Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's a Dogs Life

It’s a Dog’s Life

My wife and I adopted a dog. He was half German shepherd and half Alaskan malamute. We named him Adolf. (I guess my wife and I had an affinity for the letter “A”, because our kids were named Amanda, Andrew, and Anna.) At that time we lived in a mobile home. His box was at one end of the trailer near the driveway so he could alert us when we had visitors. He was friendly, but with his size and his loud bark, few people ventured from their car until we told them it was okay.
It was an amazingly, unique coincident that my father-in-law, Bud, worked for Penn DOT and the only trucks  driving by our house that Adolf would bark at were Penn DOT dump trucks, but back to the story. He was a large and beautiful dog. His German shepherd markings and pale brown coat were enhanced by the malamute traits.

The dog box we had for him was large and had two separate rooms. It had thick flume line planks for the floor, a window and a small back porch awning attached for shade. Adolf would get warm in the summer and would use the awning, but he also dug out underneath the box seeking extra coolness. So this dog box home even had a basement as well.
He rarely slept in his warm dog box filled with straw. He tended to sleep in the snow. That is until a stray cat adopted us. It showed up one day and claimed us. After the cat stayed with us for several weeks, we decided to name him “Pussalini.” It was a spoof on Adolf Hitler and Mussolini.
During the day, Adolf would bark and growl when Pussalini would come near him and the cat would arch its back and hiss staying just out of the extent of his chain. Seeing their apparent dislike of each other we assumed that they were bitter enemies.
That all changed. One night we came home late and as our headlights swung into the driveway, the beams of light played across the opening to the dog box. Pussalini jumped out of the box and walked away, tail held high. Even though they still growled and hissed at each other, they found comfort, companionship, and warmth on the cold winter nights.

At our new house, my wife found and claimed another large dog. (Adolf had died by that time.) He was Alaskan malamute and half Samoyed. His coat was silky white. My wife had gotten him for free, because his tail had been broken at birth and the tip had been removed. It looked it had been bobbed and was about six inches long. Other than the trimmed tail, he was a beautiful dog and was quickly dubbed Amos. (I know another “A” name.) We had moved the empty dog from our old home to our new one and this was Amos’ castle. When we moved the box it filled the entire bed of a Ford pickup truck. The truck had an eight foot bed. The dog box almost was as wide as the floor of it and the "porch awning hung out past the tail gate.

Being another cold weather dog, Amos often slept outside in all kinds of weather. It wasn’t unusual for us not to see him until a “snow drift” would explode and his white body would emerge. He would bound through the snow until we came over and scratched his head. Occasionally he would sleep inside, but not until he would rip down the carpet scrap that I nailed as a flap over his door. It must have seemed too warm and closed in for him with the opening “blocked.”

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