There was a time, before agility, that I wasn’t really involved in dogs at all. I have a childhood dog who is still alive& well. His name is Squirt& he’s a 6lb Yorkie mix. He didn’t make the transition with me from living with my parents to living with my boyfriend. We tried for a little while but then we got Penny& she was like a hurricane. Plus, you have to walk up a lot of stairs to get where we live ..which lead to Squirt needing to be carried a lot. Granted, he weighs 6lbs so that’s not exactly exhausting.
Squirt is the dog that I took to 4-H but I never really mastered anything great with him. He is the kind of family dog that could never be let off leash because he would never come back. He shows his love by chewing off the hand that so much as goes near him if he has food. Snuggle? No. He is, however, the toughest dog I know. Seriously. He got attacked by a big dog AND a fox (no lies!) so now he walks a little funny& his IQ is lower than before. He also made a fabulous low maintenance dog in terms of actually paying attention to him. That is fading now that he’s old and whiny. He was always game to get in my photos& pose ..as long as there was food involved for him.
When he was younger, I trained him to jump a 3ft baby gate my parents put up to keep him out of the living room. He’d just hop right over it from a standstill on one signal from me. It frustrated my parents when they discovered what I’d taught him. I also had a pretty sketchy setup in the woods of jumps& we used to make him do all kinds of bizarre things ..always on leash. Or else we never would have seen him again.
Squirt saw me& my best girlfriends through our first year of university ..I think he enjoyed drinking up all the spills we had as the night wore on. He attended every party in my parents basement (there were a lot) and honestly? I think he was the reason most people showed up! He saw me through bad hair, bad eyebrows, awkward years (they were long), strange relationships& made a lasting memory for my boyfriend& I.
When Garret& I were first starting to talk, I told him I owned a dog& sent him a photo of Squirt. He asked me where I found a photo of such an ugly dog and that it was hilarious.. I’m so serious. I was insulted but that wore off quickly because the minute Garret met Squirt in person, it was love. Okay, so it wasn’t really love but Squirt does seem to really like Garret more than average.
So, does anyone else out there have a childhood where almost every memory includes a dog? Do you remember them fondly or did you have a more horrifying kind of childhood dog? Did they drool all over you or spend the nights snuggled up to you? Some dogs make better childhood friends than others but I think, regardless, kids love their 4 legged furry friends and, deep (very deep in some dogs) down, they tend to love their two-legged mini-humans just as much. As much as Squirt was so far from my ideal dog as an adult, I think my family really lucked out in having the only dog in the world that’s going to live forever. So, good luck Mom& Dad :)