On dogs

I read another blogger’s post recently where he was reminiscing about his best dog ever.  That got me to thinking about my best dog and I realized that I’ve never written about her, nor do I have any pictures of her.

Brunie (short for Brunehilda) was a brown female dachshund that we got from a family member when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old.  She was smart, loving, and full of energy; all the things you might want in a small boy’s pet.  Brunie was an outside dog since my mother was adamantly opposed to any animal ever coming in the house.  When a cousin came to visit one time and brought along her own dog (an inside dog), I thought my mother was going to have a cow!  But that’s another story.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, our yard contained pecan trees, plum trees, grape vines, and fig trees.  These food crop trees were in constant peril from marauding squirrels, and I was aided in my on-going defense mission by the ever vigilant Brunie.  She positively HATED squirrels, and no squirrel ever got into our yard that Brunie was unaware of.  I recall her sitting on her haunches with her eyes locked upwards for long periods of time waiting for some furry interloper to grow weary of hiding and make a run for it. Her patience was unwavering, and her enthusiasm for the hunt was unflagging. 

Brunie never had the benefit of formal training, but she would always come when called since she was such a loving little dog.  But there was one situation where you could expect Brunie to ignore you: when there was another dog around.  She would positively go nuts if another dog came into our yard.  If she saw another dog, you could forget trying to control her – all she could think about was getting to that other dog so she could make friends.

There came the day when we were in the front yard decorating the house for Christmas. The front gate was open (as it usually was) and we lived on a busy highway.  Bruine was of course hanging out in the front yard with me and my parents as we worked.  That is until she saw some other dog running alongside the road on the opposite side.  No amount of yelling or screaming could stop her as she headed out the gate at high speed; directly under the wheels of a passing car.

I saw the whole thing unfold very clearly from my perch on a ladder as I was handing lights up to my dad on the roof.  The car never even slowed down. Brunie was horribly injured but somehow was still alive.  Daddy suggested that the thing to do was to put Brunie out of her misery, but eleven year-old GunRights4US begged for her to be taken to the vet. 

To this day I do not know where my family came up with the money for what must have been a tremendous bill.  Brunie spent many days in the animal hospital, and this was a time when our family was struggling to make ends meet financially.  But somehow they managed it - my folks strongly believed in paying their bills!

Brunie was paralyzed from the waist down, and she had to drag herself along the ground.  But she was alive, and she was the same sweet and loving dog that meant the world to me.  For many months we worked with her trying to exercise her legs in an attempt to keep the muscles from atrophying.  But it was not until we got another dachshund puppy named Yippy that Brunie was motivated to try walking again. 

I no longer remember how long that whole process was, from the time of the accident until the time when Brunie recovered the ability to walk.  My parents are both dead now so there’s no one to ask about it.  I’m sure it was over a year – certainly a very long time.  But she did finally regain the use of her legs.  Her tail never wagged again, but you didn’t need that indicator of how happy Brunie was anyway.  You could see the love and the joy in her face!

I recall my mother being particularly glad at Brunie’s recovery because of how often Brunie would drag herself into the woods behind Yippi, and then get stuck somewhere.  Yippy would come to the back door and bark until it got Mama’s attention, and then Mama would go looking for Brunie and have to carry her back to the yard. 

One day I came home from school and there was no Brunie to greet me.  I looked everywhere but I couldn’t find her.  I asked Mama and Daddy, but they claimed ignorance.  This process went on for a few days; I would come home and search for my dog, and then question my parents.  Something about the way they were acting gave me cause to suspect that they weren’t being wholly truthful.  Finally my father admitted that he had found Brunie beside the road, and this time there was no vet that could help.  She had obviously been hit by a car and apparently killed instantly.  I cried for a long time, and the memory of that loss still brings an ache to my heart even forty years later. 

The thought occurs to me that God was indeed wise to provide man with a pet that could give so much unconditional love.  Thinking of my little furry friend from long ago, I reach down and pet my current little furry friend, a black miniature dachshund named Chopstick – and I am thankful.  


Brock Townsend said...

Wonderful words. Thanks.

Sparky said...

Boy, this brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you've shared this. I love dogs. Poor little Brunie but at least y'all had her for awhile and she knew your love too. She had a happy life too. It's so hard losing our beloved pets. I've got a dog now that is on her last legs (no pun intended). It's killin' me watching her go downhill. [sigh]

God bless ~:)

(Sorry I don't pop by very often. I don't like seeing Johnny Cash in that pose. I prefer remembering him in a nicer light.)

Lantry said...

You were a lucky kid to have such a dog. If God were one for haggling, He'd have let me trade a year off the end of my life to add it to the end of my dog's.

Between you and Garand Girl y'all may get me to buy a case of Kleenex out and write about him.

You can learn a lot about God from a dog.