I canít bend down because of my knee surgery, my wife is in a white pants suit, trying to get the thing out so we can get going. She finally collars the little beastie and he chews up her hand reaching for him. We throw him into the carrier, find a drug store for first aid to her hand and head home. Next day, we meet our friends and hand over this little present thinking they will be so happy. The wife says that she isnít ready for another animal so soon. So, weíre left with a dog we donít want or need. This is not going the way I had expected.

I spend the entire following morning calling people I know to see if they want a new dog. No takers.

Iím almost out of room here, so Iíll make this short and sweet. I find a guy who loves this breed and agrees to take a look at the one Iíve bought. He starts crying when he sees it and says he has been looking for one like this for over forty years.

He puts him in the front seat and drives away. We go home with one less problem. Total cost of this little deal, about $700 and a couple of days of my life.

As Iíve always saidÖ no good deed goes unpunished. But I did learn another valuable lesson. One I doubt Iíll repeat again anytime soon.

© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

Letters From North America - October 21, 2009 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers

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