Dawn Watson/CNBNews Contributor
I began bringing dogs home in about 1972. I started with just two, Bennie and Schultz. Later, I added Winky, Mandy, Winky and Mandy’s puppies (no thoughts of spaying back in those days), and the list grew until I was overrun by canines. And loving it.
If anyone was listening to me while I was home “alone”, they’d hear a conversation something like this:
“Why did you do that? Yes, you! You know I’m talking to you, don’t look away. We agreed you wouldn’t do that anymore!”
Similarly, the listener might hear, “That’s good! I’m glad your attitude is better! You must be feeling proud of yourself right now! Great job!”
If you’re wondering why it’s a one-sided conversation, it’s because I haven’t taught my dogs to speak English. I tried, but they had problems with the consonants and got sulky.
I’ve sacrificed a lot for my dogs over the years. For example, it’s difficult to have visitors because several of my dogs are biters. A few friends will put up with the occasional flesh wound, but they aren’t happy about it. One of my pack, Chucha, is okay at first, but when he warms up to a person, he lets the individual know he or she belongs to him—by marking. Since that means the visitor ends up with a wet foot, I usually offer galoshes at the front door.
I haven’t had a rug on my floor in twenty-five years.
My dogs are very quiet—except when I leave the house. Then, the unholy chorus begins. It won’t end until I come home even if I’m gone for hours. They will bark themselves hoarse, then continue howling in a raspy, three-packs-a day baritone that rivals that of Wolfman Jack.
I spend most of my time and money caring for these tiny beings. I don’t really mind giving up a few extras in order to make their lives comfortable because they are great company even when they don’t answer me when I ask, “Who did that?”.
I love the unlovable; the biters, markers, the elderly dogs. The howlers and destroyers of furniture. Those that are time-stamped and hopeless. Why? Because for many of my years I too, was unlovable, or at least I felt that way.
Although I no longer foster, my life is still filled to the brim with my four-legged friends. I think it will always be so.
If you visit, I recommend that you watch where you step, wear heavy-duty slacks, and consider purchasing ear plugs.
Chucha is the little white one.
The galoshes are on the porch.
Pictured: Atah. Best dog ever. R.I.P.