Tag Archive | fetch

A Dog Person

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Skipper and Me

“Your Mom used to cry every time we watched Lassie on TV,” my brother told my kids recently.  I tried to think if I ever told my kids about that, but I couldn’t remember.  “She used to drive us crazy,” my brother snickered.

It was true.  I don’t know if my brothers wanted to watch the show with me or if they were just watching me to see if I would cry again.  I would always get through the show just fine, but it was at the end, when the music played, and Lassie just sat there looking at us from behind our TV set.  When Lassie held her paw up to wave good-bye was when I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I busted out the tears and howled so loud.  I was just so sad that I wouldn’t be able to see Lassie for another entire week.  My brothers laughed, and I vowed that the next Sunday night I would not cry, but I always did.

lassie photo lassie.jpg
Lassie Photo Courtesy of
Only One Jess @ Photobucket.com

This entire ruckus might have led Dad to bring home a dog. I can’t remember if I ever asked for one, but Dad brought home one anyway.  One of Dad’s co-workers wasn’t able to care for his dog any more, and that’s how we got Skipper.

When Dad told me about Skipper, I was scared.  I wasn’t really used to dogs.  They were okay to love when they were sitting on the other side of the TV screen, but having one close up was going to be a different story.  Thankfully, it wasn’t long before Skipper and I became friends.  Every night, Skipper sat and listened intently to all my stories as I brushed his brown fur in the back hallway.  Mom wasn’t very happy about having a dog, and that’s why Skipper was never allowed to go beyond the kitchen.  Skipper slept in the basement, and I made sure he had a bed.  Dad taught Skipper how to jump through his arms, roll over and play fetch.  With all the attention that we gave to Skipper, we were surprised that he didn’t stay around our home very long.  He would run away and be gone for days.  When he came back, he had cuts that were deep and bleeding or he had dried up blood on his fur all from a fight with some other dog, we guessed.  Mom nursed him back to health by cleaning him up with warm water soaks.  Skipper healed up, hung around a while longer, and then ran off again.  This scene was repeated over and over again.  One day Skipper ran off and never came back, and we never found out what happened to that dog.  😦  I still wonder…

After Skipper didn’t come home for a long while, I asked for another dog because I missed our conversations.  Unfortunately, it never happened in the family I grew up in.  I had to wait a long time, but I got to get my dog, Music, about 13 years ago.  I’ve written about our dog Music here and here just to name two times so far.  Music was my dog, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one because she was just like a person stuck inside a dog’s body.

Now we are lucky to have Lila, who is a real dog, acts like a real dog, and loves her Dad.

Lassie is where it all started.  It’s when I figured out I was a dog person.  When did you figure out what kind of pet person you are or did someone else have to figure it out for you?


Making Friends at the Dog Park

When I opened the door to the van to let Lila out, she almost got away from me.  I managed to grab her leash as she ran off to greet the other newcomers to the park.  I was thankful that my arm did not get dislocated as Lila pulled me along.  Lila greeted two leashed dogs as she circled around them and their mom managing to get her leash wrapped around the legs of the mom who was standing just outside of the gate.  

“Sorry,” I said, as I tried to untangle Lila’s leash from the lady’s legs.  Sometimes having a dog can put us in embarrassing situations, and this time I felt I was breaking the boundaries of closeness between humans.  I figured out that it would be best if I grabbed onto Lila’s collar.  I unfastened and refastened the leash and got it untangled without knocking anyone over.  The lady and her dogs were free to go into the park, and so were we. 

Thankfully, dogs can go off leash after entering the park.  Lila ran off to see the other dogs and humans.  Lila is often attracted to people who have a Chuckit Ball Launcher.  People pretend that they are not irritated by Lila retrieving the balls that belong to their dogs.   One time a man wanted to play Chuckit with his dog.  The man did fake throws to two labs.  Yes, Lila was one of them.  The labs did get faked out and ran for the non-existent ball that was nowhere to be found.  While they were happily running side by side in search of the ball, the man chuckled while he threw the real ball in the other direction to his dog.  The man did three fake throws before the labs realized what was going on. 

Chuckit Ball Launcher

Since I was slightly embarrassed by Lila running off and playing with others who had a Chuckit, I decided to buy one.  I thought we would have a lot of fun playing fetch together.  At first, Lila was very excited and she did a great job of playing.  Then the novelty wore off.

“Drop, drop,” I said to Lila as she firmly held the ball on one side of her mouth while her tongue hung out the other side.  She continued to walk around me, her eyes on mine, not dropping the ball.  I held the Chuckit Ball Launcher in my hand waiting to scoop up the ball.  I waited for her to drop that ball so that I could chuck it, but off she ran to greet a human who was walking along the path on the other side of the park. 

“Hi, Buddy,” the lady said in a very high voice as she petted the top of Lila’s head.  This is when Lila dropped the ball for that lady.  The lady bent over, picked up the ball and threw it in the center of the park without even using a Chuckit Ball Launcher.

“Jeez,” I thought to myself.  “I am the one who buys her food, buys her treats, makes sure she gets fed on time, lets her outside, takes her for long walks, takes her to the dog park with a brand new Chuckit Ball Launcher, and what does she do?  She goes off and plays with some other lady.  What about me?  Is she forgetting about the own members of her pack?  The ones who love and take care of her?”

Lila ran off to chase the ball and brought it back to the lady.  I decided to walk along the path too, my hands in my pockets, shoulders slumped, face to the ground, making sure not to step into any droppings, and feeling a little unloved.

Lila found me and pranced around as if reminding me that she did not forget about me, as she firmly clutched the ball, still not willing to drop it for me.  

As we walked along the path coming back towards the entrance, I met the lady who called Lila “Buddy.”

“My dog went over to you with the ball.  I can’t believe that she…”  I said, without saying hello first.

“Ya, my dog does that too.  Sometimes I go running after my dog trying to get the ball.  I know that you’re not suppose to do that, but I do,” the lady said.  “Your dog is so sweet and friendly.”

She bent down to pat Lila on the head, and her dog growled showing her jealousy.  I realized that I felt just like that dog!

What else can I do but chalk it up to Lila showing me how to make friends or could it be that she just likes to see me annoyed?