One of my first posts was entitled ‘Sanctuary’ and that hinted at a dog. I am a dog lover and despite that post, loved that dog and the dogs I have owned since. The dog from the ‘Sanctuary’ post was named Turk and he… sadly to say… was not the brightest of K-9 companions. However, there were many times that I would sneak away to the corner of the yard and just talk to Turk. There was a corner of the yard that had landscaping and within that landscaping was a hiding spot. It wasn’t visible from the game-room door. Even if it were inspected closer, you couldn’t see me hiding inside.
During the time that we lived in that house, that was my haven within Jack A.’s home. I took great care that he wouldn’t find it and take it away. Back then, I didn’t know what he was… I didn’t know the extent of his (for lack of a better word) evilness. Something inside told me to keep that spot protected. It was like a small cave and I can’t describe how I got to it because that information is lost in the labyrinth of my mind. I remember crying many times… sobbing even… talking to Turk and he would sit there wagging his stub of a tail and he had a dopey grin on his face. Accepting everything I was telling him. Licking the tears from my dirt streaked face.
Turk was a Doberman and he was such a clown. He would get in ‘the pose’ when he wanted to play. Front end down, rear stuck up in the air. His nub just wagging at 90 mph to nothing. Waiting for me to throw the ball.
I felt and still feel horrible for blaming the ‘bite’ on him. He was my best friend, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
When we moved from that house, we moved outside of the major cities and I was given another dog. His name was Spot. He was a blind Australian Shepherd. I still remember Jack A. telling me that he picked Spot for me because of his disability. Jack A. told me that because of Spot’s birth defect, his previous owners would have had him put to sleep.
I am going to back up slightly to a certain point of time. I had already started school in a new city. Suzie was approximately two years old. I had gone to stay with Kim’s mom… Her name was Ruth… during a school vacation. My Grandma was being secretive. She had a smile on her face the entire 1 and 1/2 drive. I asked her what was going on since she was acting different than what she normally did. She wouldn’t tell me. She just had this smile on her face.
We pulled up to our gravel driveway. I jumped out of the car and opened the gate to the front porch. There was this little (very little) white puppy, with two blue eyes, running around. I squealed! Danced up and down. Scooped this puppy into my arms and kissed him. I carried him into the house and with tears in my eyes, thanked Jack A. and Kim for this new best friend. I notice immediately that there was something wrong with Spot. He kept running into furniture when in the house. I looked at Jack A. I asked him what was wrong with Spot. He told me that with Australian Shepherds, sometimes they are born blind. Spot had been born with two blue eyes and that meant that (according to breeding) he had been born blind. Upon closer inspection, I found that there was disfiguration in his eyes. Where there should have been normal spherical shapes, there were squares. Lopsided squares that showed there was something different with Spot.
I didn’t treat him with any difference. I just decided that he needed extra attention. Extra love.
I taught Spot how to walk without a leash. I trained him to walk next to my leg and to listen for my voice. He learned to keep his side pressed to my leg as I walked. When he got older (Suzie was three and I was thirteen) Jack A. surprised my mom with a second dog. She was a blue-tip great dane. Her name was Bess. The story that I remember from Jack A. was that Bess had been abandoned. Her owners didn’t want her. Kinda like Kim didn’t want me. She was a protector. Strong but soft. She gave the best hugs… and she was tall enough to make eye contact with me. This story is about Bess.
There was a day where Bess got sick. Bess got so sick. She laid down and wouldn’t get up. Her stomach swelled. I sat outside with her the whole time. With the exception of running inside and telling Jack A. that Bess was sick. He looked at me without flinching, telling me that we didn’t have the money to take her to the vet. Without knowing that he meant to let her die in the backyard, I went back outside. I sat beside her. I coaxed her from the shed (where I had slept for a week when ‘grounded’) to under her favorite shade tree. She laid there, breathing shallowly. In and out. Eventually, she stopped breathing. I cried and went to tell Jack A. about it. Animal control came and loaded her into their truck. I screamed inside. Screamed and screamed and screamed at the confines of my mind that it wasn’t fair. That someone should notice something wrong with Jack A. He let Bess lay there and suffer until it was time for her to stop breathing.
I remember the flies. The flies congregated around Bess after she died. I chased them away. I was angry at Jack A. Somehow, this instance with Jack A. was almost as hurtful as some of the beatings he inflicted. Bess was helpless like me. She was left to die and for whatever reason I survived.