Good Dog, Joe

We didn’t have pets when I was growing up. I brought a free dog home once. My dad took one look at the puppy’s gigantic paws and made me take him back. I don’t remember what type of dog he was, but Dad said he would be too big. I remember being sad.

When our son was ten, he and I were at our local flea market. He was looking around at everything, and I was digging through books. He tried to get me to come with him to see a dog. I put him off a couple of times, but he seemed so upset over the dog, I finally went to look. It was a German Shepherd puppy. He sat away from the other puppies in the corner of the pen. The dog looked so sad, I could see why our son’s heart went out to him.

A few hours later, we were the owners of our first dog, and two days later, we found out why he looked so sad. He was on death’s doorstep, and only a very large vet bill saved his life. He ended up being a very sweet, gentle dog and definitely a member of the family.

He was such a joy, we wanted him to have a brother. That hound dog over there to the right? That’s Joe, and he was the best dog ever. Both of those dogs were like children, but Joe was practically human. He knew exactly how to tell you what he wanted, he was always cheerful, and when I cried, he cried. I never knew how much joy two dogs could bring.

We got a little carried away and later added a beagle to the mix. A second beagle was rescued, and we couldn’t bring ourselves to tell family that we had four dogs in the house! Crazy dog people.

I’ll spare you the sad details, but many years later, we are down to one beagle – the first one that we brought home. He’s just a dog. Where the two big dogs had such huge personalities and were like children, the beagle is happy to see you for a minute, and then he’s off looking for something to get into.

I miss the other dogs, but especially Joe. I think about him every day. The two older dogs died within 30 days of each other, and it was a very hard time. Last December, I had several dreams where it seemed the two dogs came to me. I didn’t dream about them, they came to me to see me. It was so distressing, it reduced me to tears. I had to search online to see if it happened to other people, too. It did.

What better way to immortalize that wonderful hound dog, Joe, than to put him in my upcoming book. I talked with my niece yesterday, and she’ll start working on the cover soon. I gave Joe’s picture to her so he can share the spotlight on the cover. I’ve already written him in as a focal point in two chapters, and he’s going to accomplish some heroic feats as well.

Good dog, Joe.