Monday, August 20, 2018

DOGGERS (Part Two of Two)

It was Harry Truman who said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get yourself a dog.”  Well, I have an even better idea, Mr. President, and it's called “get a spouse.” Friend, lover and so much more! With 300 million souls here in the USA, and Canada and Mexico nestled right next door, there's got to be somebody just right for you as there was for Charles Reilly, Sr., Charles Reilly, Jr., and Charles Reilly, III ! So do your own homework and start looking.

Years ago somebody in our extended family, probably young Jeffrey, started calling dogs “doggers”.  The name stuck and doggers they are to this day.

I mentioned in my preceding column that some people are 100% animal lovers and others less so. I am in the latter category.  I do not dislike doggers but I do not place them in the top drawer category along with sports and great-grandchildren. However, there were exceptions. “Shammy” was an exception.  She was a gentle Yellow Lab and my take-a-walk buddy on fair days and snow-on-the-ground days. We two marched the township. One hiking day I dropped my key ring with the car, house and whatever-else-was-important key on it. Trying to retrace my steps was not a treat I can tell you that. I was stumbling along on a hillside, muttering when Shammy pulled on the leash to the right side.  “Lo and behold !” as writers used to say. There was the ring with all those keys peeking out from a clump of snow. Shammy would have gotten a Guinness that day, save for the fact she did not drink or smoke.

Eventually, old age caught up with Shammy just as it does with all doggers and dogger-walkers. Joan and I will never forget the day when our sensitive veterinarian, St. George Hunt, picked her up in his little SUV and took her away. Shammy mournfully looked out the car window at the two of us. We three were a portrait of sadness. It is tough to tell even as I write these many years later.

Life grants us wonderful memories of loved ones who have passed on. It does the same thing for prized pets. Happily, we have a trunk-load of Shammy memories to take out and enjoy time and again.

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