came into my life the year after Mackey died. Our best guess is
that he was half Labrador and half Great Dane. He was part of a
litter of puppies delivered to the local pound. A friend of my step
father got him from the pound thinking he was a pure bred Labrador
retriever. When a Lab owning friend of his pointed out that the
puppy was either a lab cross or a poor quality Lab he no longer
wanted the puppy. My dad brought him home to be the family dog to
Dog was black with a
white patch on his chest and eventually grew to be about 27 -28
inches tall at the shoulder. He was about half grown when he came
to our house and once again I got the responsibility of caring for
him. Dog never got a real name at his previous house. He was just
The Dog. And somehow when he came to my parent's house, that became
Like Mackey, he lived
in the garage and back yard. But when I got my drivers license he
went with me just about everywhere. I have always been a loner and
I felt safer with him walking beside me in the woods and on the
beaches. I discovered he was excellent company on our walks.
I would describe Dog
as being friendly, low in aggression but insistent on being a pack
leader around other dogs. He did not want to fight to take over
the top spot. He just assumed it and was willing to share it. But
there were other dogs who wanted to be higher on the level than
him and became aggressive about it. I have never seen Dog start
a fight, but I did have to help separate him from occasional fights
started by other dogs. I learned to try to
judge other male dogs and keep him away from ones that looked
like they would be aggressive.
If I would to use one
word to describe his personality it would be Pride. He took pride
in everything he did and tried to do everything well.
Dog lived to retrieve
and he did it very well. The bigger the stick the better. He preferred
small rail road ties or large branches. If you threw a stick he
didn't deem worthy of his efforts, after locating it and judging
it unfit, he would look around and select a stick that was to his
If you were throwing
a stick he deemed acceptable, you could not throw it in a place
where he could not locate it. He might not be able to reach it but
he would locate it and bring it back if at all possible. He amazed
a lot of people by continually bringing back sticks thrown into
dense high chaparral. He also never tired of retrieving and had
been known to keep at it all day wearing out a succession of determined
When I moved away from
home, I took Dog with me as a matter of course. I moved into a house
on a working winery with some other people. Being one of the founding
members of the group I had my own bedroom. Dog started living in
the house and sharing my bedroom. I discovered that sharing the
inside of the house with a pet opened up a new dimension of pet
I could not afford to
stay in college until I got my degree so I alternated between working
full time, saving money for school and going to school full time
until I completed both of my degrees. During that time Dog and I
lived in a lot of different places in a lot of situations. He was
always there for me.
One place we moved into
around 1970 had stood empty for a couple of years and required a
lot of digging out to make livable. It had a very large mouse infestation.
I got out the traps and Dog just went hunting. He was a very effective
mouser having a total kill of around 30 mice by the time we moved
out a year later.
In 1972 Dog and I shared
a large Victorian with five other women and a Labrador retriever.
I was a full time student at Moss Landing Marine lab at the time.
One evening when we let the dogs out back before bed they were poisoned.
A dog poisoner had struck several houses in North Salinas and our
house unfortunately was one.
You never know when the
last minute with your dog will be. This time there was nothing that
I regretted other than his untimely demise and this dog shaped empty
spot in my heart. The only thing left undone was the rest of his
life and the additional love we would have shared.
Rescued from the
pound, then rescued again from someone who decided he didn't
want a dog that was not purebred.
The first dog I
lived with outside my parent's house.
He took pride in
everything he did and impressed even the most jaded of stick
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