Oscar is kind of a funny name and it fit you. Other than a
Dachshund, I had never seen a two-foot long dog with such short
legs. You were built completely differently from any breed.
Shaggy, with fur hanging over your eyes and a curly tail, I
couldn't help but smile when I saw you. The adoption center said
you were a Lhasa Apsa mix with a Bichon Friese. You weren't fully
grown but we were familiar with both breeds and figured you
wouldn't grow much. I should have paid more attention to your
The Humane Society said that you had been returned by two
former owners. Both had loved you. One had returned you because
of your behavior. The second because they didn't want a custody
battle for you in their divorce case. We fell in love with you at
first sight because you looked so much like Heather, our Cockapoo
for more than twelve years.
Our warm feelings cooled a bit when you chewed through a
twenty- five dollar leash on the way home. We bought you another
one and you did the same thing. The third lasted for five years
even though it was chewed half-way through. The animal-control
officer used it when she led you away for the last time.
I've never had a pet that I loved and hated as much as you,
though now it seems it was mostly love. You chewed up a
two-hundred dollar postcard someone had bought from eBay and I
wanted to kill you. You barked when you were outside and made the
neighbors mad. And you had an aggressive streak that came out
when we tried to take a sock away from you. You even would go so
far as to bite. That's what got you in trouble. That and your
On the other hand your hangdog Eyesore personality would come
out, too. And even though you weighed thirty-five pounds you were
convinced you were a lap-dog and insisted on sitting in our laps
when we read or watched TV. Like Heather, you even had to perch
in my lap when I was driving. Not very safe, but endearing. There
was no privacy when we went into the bathroom, you always went in
with us or pushed the door open. That wasn't so great in winter
when the rest of the house was cold. Even so, we enjoyed your
company. But why on earth did you like to lick my bathwater? You
were funny looking. Your ears were almost long enough that I
could tie them together over your head. But you were glamorous,
too. Your long eyelashes would have made Betty Davis jealous.
Best of all, you never lacked for affection. I don't know how
many times I woke up winter mornings cuddling against you.
I suppose that your protective streak had to lead to the final
blow. The backyard gate never closed right and we had to tie it
to keep Barrette, our daughter's dog, from pushing it open. We
didn't always get it right and you sometimes escaped. Once too
often, I'm afraid. You got out and a woman who was jogging came
too close to the house. You bit her and that sealed your fate.
Fortunately I was with the woman in the hospital when the Animal
Control Officer came to the house to take you away.
I'll always remember our walks and how much your heeling had
improved. I still get a smile when I remember when I told you to
find Barrette, the dog, and you came back with the rubber cow we
had just given you. There are so many other memories, painful
now. I just want you to know how much I miss and love you. Thank
you for the interesting years you spent with us. And have fun
playing with Heather in Doggie Heaven.
John Anderson is a retired stamp and collectible dealer. He is
also an unabashed animal lover and sentimentalist. His novel, The
Cellini Masterpiece, is published under the pen name of Raymond
John. Yes, there's an animal in it. A stray cat that the hero
adopts. If you would like to read the first chapter of the book,
or if you have a question or comment for John, please log on to http://www.cmasterpiece.com
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