Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m a dog of – well, I wish – wealth and fame. Okay. Okay. Life is short and sweet – well, shorter for us dogs – so, I want to tell you about my first wonderful year. Sure, it had its trying moments. But all-in-all it was a dream come true.
Shall we start at the beginning? Why not?
Did I say it was a dream? Well, not exactly at the beginning. I was born in Youngstown, Ohio – the rustiest part of the rust belt. I’m told it was a stormy night, but since neither my eyes nor ears were yet open, I have no way to verify this. It does make for an interesting beginning. Let’s hope there are no alternative facts.
My breeder is a woman who has three daughters (maybe four – or is it only two). Anyway, her job is breeding my mom and selling us. That’s how she makes her living in a town that has seen better days.
My Dam – yes, that’s what the AKC calls breeding female dogs – is short and squatty. She’s bred every six months when she goes in heat – or some call it season – your choice. Her name is Princess Baby Girl. My Sire – yes that’s what the AKC calls an intact male for breeding – is a tall, handsome goofy guy. His name is Sir Shaggy Goofball.
Mom was kept inside while dad was kept in a fenced-in yard behind the house. He shared it with the breeder’s boyfriend’s Doberman Pinscher (DP). The DP was used as a guard dog. He barked incessantly, scaring me to the point that I never wanted to be anywhere near him. However, as I got older, around six weeks, I ended up in the fenced-in yard with him daily.
When I was five weeks old, James and Ron came to visit me for the first time. I wasn’t sure what to make of them. I mean, they seemed nice and all, picking me up and smothering me with kisses; but I didn’t want to leave my mom or dad or sisters and brothers. I then overheard James and the breeder speaking about how she wanted him to take me and he wanted me to stay with my family until I was at least nine weeks old.
The breeder said she had already “gotten rid” – her words – of one five-week-old puppy. I looked around and noticed that a sister was missing. When you’re one of nine running around and struggling for a tit and then kibble, you don’t always notice if one of your siblings is absent. Anyway, James told the breeder that it was healthier for me to stay with my family and learn from Mom how to care for myself and from my siblings how to interact with other dogs – something about a hierarchy.
Well, I have to say that even though I didn’t want to leave, within a few days I was beginning to wish James and Ron had taken me. It seemed like a day didn’t go by that one of my siblings vanished. I was also kept from Mom all the time. And then, as I mentioned earlier, I was relegated to the fenced-in area with Dad and the DP. I was even fed outside and ended up losing my meal to the mean DP – to be completely transparent, sometimes to Dad as well. I’m not proud of this, but I began eating dirt and my poop. I had to eat something. You find yourself in Siberia as the weakest link and tell me you don’t do some strange things. This lasted for four weeks, nearly half of my then lifetime.
When the day came that I was the only puppy left, I began to think no one wanted me. I silently watched through tears as people would ask about me, but none of them took me. I was devastated. I prayed each night for James and Ron to come back. Each morning, for no reason, I’d get popped on the head by one of the breeder’s daughters. To protect myself I would cower in a corner of the fence.
Out of nowhere, the Breeder grabbed me and put me in prison. She had a cage with bars on the front and smaller bars on the top of the sides. I freaked out. The cage, with me in it, was then thrown into the back of her car. I’d been in the car a couple of times, when we went to the vet, but never in a cage with bars. I sat in the cage for what seemed like an eternity before she and her mother got in the front seat. I gleamed from their conversation that they were driving to Vermont where James and Ron live. My spirits lifted, hoping I hadn’t misunderstood what they had said.
Of course I had worms and diarrhea from having eaten dirt and poop. I was given drops through a syringe for the worms and one pill a day for diarrhea. The good news: I was no longer cramping or pooping every five minutes. The bad news: they went for long stretches before stopping the car to let me go pee when I whined.
The last time I whined they refused to stop the car. I had held my pee for at least five, maybe six, hours on the morning of the second day of our trip. The breeder yelled at me to stop whining. I had no choice. I relaxed and let it flow. Wouldn’t you know, something like ten or fifteen minutes later we arrived at Skygate Farm where James and Ron – and now I – live.
I was so embarrassed because I had wet myself. The breeder told James she thought that I might have since I had been whining. She said that they were so close she didn’t see the need to pull over until after I had stopped whining. James reached in to pull me out of the prison, and I tried to prevent him from getting hold of me and finding me all wet. Wouldn’t you know it, James didn’t care. He pulled me out and held me in his arms, getting my pee all over his shirt front and sleeve.
James kissed and kissed and kissed me, rubbing his nose against my face. He took me straight away to a sink they have in their garage and washed my backside and underside. He used warm water and spoke lovingly to me the entire time. After drying me, he put me on the ground so I could explore my new surroundings.
Within a second someone else had picked me up and was kissing me – it was Ron. I felt so much love from my two, new daddies that I was in tears of joy. The breeder thought it was because she was leaving me, but I have to admit that as she drove away I never looked in her direction. I couldn’t believe my good fortune to be placed with James and Ron, on a three hundred twenty-four-acre farm in Vermont. If only all my siblings could have come here with me. I had never been happier in my short, nine-week-old life.
Here is the poem James wrote about that day. He and I both (and Ron too) hope you enjoy it.
on an exquisitely sunny afternoon
with us anxiously awaiting your entrance
in the month of July
we both agreed that we were
about to wet our pants
with your coupé approaching
on the circular drive
something we were told you might have done
as you were antsy
since ten minutes earlier you’d been
whining with all your might
reaching for you at the opening
you timidly advanced
yet soon you were dispensing moist licks
and a few prickly bites
woefully dank from elimination
we washed it away
in a warm water sink where at twelve pounds
you were very light
you looked longingly at us through
your delicate china-blue eyes
once your dignity was back intact
with your silky hair fluffed black-and-white
settling into our soothing rhythm
and heartfelt embraces
you grazed on kibble in-between frolics
of amazing delight
medicine for an upset eight-week-old tummy
from beef jerky
before leaving the prior handlers did ascribe
they would provide
and a preventative for worms
dispensed via plastic capped syringe
luckily there were no squiggly
slimy cylindrical parasites
being cuddled with affection
from two who found you a joy
as deliverers drove away
you forgot to say goodbye
everywhere you turned
you discovered new sounds and sights
even a blond stone
gave you somewhat of a fresh fright
both old and new parents
with a special collar and leading leash
all you wanted was to be by our sides
looking to us for guidance
we encouraged you to investigate
and not to be afraid but
in life’s adventures to participate
a squeaky new grey squirrel plush toy
that was nearly your size
once grasped in your mouth if removed
you were hard to placate
wiggling up to and licking around
his flews and his muzzle
it was your new elderly brother Trek
to whom you could relate
once inside we introduced you
to the mudroom
where we provided a plaid bed
and your new crate
what joy and happiness
you brought to our family that day
one of us was with you
in case you needed to defecate
like the wildlife in the woods
settling down after sunset
those of us indoors relaxed
from the excitement of the date
your having traveled from Ohio
in a small enclosure
we thought it would be more of a breeze
the first night in a crate
you moaned and cried with
broken hearts all around
as we were concerned
and worried and awake
no one slept that initial evening
after your arrival
we could only hope you were happy
behind the mudroom gate
at least as happy as we
that you were here
as our too copious tears
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm
your AKC registered name
Ollie is the nickname we’ll use
with love you are our life-long mate
We hope you’ve liked this story and poem about the beginning of my life and arrival at Skygate Farm. In two weeks, and every two weeks for possibly the rest of 2017, there’ll be another story about my life and the things I encounter. We hope you’ll stay tuned and read each one.
Also, please let us know what you think of these stories and the poems James wrote. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a comment about this or anything else that’s on your mind.
Until next time,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)