Doglet is the first dog I've had of my own, and I got her when she was just a pup. Well, in my mid-20s, I was just a pup, too.
When I was growing up, we had several dogs for hunting--bird dogs or coon dogs-- but only once did we have a family dog that I felt some affinity for, and that was the only fur-bearing pet mom ever allowed in the house. Well, there was that Betta fish my brother had for, like, 6 years, but he didn't do cuddly. Then there was the kitten mom let me "have" when I was 4 in Mississippi, but kitty couldn't come in the house, so one night kitty disappeared, and I would pitifully ask the mailman every day to check in the blue mailbox at the end of the street to see if my kitty was stuck inside.
We lived in the Memphis area, and a family we knew were moving to Texas and didn't want to take their poodle, Peppy, with them, so they bequeathed him on us. Peppy was sweet and probably a bit of a dim bulb in the way a small over-bred variety of poodle can be. He was a loving little beast, but he was sort of a tofu dog - he sorta took on whatever flavor you projected on him.
We didn't have a fenced yard, so sometimes we'd just let him outside on his own. One night he was at the door begging us to let him out at almost my bedtime, and it was very cold. I was in a thin little cotton nightdress with pastel embroidered flowers, and I remember begging my mother to let me take Peppy out and put him on the chain that was staked in front, but she wouldn't let me because it was late and too cold, I wasn't dressed, etc. I was about 9.
So, in the way that things always seemed so often to go wrong for me in my childhood, Peppy wasn't out the door 5 seconds before we heard the brakes of the VW Beetle squeal on the pavement in front of our house. I looked out the door, and everything looked black and white except that incongruously, cheerfully yellow car beneath the streetlamp, Peppy's lifeblood spreading black on the pavement.
Peppy was hit and probably killed instantly - though I never asked. Naturally, I was inconsolable.
[gawd, more than 30 years ago and I'm misting up over this(what a sap!), and the whole point of this story is actually funny, believe or not. wait for it.]
I went in my bedroom and threw myself facedown on the bed and squalled myself to sleep. It was a shitty little moment.
My brother, one year older, went with my dad to do away with Peppy. No backyard service for our dearly departed pet, no breaking up frozen earth to bury him. I never asked what they did with him, but my brother told me several years ago, and I just couldn't stop laughing. Here's what he told me:
They drove out to the municipal landfill, which at that time of night was closed, naturally. However, around this dump was about a 30' fence. They drove along the fence a ways until dad divined the perfect spot. Dad got out of the car and carried Peppy by the scruff, poor thing.
What happened next, the way my brother describes it, was what made me laugh until my sides ached, laugh until tears streamed down my face. I'm just glad he waited 20-some years to tell me about it, because the loss was still too fresh. It was just so funny that out of this tragic situation where I'd lost what amounted to an animated pillow came one of those seminal moments where my brother stood in awe of the physical power of our dad.
Dad carried the pitiful carcass by the scruff, and walked into a shadow. Brother saw him draw back Peppy in his right hand - the wind-up, and then up, up and away went Peppy. Let's just say that sweet chariot didn't need to swing very low to pick up this passenger. Brother said that dog not only cleared the fence, but seemed to go up forever, and that he was amazed to see that doughy ball of fur was so aerodynamic.
I got over Peppy. Peppy wasn't mine mine all mine. Doglet, however, is mine in a way I'll never possess another person or pet, and I'm wondering if you only get one of those in a lifetime. I just hope I don't have to lose her soon. Needless to say, I won't rely on my dad for arranging her disposal.
Now, my sister(9 years younger than me) is obviously the genius of the family. She had a way of manipulating mom (the one who especially hates furry things in the house) that was pure poetry. I was in high school, and sister begged for a puppy for years. At that point, I was interested in other things and indifferent to the idea of getting a pet, but I did marvel at what finally made mom relent and get sister a dog.
Sister talked about a dog constantly, and pouted, sulked, screamed and threw fits, but nothing worked until the day she adopted Fred.
Fred was a housefly sister found dead on a window sill. Sister made a cozy little home for Fred in a shoebox, and Fred and his shoebox were then her constant companions. Road trip? Not without Fred. Fred and his shoebox went everywhere with the family.
Needless to say, several months of exhibitionistic doting on Fred paid off. Mom relented and let sister have Fluffy, a pretty little American Eskimo pup. Fred was quickly forgotten.