Well, my use of the board today seems spotty at best. But, that doesn't change the fact that today would have been the 12th birthday of my most special boy, Crash. The show must go on.
For those who are new since last year, I decided to celebrate his birthday by posting some of his stories. Today will be the first of seven posts, one each day for a week. It is a way of keeping his memory alive and sharing him with you all.
Dear Crash, it seems that I will never stop loving you.
Twenty-five Dollars For a Big Brown Dog
It was Sunday, June 5, 1994. Kevin and I were celebrating our first anniversary of marriage that weekend.
We had moved into our first home New Year’s Eve the year before, and had mostly entertained ourselves there since then. Our lifestyle was more settled now and we were ready, we felt, to add a new member to our family.
So it was decided that our first anniversary gift to each other would be a puppy. Looking back, we were very cavalier about the whole thing. “Sure, that’s a swell idea – we’ll get a puppy!” Neither of us had even an inkling what a great gift he would prove to be for the next ten and a half years. Without question, the best gift I’ve ever given or received.
This would be my first puppy since I lost Kong, a Golden Retriever/Collie/Shepherd mix, when I was about thirteen. I’d been working with him on obedience and he had been doing extremely well. I had a very difficult time accepting his sudden disappearance at four months, and it wasn't until now I'd even considered another dog. Kevin had to give up Salem when he moved to Nashville in 1988 and his urban living situation didn’t seem suitable for a young, energetic Golden Retriever.
The ad in the paper read, “Free Puppies: Part Pit Bull/part Rottweiler/ part Golden Retriever.”
I laughed aloud as I read the ad to Kevin. He screwed up his face in obvious disdain at this unfortunate result of random breeding.
“Oh come on, aren’t you curious? What in the world would that look like?” I chided. It took some convincing for Kevin. For me, the contradictions were too intriguing to pass up. I imagined a fiercely intelligent, aggressively pleasant dog. The thought of it made me laugh.
Turns out the folks who had placed the ad lived in what people in Tennessee call “the* boonies.” Way, way out in the boonies. It took us about an hour to find the place, winding our way down twisting country roads. We had to call for clarification several times.
The address we were given took us down a long gravel road, and as we came to the end we saw a mobile home. We slowed to a stop, unsure if we had the right place. Suddenly, a dozen puppies appeared from beneath the home, running to greet us. Yes, this must be the right place.
As we got out of the car we became aware of the mother, chained to the side of the trailer. In sharp contrast to the attitude of the pups, she was none too happy about our arrival. It was instantly apparent where the Pitt Bull/Rottweiler breeds factored in. Indeed, she looked like quite a perfect mix of the two, with her domed Pitt head and sturdy Rottweiler frame. She was solid black and made quite an intimidating figure, straining against the chain and barking viciously in our direction. We decided against going over to introduce ourselves.
We were the first to arrive and thus had our pick of the litter. The puppies were all golden in color, and most of them looked exactly like Pitt Bull pups with their bullet-shaped, tapered heads. And oh, did they have terrier temperaments to match. There was much nipping of fingers and noses, each vying harder than the last for my attention so that it was impossible to consider any of them individually. In silent and simultaneous consideration of the mother’s somewhat unwelcoming behavior and the fiesty nose-nipping litter before us, Kevin and I exchanged a look. We were both wondering if perhaps this was just going to be waste of a Sunday afternoon.
Then I saw him. He was sniffing around underneath a truck, distanced from the others, seemingly completely uninterested in our visit. I actually had to go over and retrieve him to get a better look. He was much larger than the other pups, with a little black on his muzzle, a much bigger head and extremely large feet. He seemed agreeable to a visit once he was fetched, so I rolled him over on his back to see how he would react. He laid there calmly and when I talked to him, he looked right into my eyes, cocked his head and wrinkled his brow, as though he was genuinely trying to understand.
As I looked into this puppy’s inquisitive eyes anchored by a squared-off, black muzzle, memories of dear Kong came rushing back. I remembered Kong’s patience, his sensitivity and his willingness to please. But mostly I sensed somehow, as one does sometimes, a connection with this puppy. I was smitten. He had won my heart with one look.
Once it became clear that I was smitten, the pup suddenly had a price tag: $25. Our hostess explained that she had expenses: dog food, medication, etc. I was a little put off by this bait-and switch-approach and attempted a very half-hearted objection, but Kevin happily paid her and we were on our way with a new addition to our family.
It was a long drive home and he slept in my lap most of the way. It was then that I noticed the webbing between his toes. On discovering that, we thought it was possible the ad had been correct about the father being a Golden Retriever. The puppies certainly had the right coloring for that, and it didn’t come from their mother. After knowing him for 10+ years, Golden seems a reasonable guess.
Just as he had slept most of the way home, so it was during most any activity. During a game of fetch, in the middle of his dinner, at the end of his leash during of a walk – it seemed that there was never a bad time for a nap. So it was easy to choose a name: “Crash.”
The vet estimated that Crash was about 10 weeks old and would weigh around 65 pounds. We were taken aback that he was going to be such a big dog. Little did we know he would eventually double that estimate.
I was a little worried about having gotten him so late in his puppyhood, and whether he would really bond with us. Conventional thinking from my childhood reading had dictated six weeks as the perfect age - anything later, and they may not develop a strong attachment. He tended to be a bit aloof, and liked to wander off on his own. I can remember getting him to come to me was terribly difficult, and I thought he would never care in the least what I wanted him to do. It turns out that some attachments form very slowly but run very deep.
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever
That story made me smile Connie. He is such a handsome young pup
~Abby, Molly, and Penny (the honorary lab)
What an unusual combo he was. He looks adorable as a puppy.
Will look for episode 2 tomorrow.
My gosh, what a pretty baby he was. Enjoyed Chapter One.
Yes that certainly was the right place. *Crash was an adorable puppy. *Who was more lucky that day him or you and Kevin? *Suddenly, a dozen puppies appeared from beneath the home, running to greet us. Yes, this must be the right place.
Happy birthday Crash.
I had no idea that's how you came up with his name, Connie! Perfect! Can't wait to read Ch.2 tomorrow!!!! ;D
I was right there with you! You have such a talent for story telling Connie! Looking forward to tomorrow's story.
What an adorable puppy Crash was!!!
Connie, that was great. I look foward to the rest and getting to know Crash. He sure was a gorgeous puppy!
Happy Birthday Crash
Crash was adorable puppy!!
Happy Birthday Crash. Can't wait to read the rest.
~Michele,Mugs & Sassy~