"Dusty Windows"


    My boys were all grown, and living their own lives. I had stopped working to have a surgery and then decided to stay home for a while. This was unusual for me as I had always worked outside the home. I found it was hard to find things to occupy my time.  I decided maybe I just needed a buddy to hang out with. “A four legged friend may be nice.” Off to the animal shelter I went and my search began. As I walked thru the shelter looking at all the lonely animals, I came across this little hairy yapping dog. I thought to myself, “Lord I don’t want a yappity yap yapping hairy dog like that!”  I didn’t know exactly what I was searching for, but I knew I didn’t want one like that. So the search went on.

   A couple of days later while watching the morning news they aired a story about the animals at the local shelter that were up for adoption. They showed a few cats and dogs. Then one of them caught my eye, he was so cute, looked like a poodle mix. I immediately got dressed and drove straight to the shelter as I wanted to be the first one there. I walked right in and said,” I saw the cutest little fellow on the news this morning. Could I meet him please”? When they brought him out to me we went in a little room to visit. He was adorable, playful, and just cute as he could be. Needless to say, I had found my buddy.

   I lived in an apartment so there was a little bit of training to be done. He was house broken for the most part, but he didn’t care for walking on the leash. Turns out that he was an excellent escape artist when it came to the collar and leash, he could slip right out of it. So I got a harness instead of the collar, and no more breaking free. He apparently had been on the loose for some time before the shelter because when he did manage to escape, he was gone. It never failed that when I found him he would be just filthy. He would roll in mud, trash, sewer, and even other animals poop. He would get more baths within a week than most little boys would!  

    The first time he was left him alone in the apartment turned out to be a disaster. When I got home and I stepped through the door I looked down at my feet to see that I was standing in a hole where carpet use to be. As I closed the door I could also see a partial hole in the door itself. If I had been gone another thirty minutes, my little escape artist would have been long gone. I suppose he was upset because this was the first time he didn’t get to go with me. In order to save the rest of my apartment I purchased an animal crate. However, he dug and chewed his way out of three of those. I finally solved the mystery, as long as he could see out the window he was fine. However, I did have to replace every single window covering in the house before I realized that his window could not have a blind or drape within his reach.

   He loved riding in the car; we had a lot of fun going here and there. I took him almost everywhere with me. He also loved my house plants. I had about a hundred of them. I could tell he loved them by the way he always watered them, when I wasn’t looking! By this time I had moved into a house with a huge backyard that he could run and play in. There were lots of trees, flowers, shrubs, and plants, but he still liked mine better. Of course now not only did I have to be careful with the doors, but the gates as well. Maybe he should have been named ‘Houdini’. 

   Yes he loved going for rides, except when I made him ride in the trunk! The gate was left open one day while I was gone. I don’t know how long he had been out roaming the neighborhood. So I started out on foot and had no luck finding him. I then got in the car and went looking some more. I thought this time he may really be gone for good. Angry at him for taking off, angry at myself for not having locks on the gates, and worried for his safety. Then up ahead I saw what I think is him. He has blonde, tan hair and this dog is dark brown. But when I called his name of course it was him! He was so smelly and filthy that I had to put him in the trunk just to get him home. I had to spray him off with the water hose before I could even give him a good bath. Not to mention the work it took to get my trunk cleaned. But at least he was home safe and sound.

    Have I mentioned that he loves riding in the car? Going for rides was his favorite thing to do, other than getting dirty of course. There was a neighborhood cat that for some reason loved to use our yard as his litter box. And of course my little guy always found it. One morning he found it, rolled in it, got a bath, and managed to get back outside to only find another pile and got another bath. Now after the second time I went out with him to keep an eye on him. It didn’t help though because before I could get to him, he leaped into one more pile left on the ground and rolled it all up in his hair again. This all happened within a matter of about thirty minutes. Now I have to shower and get ready for work yet again! Good morning Mom.

   He really did enjoy riding in the cars though. He liked to stick his head out the window and let his ears flop in the wind. Him and I were riding along out in the country one day, it was so nice and cool. I just happened to look over at him and there he was with one toenail from his back leg barely hanging onto the piping around the edge of the seat. His other back leg and both of his front legs were just dangling in the air. But his head was outside the window with his ears and tongue flapping in the wind. He had stepped on the button and rolled the window up on himself.  When I finally managed to push the button to roll the window back down he just fell to the floor. With him coughing, spitting, and shaking his head, he still managed to look at me like ‘WHAT THE HELL’? This was one of those things that are not funny at all at the time it happens, but later everyone can see the humor in it. So needless to say, after I knew he was ok I had to pull over and stop the car for laughing so hard. After this happened he decided to keep his head inside the windows; it’s just as much fun.

   Through the years my buddy and I have had our disagreements, even as to which food he eats. In the beginning we both thought he was going to starve to death. I purchased just about every dog food there was just so I could watch him turn his nose up at it. Finally one day his groomer suggested a certain brand of food, and to my surprise he ate it, and he still eats this food today.  Now that he is almost sixteen years old, about blind, can’t hear very well, barley walks around due to the arthritis, and sleeps most of the time; he can have anything he wants. He even goes outside in the front yard without a leash. He can’t run anymore so it’s not likely he will roll in anything disgusting before I can pick him up. I’m old too, but now I can out run him. We have been through a lot over the years, but I am so very thankful for that shelter allowing me to take him home. I think I forgot to mention this; the yappity little, hairy dog that was at the shelter that day, well he was the one I saw on the news the next morning and his name is Dusty.      Dusty had a friend that I got for him that was only a year younger named Floyd. Floyd is a large Cocker Spaniel and has a completely different personality. These two have been completely inseparable all their lives. Now since you know this story is about Dusty I will try not to say much more about Floyd except that he is the best thing ever. Floyd and I are very close and have a special bond. He loves swimming, playing ball, belly rubs, rides in the car, and eating treats. Floyd developed cancer and has had a few surgeries. He also has hip dysplasia. Floyd was also a rescue as a nine week old puppy. 

  As I said before, Dusty has gotten very old, sixteen, and he now has many health issues and I just don’t know how long he will hold on. I know I should do the humane thing and let him go. Then one morning Floyd started having horrible seizures. The vet found that cancer tumors are inside and cannot be removed and recommended I let him go. After an hour or so I decided that the doctor was right. I also knew that one without the other would not work. The one left would die from grief. So I had the doctor inject both at the same time while I held them close till the end.