One of my fondest childhood memories is my first puppy. Sparky was a purebred Dalmatian and although her name was anything but original, our friendship was.
I was always a very serious young man growing up. On the dairy farm fun usually wasn’t on the agenda, unless you count spraying down the parlor as a good time. But Sparky made me a kid.
We would take the longest walks through the field and out to the woods. She stuck up for me when a stranger visited the farm and I would stick up for her when the neighbor shot her with a BB gun for getting into his chickens. I will never forget those times of my life.
I have mentioned on more than one occasion that my kids, now 9 and 6, don’t quite have the upbringing that I had. We live in a suburb and their school bus ride is only a few minutes, unlike my 1-hour trip that was mostly spent doing my homework. But my wife and I are just about ready to have a chat with the kids about getting a puppy. For Angela it’s responsibility, learning lessons and blah blah blah…for me WE’RE GETTING A PUPPY! Yep I’m a kid again already!
We got a bit of a view of how my son, Calvin, may handle a new K-9 family member the other day when a dog got loose and made her way to our part of the neighborhood. We gave the pup, which we later learned was named Ruby, a hot dog and a bowl of water and then played and played until we wore each other out. But boy was my boy happy. Just smiling wider than I have ever seen him smile, although I remember that grin from 30 years ago.
The owners were driving around, feverishly looking for Ruby while Calvin and I were putting up Found signs in the area and we led them back to our back yard to reclaim the beautiful, friendly animal they had lost. You can tell that Calvin was happy that Ruby was going back home, but disappointed that she couldn’t stay. I have to admit that I was a bit sad too, but I do look forward to the day that our back yard will be home for one very lucky four-legged friend that will have built in playmates ready to make memories all over again.