I wanted to buy her a dog like the one I had as a youngster. But she said, "No way. not like Doc you've been telling me about all these years."
"Doc was a good pooch," I kept telling her. "He was black-and-white, part spaniel, part mutt and just because he wouldn't listen to me, you've been anti-dog ever since." Doc got his name from Doc Branaugh who gave us the pup. He was my dog, and disobedience was his middle name.
I could never break him from barking crazy-like at the Benedictine Sisters who walked by our house in full habit then. And he was real sneaky about accompanying me when I went to town – even though I told him to stay home.
He would give me a cocker spaniel look, signifying he understood my command. Then, when I was out of sight, he would high-tail it around the boulevard and meet me a couple blocks away.
He'd wag his tail and smile so much as to say "Howdy, bub, what took you so long to get here?" You couldn't get mad at a dog like that – but I did.
Eventually he went to a farmer friend. I think he was a friend before he got Doc.
There was a time when Phyllis wanted a dog – and she opted for a St. Bernard. She waited until I was out-of-town before she made a deal with a young man who was leaving the city and couldn't take his over-sized animal with him. My wife decided that Solo (for that was the St. Bernard's name) would be the perfect pet for us.
She enlisted our daughters, Jan and Jill, to help and together they brought Solo home to the farm where we were living at the time.
Now Solo had never seen chickens or sheep before, and he took out after them like a rampaging bull. Phyllis, who was holding his leash, went "water skiing" all over the lawn after him. I think she yelled "whoa boy!" several times – but I don't know because I wasn't there.
When they got the big dog calmed down, they took him in the house, where right away he spotted Pickles, our cat. Solo had never been around cats either, and he began to give chase.
Around and around the dining room table he went, the cat cowering under furniture and the hulking hound a half a foot taller than the tabletop.
Oh, I forgot to mention that St. Bernards drool a lot, and that added to the traumatic drama. Fortunately, Solo tired of the sport eventually and laid down in a puddle of spittle. That's when Phyllis made up her mind that she'd had enough, and her elephantine pooch would have to go back from whence he came.
I guess there were tears in her eyes yet when she met me at the airport and blubbered out the tale of her ordeal.
I was grateful that I wouldn't have to share her with a St. Bernard since I mistakenly told her before I left that she could have a dog – as long as it was one of those cask-carrying behemoths. I didn't think she would find one, let alone bring it home.
There was one advantage to her nightmare, however. I didn't ever hear anymore about Doc from that day forward. In her mind he was a cool pup compared to Solo and I didn't argue with her.
© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz