Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Memories – Happiness is a Warm Puppy

by Charles Schulz
Mrs. Roberts, my 3rd and 4th grade teacher,
gave us a copy of this book for Christmas one year.
I still have it.

I like animals, but you wouldn't necessarily call me a pet person.  Even so, I do love three dog books:  

Beautiful Joe by Margaret Saunders.  It's a book written in 1893 about a dog that's abused by the milkman.

Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day.  It truly is a picture book for it has maybe ten words in it:  “Look after the baby while I’m gone Carl” (or something close to that).  The rest of the book shows Good Dog Carl tending the baby.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  My great-aunt Ethel gave me an autographed book which endeared the story of a boy and his two hound dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann, to me even more.

When we got our two dogs last summer we named them Old Dan and Little Ann.  They haven't been separated since they were born.  They wrestled, ran, and danced (literally) together.  They ate together and slept curled up with each other.  Yesterday Old Dan barked and whined when Calvin, Grace, and Little Ann pulled out of the yard.  It was a mournful howl.  It was sad.  Later when it got light, I let him out of the kennel and he ran as fast as he could to the front of the house where the pickups are usually parked to see where they were.  When he couldn’t find them he trotted back to me with his tail between his legs.  I said, “I know.  I know.  I’m the consolation prize.  They're gone.  It’s just you and me now Dan.  It’s a disappointment to you I know, but it is what it is.”

Old Dan spent the better part of yesterday lying on the kitchen doorstep or sleeping in the sun.  He didn't run.  He didn't play.  He didn't dance.  Occasionally I’d knock on the window to let him know I knew he was alive, or sometimes open the door and call his name and pat him once or twice.  Because Little Ann wasn’t here to get in trouble with him, he got to stay out of the kennel all day.  At supper I gave him a piece of meat and he got to eat the whole thing because Little Ann wasn’t there to steal it from him.   I took him on a long walk by himself and he stayed next to me and licked my fingers.  He didn't even try to find a rabbit.  It was sad to see the two dogs parted, but by the end of yesterday Old Dan seemed to enjoy the perks.    

Today he went jogging with me just like always, and he trotted along behind me.  The last half mile I stopped to dump rocks out of my shoe and put my coat back on.  I accidently dropped my ear warmer, but didn’t notice.  I kept walking.  Fifty yards later I turned to say something to him and there he was three steps behind me carrying my ear warmer.  Good Dog, Dan.

This is his "I love you look" with his eyes dreamily half-closed,
not his "don't you dare" or "I hate you" look with his eyes in a glare.
I'm not a pet person, but I can speak dogese.


Susan said...

Oh Jane. What a sweet post! Are you feeling a little like Old Dan? I'm sure you are missing your Grace as much as he is missing Little Ann. I hadn't heard of the first two books you mentioned, and after the first reading of Where the Red Fern Grows, I couldn't read it again. Too much sadness. Maybe I should try it again? Maybe it isn't as sad as I remember.

michelle said...

I love Good Dog, Carl! If only Jack could babysit.

I wonder when Eva will be old enough for Where the Red Fern Grows? Reading books with my children is one of my favorite parts of parenting.

I'm not much of a pet person, either, but I love that picture of Old Dan and love that he picked up your ear warmer for you.

Deidra said...

We had a Carl book growing up that I loved.

I read Where the Red Fern Grows to my class last year and a few of my fourth graders cried. It is such a sad book.

Your Old Dan is such a handsome dog!

Anonymous said...

My dog does the same thing. She gets to hang out with my parents' dogs and gets sad when we spend too much time at my house away from them. Dogs can have such sad faces. I miss you guys from the ward!

Lynn said...

Oh my gosh I just read the cricket blog. Wish I'd thought of it.

Happiness is a warm puppy...that brings $50 bucks. Kellyn's dog had 10 pups and she needed to unload them. Homer graciously offered to take one, took it to his work and sold it for $50 bucks. BRING ON THE PUPS, I say.

melanie said...

I'm not a pet person either but I get sad when they are sad. I still remember moving to Las Vegas, we had to leave our dog behind. She sat on our porch and kept turning her head side to side and whined as we pulled away (she was already living with our neighbor but kept coming back to see us pack up, we didn't leave her there for dead). I cried for the first couple hours of our trip south. I'm sure some of it was dramatic effect at 12 but it left me realizing how much dogs love people and really want to help take care of them. Definitely endearing.

Kim Sue said...

Carly, sweet thing has the biggest softest heart when it comes to pets, came home from school a couple weeks ago on a cold winter day that had made the kids spend recess inside. during recess they had watched some of Where the Red Fern grows. I asked if she liked it and she told me it was "horrible". I know it had been years but I remembered it more fondly. Then she went on to explain to me about the dog and how it tried to save the other dog and was killed which promptly lead to tears in the backseat. I asked her if she would like to read the book together. I saw her face in the rearview mirror with this incredulous look and she said "you ARE kidding, right?"