spending the next couple of weeks with some very
understanding friends until power was restored
to our home, I discovered that my new friend "Buck," as
I had been calling "him," was actually
a female. But it was too late - the dog was answering
to the name, and so it was that a family tradition
of unusual dog names was born.
would not be my only surprise.
the beginning, I noticed that Buck was a bit "larger" than
the usually svelte Dobermans and as the days passed
and Buck continued to grow, so did my suspicions
about the situation.
was employed at the time as executive director
for an OB/GYN group medical practice that, conveniently
enough, had an in-house ultrasound department.
Seizing upon the opportunity, I scheduled a clandestine
appointment with the technician (who was, ironically,
also the owner of a Doberman rescue dog) to determine
once and for all if my new friend was indeed -
results of the sonogram were immediate and unmistakable.
My household that had already grown by one was
about to grow by 11 more!
had no idea how I was going to deliver and care
for 11 puppies. I had had dogs before, but never
straight from the womb. Fortunately, I had a friend
who was experienced with dogs who could help when
the time came, which, according to the ultrasound
tech, would be another month or so.
Nature had other plans.
Monday night, September 14, I arrived home to the
sight of Buck lying on my living room floor going
into labor. After a minute or two spent regaining
my composure, I called my friend to get some help.
He informed me that it would be impossible for
him to get to my house in time, but that he would
be willing to talk me through it on the phone.
At this point, I took what help I could get.
good thing about this situation was that it was
over before I could even begin to panic. In the
course of 30 minutes or so, I had delivered a litter
of eight beautiful, healthy puppies. (Sadly, three
the next several weeks, I had the pleasure of waking
up every day to the experience of eight pups climbing
out of their plastic swimming pool "bed" and
all over me, licking me with their puppy breath.
When they were weaned and it came time to find
them new homes, there was one pick of the litter
that would not be going anywhere. His name was "Squatty."
Squatty, you may ask (as most people did)?
was (and still is) a great friend of mine affectionately
known as Squatty, due to his, ahem, fire hydrant-shaped
body. Rather round, not so tall, and powerfully
built, it was the exact name that came to mind
when I delivered the rust-colored square package
that grew up to be the best friend I ever had.
the next 15 1/2 years, Squatty and I were inseparable,
mostly because I loved having him with me, but
also because he suffered from "separation
anxiety," which is a nice way of saying that
anytime he was left alone, something was sure to
be destroyed! His stubborn determination
and 75 pounds of solid muscle was a combination
that led to doors ripped off hinges, busted screens,
holes under fences, and most notably, a Houdini-like
escape from a steel dog crate using only his jaws.
he wasn't wreaking havoc, Squatty enjoyed eating,
riding in the car, chasing squirrels and taking
me for walks, but mostly he enjoyed just lying
at my feet in hopes of a nice massage. He was fortunate
in that regard because I spent most of his life
working from my home, allowing ample "bonding" time
Squatty got older, he began to suffer from extreme
arthritis in his hips, but even that did little
to slow him down. After x-rays were taken at age
12, the vet commented that he was amazed that Squatty
was even walking given the condition of his hips,
but he not only walked, he still ran circles around
dogs half his age, a true measure of the indomitable
spirit of my dog, a spirit which continued to the
as it was when my "once in a lifetime" dog
entered this world on September 14, 1992, I was
holding Squatty in my arms when he passed peacefully
from it on March 13, 2008. Preceded in death by
his mom Buck in November, 2001, the tears are a
constant reminder of how much I love and miss him,
but I take comfort in the many priceless memories,
and the faith that my precious dogs will be waiting
for me on the Rainbow Bridge when I too am called
home one day.
story would be incomplete without an expression
of my extreme gratitude to Dr. Linda Faris and
her assistant Mary Dunn of Acupuncture
and Herbs for Pets in Overland Park, KS. Over
the last 2+ years of his life, Squatty was a regular
visitor to this holistic veterinary clinic, where
he was pampered and loved while enjoying his monthly
acupuncture treatments. I am convinced that the
care given by these wonderful ladies enhanced and
extended Squatty's life, and for that, I am very
thankful. I am blessed to call them my friends
and cannot recommend them highly enough to those
of you with pets.)