I caught an advancing blur moving in from the left, and the next thing i knew, i was down on the ground, the Great Dane ripping holes in the neck of my sweater. The camera flashed, and my mother roared, "God, i love that trick.". I rolled over to protect my face. "It's not a trick.". She snapped another picture. "Oh, don't be so critical. With us grown and out of the house, my sisters and I reasonably expected our parents' lives to stand still.
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"Here, you missed a spot on the back of your head.". Among us children, melina's diploma from obedience school was seen as the biggest joke since our brother's graduation from Sanderson High School. "So she's not book smart our mother said. I can fetch my own goddamned newspaper.". The dog's growth was monitored on a daily basis, and every small accomplishment was captured on film. One could find few pictures of my sister Tiffany, while melina had entire albums devoted to her terrible twos. "Hit me my mother said on one of my return visits from Chicago. "no, wait, let me get my camera." She left the room and returned a few moments later. Better yet, why don't you just pretend to hit me?". I raised my hand and my mother cried out in pain. This stranger is trying to hurt me, and I don't know why.".
"It's for her, you know, her. My father was retired, but the dog had business. I was living in Chicago when they first got Melina, and every time i came home, the animal was bigger. Every time there were more marmaduke cartoons on the refrigerator, proposal and every time my voice grew louder as i asked myself, "Who are these people?". Advertisement - continue reading Below, advertisement - continue reading Below "Down, girl my parents would chuckle as the dog jumped up, panting for my attention. Her great padded paws reached my waist, then my chest and shoulders, until eventually, her arms wrapped around my neck and her head towering above my own, she came to resemble a dance partner scouting the room for a better offer. "That's just her way of saying hello my mother would say, handing me a towel to wipe off the dog's bubbling seepage.
"Now let's go try it on the living-room floor.". My father loved the Great Dane for her size, and frequently took her on long, aimless drives during which she'd stick her heavy, anvil-sized head out the window and leak great quantities of foamy saliva. Other drivers pointed and stared, rolling down their windows to shout, "hey, you got a saddle for that thing?" When they went out for a walk, there was the inevitable "Are you walking her, or is it the other way around?" "ha, ha our father. The attention was addictive, and he enjoyed a pride of accomplishment he'd never felt with any of his children. It was as if he were somehow responsible for her size and stature, as if he'd personally designed her spots and trained her to grow to the size of a pony. When out with the dog, he carried a leash in one hand and a shovel in the other. "Just in case he said. "Just in case what? She dies of a heart attack and you need to bury her?" I didn't get.
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He'd never afforded her much attention, but her impending death alerted in reviews him a great sense of duty. He was holding her paw when she died, and he spent the next several weeks asking us how many dogs could say they'd lived in a redwood house. Our mother, in turn, frequently paused beside my father's tattered, urine-stained golf bag grammar and relived memories of her own. After spending a petless year with only one child still living at home, my parents visited a breeder and returned with a great Dane they named Melina. They loved this dog in proportion to her size, and soon their hearts had no room for anyone else. The house was given over to the dog, rooms redecorated to suit her fancy.
Enter your former bedroom and you'd be told, "you'd better not let Melina catch you in here or, "This is where we come to pee-pee when there's nobody home to let us outside, right, girl?". Advertisement - continue reading Below, the dog was my parents' first true common interest, and they loved her equally, each in their own way. My mother's love tended toward the horizontal, a pet being little more than a napping companion, something she could look at and say, "That looks like a good idea. Scoot over, why don't you." A stranger peeking through the window might think that the two of them had entered a suicide pact. She and the dog sprawled like corpses, their limbs arranged into an eternal embrace. "God, that felt good my mom would say, the two of them waking for a brief stretch.
The third passed into a disagreeable old age and died hissing at the kitten who had prematurely arrived to replace her. When, at the age of seven, the fourth cat was diagnosed with feline leukemia, my mother was devastated. Advertisement - continue reading Below, advertisement - continue reading Below "I'm going to have sadie put to sleep she said. "It's for her own good, and I don't want to hear a word about it from any of you. This is hard enough as.".
The cat was put down, and then came the anonymous postcards and crank phone calls orchestrated by my sisters and. The cards announced a miraculous new cure for feline leukemia, while the callers identified themselves as representatives of Cat Fancy magazine. "We'd like to use sadie as our cover story and were hoping to schedule a photo shoot. Can you have her ready by tomorrow?". We thought a kitten might lift our mother's spirits, but she declined all offers. "That's it she said. "My cat days are over.". When Mädchen Two developed splenic tumors, our father dropped everything and ran to her side. Evenings were spent at the animal hospital, lying on a mat outside of her cage and adjusting her.
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"we ought to get a dog we'd sometimes say, completely forgetting that we yardage already had one. She came inside to eat, but most of her time was spent out in the pen, slumped in the a-frame doghouse my father had designed and crafted from scrap pieces of redwood. "hey he'd ask, "how many dogs can say shredder they live in a redwood house?" This always led to my mother's exhausted "Oh, lou, how many dogs can say that they don't live in a goddamned redwood house?". Throughout the collie and shepherd years, we had a succession of drowsy, secretive cats who seemed to share a unique bond with our mother. "It's because i open their cans she said, though we all knew it ran deeper than that. What they had in common was their claws. That and a deep-seated need to destroy my father's golf bag. The first cat ran away, and the second was hit by a car.
We weren't short wild about the name but considered ourselves lucky that Cindy wasn't studying one of the harder-to-pronounce Asian languages. Advertisement - continue reading Below, when she was six, mädchen was killed by a car. Her food was still in the bowl when our father brought home an identical German shepherd, whom the same cindy thoughtfully christened Mädchen Two. This tag-team progression was disconcerting, especially for the new dog, who was expected to possess both the knowledge and the personality of her predecessor. "Mädchen One would never have wet the floor like that my father would scold, and the dog would sigh, knowing she was the canine equivalent of a rebound. Mädchen Two never accompanied us to the beach and rarely posed in any of the family photographs. Once her puppyhood was spent, we more or less lost interest.
on half a dozen peakish hamsters but failed to work on my first guinea pig, who died after eating a couple of cigarettes and an entire pack of matches. "Don't take it too hard my mother said, removing her oven mitts. "The world is full of guinea pigs. You can get another one tomorrow.". Eulogies always tended to be brief, our motto being "Another day, another collar.". A short time after Duchess died, our father came home with a german shepherd puppy. For reasons that were never explained, the privilege of naming the dog went to a friend of my older sister's, a fourteen-year-old girl named Cindy. She was studying German at the time, and after carefully examining the puppy and weighing it with her hands, she announced it would be called Mädchen, which apparently meant "girl" to the volks back in the vaterland.
When it plan looked as though one of them had died, our mother placed the creature in a casserole dish and popped it into the oven, like the witch in "Hänsel and Gretel." "Oh, keep your shirts on she said. "It's only set on 200. I'm not baking anyone; this is just to keep him warm.". The heat revived the sick puppy and left us believing our mother was capable of resurrecting the dead. Faced with the responsibilities of fatherhood, rastus took off. The puppies were given away, and we moved south, where the heat and humidity worked against a collie's best interests. Duchess's once beautiful coat now hung in ragged patches. Age set in and she limped about the house, clearing rooms with her suffocating farts.
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Published in the march 2000 issue "that's it my mother said after having sadie put to sleep. "my cat days are over.". In the early sixties, during what my mother referred to as the "tail end of the lassie years my parents were given two collies they named Rastus and Duchess. We were living in upstate new York, out in the country, and the dogs were free to race through the forest. They napped in meadows and stood knee-deep in frigid streams, costars in their own private dog-food commercial. According to our father, anyone could tell that the two of them were in love. Advertisement - continue reading Below, late one evening, while lying on a blanket in the garage, duchess gave birth to a litter about of slick, potato-sized puppies.