This post is part 8 in a 15 week series sponsored by Mommy's Piggy Tales that encourages women to record their youth.
Sometime before my 6th grade year, our dog ran away. He was my brother's dog and Sam was always a runner. Out in the country, he would bolt every time the door opened and often mocked us as we chased him, coming just close enough to grab him before he ran off in the opposite direction. In the country, we didn't worry about him wandering too far, though, and there wasn't a lot of traffic to be concerned with, either.
After we moved to town, however, his running away became more of a problem. He would bolt into the street without looking both ways (stupid dog) and we were always fearful of him being picked up by the pound. Sam was a mixed breed, medium to medium small, but he still managed to climb the chain link fence or dig underneath to follow his call of the wild. And follow he did. Since he was never neutered, he was literally being driven crazy by all the females and found a way out whenever nature called.
Well, one fateful summer, while Erik was away at church camp, Sam ran away and never returned. I remember visiting the pound to look for him, without any luck. I mourned his loss, as did my brother, I am sure.
After a year or so passed, my parents were persuaded to get another dog; this time it would be my dog, and I was ecstatic. We started by calling the Humane Society, who would link us up to a family looking to get rid of their dog.
We got the first call. A black cocker spaniel a short distance away was needing a good home. I wasn't partial to any breed, so we jumped in the car and drove to the next town to meet the dog.
His name was Bud. (Remember the Budweiser dog from the commercials in the 90's?) And while I wasn't crazy about his name, I distinctly remember thinking it would be rude to the family to say I didn't want him, and ever-optimistic that we would bond instantly, we loaded him up into the car. I jumped into the backseat with him as my Dad got into the driver's seat. Bud decided he liked the front bench seat better, so he bounded over and turned back and placed his paws on the seat, facing me. Dad had started to back out of the driveway when I playfully scratched Bud behind his ears. The next thing I know, Bud yipped and bit at my face, then retreated. I screamed and my dad stopped and turned the lights on as a look of horror settled on his face. I touched my nose and instantly saw the bright red blood that stained my hands.
Obviously, we returned the dog to his owners. I was rushed to the hospital and cleaned up and given shots, even though the dog was up to date on his vaccinations. I had 2 long scratches down my nose and Bud had grabbed my upper lip, biting it and causing it to swell into an enormous lump.
I felt fine, and dad and I drove home. My mom was gone that night, and returned home after I was in bed. I remember her telling me she just about cried when she checked in on me that night and saw the extent of my cuts. We heard that Bud did the same to the next family that visited, so he was put down shortly thereafter.
The cuts weren't pretty, but by Monday the swelling had gone down considerably in my lip, and mom let me wear makeup to conceal the cuts to school on Monday. The following Friday was school pictures and while I still wore makeup, I can detect the long, thin scars on my nose. No one else could really notice, but I still had my 15 minutes of fame in the class for such an exciting story.
A few months passed and when my parents were certain I wasn't forever petrified of dogs, the talk about getting another one began. I was fairly certain Iwanted a puppy who would grow up loving me and would no longer be threatened with having my face bit off. Easter weekend came and my brother was coming home from college. I was so preoccupied with being excited to see him, I didn't think much about my parent's suspicious behavior.
They called me outside to tell me there was an Easter basket for me. When I went out into the front yard, my dad was holding a small, white, puffy little puppy that he had just picked up for me. I was ecstatic. She was adorable and cuddly and everything you could want in a puppy. I named her "Pebbles" and she became my obsession for years to come.
I got that same feeling of excitement and possibility when Dan and I adopted our current dog, Sadie. It may be trite, but there is something special about a kid and her dog and I will never forget the good years that Pebbles and I had together.