Ever since I was a youngster, my life has gone to the dogs

I’ve really been going to the dogs lately.

“That’s for sure,” you may say, but what I mean is I’ve been thinking about, and writing about, and wondering about, dogs lately.

There’s an old saying: “Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like dogs.” And if that’s true, I guess I’m a pretty trustworthy person.

I’ve lived with a canine of some shape or form for most of my life, and I must say, every one of those four-legged slurpmeisters made my life infinitely better.

The first was a hybrid Beagle we rescued from the pound when I was in Grade 1.

Bim, which is short for Bimbo, stayed in my room that first night. Neither of us got any sleep and he left four little piles of potty on my floor by morning.

I didn’t even mind, so I must have been a dog lover from the get-go.

Bim had something you don’t see that often – his own doghouse out in the yard – and his favourite thing was mooching homemade cookies from my dad when he (my dad) had his coffee.

Bim and I would lie happily on the floor when the sun came in and made a warm golden square on the carpet. He would lick my big ears because they stuck out like jug handles.

Then there was Shirpa. The Better Half and I were newly married when we picked out this tiny Lhasa Apso from a precious pile of puppies.

A Lhasa Apso is a Tibetan breed (hence the name Shirpa) that is a small “lion dog” emperors used as warning animals. Which means they are bred to “alert” (by barking loudly) others when any person, animal or object within 100 metres twitches, sneezes or blinks.

Thank goodness, however, Shirpa didn’t care much for the thankless job of security guard; instead, he happily served as our surrogate child until the two Rotten Kids arrived, whereupon he dedicated his life to being a cherished member of the family.

Years later, we picked out Scamp, the deranged Shih Tzu, when we figured old Shirpa needed a companion in his final years. Also, we had Willow (a.k.a. Kitty) the barn cat by this time, and a singing bird named Peekaboo, so our house really was quite a zoo.

Scamp’s mission in life was to prove a dog can be crazy, weird, loving, lovable, dumb and smart all at the same time.

He would do anything for The Better Half and was obsessed with carrots.

By the time Shirpa had journeyed to the rainbow bridge, and Scamp got diabetes, and I had to give him his shots twice a day, we somehow adopted another dog.

Who adopts an eight-year-old dog when you already have an old dog and an old cat?

Scotty was a West Highland White Terrier and a beautiful specimen of those adorably cute characters you see in commercials and on dog food cans. His first family was going through a breakup and the dog needed a home. We couldn’t resist.

The first week at our house, Cement Head Scotty took after the cat and bled like a stuck pig as a result, peed on the furniture, and jumped up on the table and stole a sandwich right off a plate. Dog lovers, eh?

And now the dogs are all gone. But we have a rescue cat named Chicklet, who rolls over on her back and thinks she’s a dog, so that’s sort of close.

But I have a new friend. His name is Harold.

And next week, I’ll answer that burning question: “Who the heck is Harold?”

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. He can be reached at harleyhay1@hotmail.com.

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