Thursday, August 10, 2006

Another of our “cast of thousands” is a Dalmatian named Pooh (above, in our "garden room", which is a nice name for the screened in patio-type room where our tools and lawnmowers live, kind of like a mud room). He actually belongs to our son, but he’s my baby. Our son got him when he was about 9 years old (our son, not Pooh), and named him Mr. Body (he was big into Clue at that point in time). I must tell you that our son has always had a creative flair when it comes to naming pets. We have had cats named “ABC”, "123" and “Doughnut”. The cat that he has now (I’ll tell you more about this cat later) is named “Pizza Puss”. He came by that name because when we got him (my son was 7 at that time), he thought that his orange fur looked like cheese on a pizza. But, I digress. The dog’s real name is Mr. Body. But I call him Pooh. OK, sometimes Pooh Dog, Pooter, and/or Pooter Dooter (how embarassing-must I tell all of the strange things that we say and do?).

Pooh came to live with us about 11 years ago. I had told my son that he could get a dog. We already had a Beagle and a Golden Retriever, but he wanted a dog of his own. So when he was visiting his father, 100 miles away, they got a puppy. A four week old puppy. When he returned from his weekend with his dad, they brought the puppy back to Shreveport. I couldn’t do anything about it, because there we were, 100 miles away from the puppy’s mother. He was a teeny little dog. He could actually fit in the palm of your hand. I had to get up every two hours, warm canned dog food mixed with milk and feed it to him. This went on for several weeks, until he got big enough to eat regular food on his own. Because of this early bonding, Pooh thinks that I am his mother. He got the name “Pooh” exactly the way you would think that he did. He was so little, he couldn’t go out to use the bathroom. At four weeks old, the mother dog is still cleaning the puppies up herself. They are not housebroken at this point in time. So, I guess that I said something to Mr. Body about being a little “poo poo puppy" (notice how that rolls off of your tongue), and it just stuck. I added the h when I had to tell the vet his name. Pooh will come to our son if he calls him Mr. Body (our son refuses to call him Pooh), but not to anyone else. An interesting aside here is that the Golden Retriever, who was about 15 years old, who had never had a littler of puppies and who had been spayed, let Pooh nurse on her. And amazingly, she got milk in. Pretty soon she had not only Pooh nursing, but several cats as well.

As you can probably tell from the picture above, Pooh is not the sharpest tool in the shed. He gets confused quite easily. Pooh is also the wussiest dog on the planet. He is afraid of everything. The cats, Bad Little Dog, thunder, the doorbell, the vacuum, fireworks, flashlights, pretty much any noise or unusual occurrence. A few times the three dogs have gotten out of our fenced-in yard. The other two dogs go on a world tour, which causes us great worry and a canvass of the neigborhood, leaning out of the rolled down car window calling their names. Where is Pooh, you ask? On the front porch. Sitting by the door. He takes the trouble to get out of the fenced yard, then is too scared to go anywhere, and just sits on the porch and waits for us to return home.

Pooh is also the sweetest, most gentle dog I have ever known. He loves everyone and everything. He is very protective of the very cats that he is afraid of. If another cat somehow gets into the yard and tries to fight one of the outside cats, Pooh gets courage from somewhere deep inside and chases the intruder from the yard. He is also extremely protective of me. If I am sick and have to stay in bed, he begs to be let in the bedroom with me, and he will stay there, at the end of the bed, for days, until I am well, only leaving to eat and go out to relieve himself. You see why I love my Pooh Dog.

I worry because Pooh is getting more and more neurotic by the day, and I wonder if he isn't having doogy mental problems or maybe little doggy strokes. He has recently started getting extremely anxious for no apparent reason. He will come to me, shaking, insist on climbing on top of me, not just next to me, but literally on top of me, and whining. There is nothing obviously wrong with him, and even once he gets on top of me, he continues to be anxious, whining and shaking. Then in a little while he is back to his old self. I don't know why he is doing this, but if anyone has an answer or theory, please let me know. I hate the thought of Pooh getting old and dying, but I know that one day it will happen. I just love him as much as I can now, so that when it happens, I won't worry that he didn't know that I loved him. I know that I will miss him, but I'll always be thankful for the time that I did have with my sweet Pooh Dog.


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