The Sassy Sandpiper: Dog Days
By M.R. Wilson, TB Reporter
These are the dog days of August. A perfect time to reminisce about man’s (and woman’s) best friend and, maybe, bring one home.
Before I was accidentally a crazy cat lady, I was a Dog Woman.
A tri-color Beagle puppy named Duchess, no bigger than my Dad’s sandal, started it all. She was whelped in late July the year I started second grade and loved our family for 12 years. Her tail was tipped with a white “flag,” which Dad dipped in redwood paint, as Duchess was too eager to “help” with the fence construction around our back yard. It took months to grow out white again.
Schultz was my first canine companion as an adult, a gift from a co-worker in Kansas City. He made a brave journey in a jet cargo hold when we relocated to St. Petersburg. True to his Dachshund nature, Schultz was fiercely loyal.
The very next day after I bade Schultz farewell, I adopted a 10-week old black Lab-mix. Good thing, too, as she was nearing the end of her allotted time at the shelter.
Scarlett did naughty “forever puppy” things, but her presence comforted me through some of the hardest times of my life. She was my Beastie Girl, Scarlett Hershey O’Dog. Slender and fast, approximating the “double suspension rotary gallop” of a greyhound, I believed with certainty Scarlett was a “lurcher”—the name applied to any dog crossed with a greyhound.
Honoring Scarlett’s heritage, I pledged my next dog would be a rescued greyhound.
Lady Jane, a petite fawn and charcoal brindle, came into my life through Gold Coast Greyhound Adoptions. She won two of her eight races during a short career on the track. Toward the end of her 13 years, she knew the coziness of cats, including Boa and her litter of six.
Just because I’m accidentally a crazy cat lady doesn’t mean I don’t miss my dogs terribly. My heart aches for them. A sign still hangs in the kitchen, “Home is Where the Dog Is.”
Maybe the spirits of Duchess, Schultz, Scarlett and Lady Jane bound through the house in a merry chase. Sometimes I still hear the click of toenails over the wood floors, or the jingle of tags on a collar.
I’d love to have another dog, but I’m not sure my heart could take it. Dogs touch me differently than cats do — dig in deep, circle ’round and ’round, and settle in. They need more, yet ask for less than cats do.
Or so it seems.
Lady Jane ran her last laps two years ago this month, giving “the dog days of August,” a particular connotation for me. The expression originally had nothing to do with dog tongues lolling in sweltering heat, but referred to observations by the ancient Greeks of the Dog Star, Sirius. Rising with the Sun in the constellation Canis Major from late July to about mid-August, the star might portend war or disaster.
Love not war? Pinellas County Animal Services offers special adoption fees during the Dog Days of August.
Sassy Sandpiper | Dogs | Pets | Greyhounds | Pet Adoption | Greyhound Rescue | Animal Services | TB Reporter
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