Before I leave off telling stories about my dog, Talitha, I need to relay a few other special memories. Though I am nobody's idea of a carpenter, there are a few projects of which I maintain a modicum of pride. One of which is the dog house I built for my dog. There were a couple of large toy boxes which I also built that lasted a long time. In fact one of them is in our garage as I type this stuff. Anyway, we wanted to house our little girl dogie in something warm and comfortable whenever she was outside. I made a standard shaped house for her with a shingled roof. Nothing imaginative. With an old towel or cast off blanket or something to insulate the wooden floor, it was quite canine comfortable, if I do say so myself.
She was quite a people person, er rather a people pup. It's hard not to think of her as a person, since she was such an important member of the family. So she spent a great deal of her time in the house with us. She was a great companion for the kids. We had Talitha for 16 and a half years, so all our kids grew up with her. I have already confessed that she had thoroughly endeared herself to me, her master.
One evening, as my eldest son sat in front of the TV aside a curled up Talitha, he was stroking her fur when he alarmingly called out to me, "Hey Dad, Talitha has a spider in her fur. I think it's a black widow." Without touching the shiny round intruder, we got it to the floor where someone promptly stomped the guts out of her. My son cautiously investigated her fur to make sure there were no other offending arachnids. I took flashlight in hand to inspect the dog house, and there found the formidable fortress of another shiny black spider complete with cotton-ball egg sac. Extermination ensued enthusiastically. Black widow spray (yes, they really make such stuff) was sprayed all over the freshly cleaned out dog house. Then I had the leisure to imagine some more frightening scenarios that might have been. That sent a shiver down my spine.
Of course Talitha was oblivious of the potential danger she--and we--had just escaped. She just loved us, and trusted us to take care of her. She was anything but a dangerous dog. I just put up that title as a hook to gain your attention and make you want to read my blog.
Oh how she loved to ride in the car, with the window down just far enough for her to sniff all the scenery that passed by. On long trips she was content to lie on the floor of the back seat between the feet of children.
When we had to take Talitha to the vet for burrs in her fuzzy ears, I had to wait for our turn to see the doctor. I had already registered on a card, included in the information requested, of course, was my dog's name. When it was our turn, the receptionist came over to me, holding the information card, and tried to pronounce the name on the card. She pronounced it correctly, "Talitha", and immediately she jumped to her feet and wagged her tail in anticipation of something fun. "Well, she certainly knows her name, doesn't she?" the girl observed. I don't think we ever spent much money on vet service for Talitha. In fact that became an unfortunate factor in later life.
Once, one of my middle sons got the idea of dressing the dog in people clothes. She had shorts, shirt and little socks on her feet. She endured all these indignities as more than worth the attention she gained from being a comic model.
At the end of her life Talitha's eyes were glazed with grey cataracts and her hind quarters were slow in rising from the floor. She would whimper with pain, and her teats seemed to be deformed with what we thought might be cancer. One day, after being prompted many times, I took her to be euthanized. When I carried her to the car, she still expressed excitement for the prospect of going for a ride. We didn't have much money, so instead of heading for the vet, I just drove to the pound. They would not let me stay with her. I reluctantly handed my sweet dog to the man, crying like a baby, and drove home. To this day I feel bad that I left her like that.
A week later, while pulling weeds near the roses, I saw paw prints Talitha had left in the mud, and I lost it. I had to throw down my shovel and walk back into the house. To this day my eyes get misty as I write these words. Yes, you could safely say I loved my dog.