13 years have flown by. As I write these words, tears well up in my eyes. Little dogs, a term of endearment…
One day 13 years ago or so I decide I want a dog. A companion to share my evening walk with, to throw a ball to…. and so I begin to look. The news paper is my first choice as a source, when newspapers were the source for sharing with the general public that you have a litter of dogs you need to make available to a good parent. I kinda know what I’m looking for.. an Australian Shepherd. Ads for people selling dogs are plentiful and I find one for an Australian Shepherd. I call the phone number and get directions.
I’m now retired. March 31st, 2016 was my last day at work. No more getting up at 6am. No more rushing to get a shower, watch the morning news, drink a cup or two of coffee and drive the slaughter house 5 route to work and always arrive late.
I save well. I’m prepared to focus on things I want to do. But not so much on the unexpected.
I call the phone number listed in the news paper and get directions. It’s about 60 miles from me and I leave the house about 5pm or so. I have their phone number just in case I get lost. I need to travel Highway 27 through Rock Wood Tennessee, enter onto I40 to Crab Orchard where I exit.
I exit into the night which is as dark as I ever recall any darkness. I need to take Genesis Road North up the mountain for 20 miles and take a left onto Peavine Road. I’m told there is a light that illuminates the drive way to the house. The stars are a plentiful as sand on a beach and the 40 watt bulb is nothing more than a speck. The drive is a quarter mile back from the road to the house… it’s dark, only the million stars illuminate my way.
I’m greeted by a continuous barking. A pesky little dog whose only presence in the dark is the barking. I exit my car and a light flicks on and I can see the little dog who is incessantly barking… Lakoda’s mother.
The occupant of the house walks toward my car and I announce that I’m the person calling about the puppies. He tells me to follow, and we walk with the aid of his flashlight about a hundred feet or so to a pen with 5 or 6 squirming little dogs… he spirals the light around the pen so I can see the dogs and one little Lakoda catches my eye. I pick her up and say this is the one.
I pay the man fifty dollars, place little Lakoda in a box and position the box in the back of the red Jeep. I say good night and I’m on my way down the mountain with a million stars leading the way. She cries for the entire drive. Her little heart is broken having to leave her mother, brothers and sisters.
Today I’m her heart and soul. She looks at me with her big brown eyes and she reads my mind. “Rub my belly,” she says…. and I do. Thirteen years of watching those brown eyes… the doctor tells me she has a tumor on her liver.
I wake up one morning in August… the 8th I think. Make coffee, sit down at the computer and the TV. Shortly I hear a frenetic thrashing on the hard wood floor in the bedroom where two of the dogs sleep. The third, Blue sleeps in the kitchen and no longer comes into the rest of the house. I don’t respond immediately, because I think it’s simply one the dogs scratching against the floor, but a moment later I hear a repeat. I rise from the chair and walk to the bedroom… in the floor is Dingo, my youngest dog unconscious and in the throes of a robust seizure. Frothing, rear legs stiff he is shaking violently. I never seen a dog captured by a seizure and I think he’s having a heart attack. I respond immediately. I’m not yet dressed so I grab the first thing I can… a pair of old shorts, house shoes… I know I have to open the doors because Dingo weighs 60 pounds. I open the front door and the door from the enclosed porch, down the steps to Jeep and raise the back door… back up the nine steps to the house… I grab Dingo who has stopped shaking but still unconscious and back out the front door, down the steps to the Jeep. I lay in the back, close the raised door, jump into the front seat, start the Jeep and I’m off. I live less than a mile from the vet and arrive quickly.
Dingo is now conscious and trying to raise himself. I reach inside, grab him and carry him as quickly as I can into the veterinary clinic. “I think I have an emergency,” I say calmly. There are usually several people who work the front desk. One of the young ladies behind the counter moves rapidly to assist me with Dingo. I transfer him to her and she and Dingo disappear through the door that separates the waiting area from the hospital proper. I sit on one of the wooden benches and wait.