Can’t sleep again, so thought I would write about the favorite dog in my life. We lived across the street from a large family of girls. The oldest one worked at a recreation center for the city park service. A Volkswagen drove by the rec center and threw out a box of puppies and drove on. Our neighbor brought one home but her mom said she couldn’t keep it. The girl brought him over to our house. This little pup had huge paws and melted our hearts immediately. By the time my husband came home from work, it was too late for him to say no. He also fell for this little German Shepard who we found out later, was part wolf.
He grew and grew! He was so lovable, the neighbors all liked him, as he hung over our chain link dividers to be petted. He never jumped the fence although he could have easily just slumped over it. He was the guard dog for our closest neighbors and they all had respect for his bark. The people who came to check the meters knew to knock first so I could put Smokey in the garage or in the house. He was very uncomfortable in the house. He liked to be outside even if it was freezing and snowing.
One time a meter reader came in the backyard without telling me. I heard Smokey and went to check on him. The man was frozen in fright but Smokey was laying down about ten feet from him. He looked at the man and then me, back and forth, asking what to do. He was this kind of dog, very intelligent with a gentle heart, but also my protector. I let the man sweat a bit. The signs on the gates clearly stated to come to the door first before entering the back. I then said, “it’s okay, Smokey”, and he came over by me, never taking his eyes off the man.
We had three cats at the time, an old mother cat and two kitties. They all came from the Dumb Friends League shelter at different times. But they stayed inside and Smoke stayed outside. I was on a special diet and ate a lot of baked chicken. I had baked four breasts for meals and had them sitting on a cookie sheet on top of the stove. Luckily because of that I locked the cats downstairs. I came home from my walk and there was the empty pan on the stovetop. The door from the garage to the kitchen was open. The wind had blown the door open and I’m sure the chicken smell invited Smokey inside. He had come in and lifted those chicken breasts up off the pan so carefully you couldn’t even see any evidence of them being slid off the pan. I had to laugh. I’m glad they were boneless! I went out and there he was, sheepish look on his face.
I loved this dog and still do. In fact I get tears when I dream of him or think of his last moments. He started walking strangely and I made a vet appointment right away. We had a great vet, that’s another story…..he looked him over and wanted to do an exploratory surgery. I took Smokey in and the vet took him back. Just before he went through the door, Smokey looked back at me with this, “it’ll be okay, mom” look. I’ll never get that look out of my mind. I’m crying now just writing about it. The vet called me a few hours later and said he had cancerous tumors choking all of his organs and couldn’t believe he was still even walking around. He asked if he should wake him or let him sleep. We chose to let him sleep. I’ll never forget that look on his face. He was saying goodbye.