My family used to show horses competitively. The circuits always have the same trainers, the same families and the occasional new horse…Oh, and the puppies. Loads of puppies.
I was nine. The Skellys were regulars, like we were, and they had a little coup of five or six “purebred” jack russell terriers. There was another regular barn there as well with a whippet boy that kept sniffing around the puppies and the mama and we didn’t think anything of it at the time.
At nine, I didn’t have much in the way of dignity. I sat in the corner of an empty stall where the dirt from the day was turning into muddy streaks down my face. “He’s only $75, mom…dad talked them down.” I was a master bargainer with my father’s help, who always seemed to take my side…at the time, I’m sure my manipulative 9-year-old wrath was more of a deterrent than my mom’s, which had been trained to be decent in public.
I picked the runt of the litter and named him Wishbone, aptly, though it’s been embarrassing to say in public ever since. “I was nine…when I got him…” I always used to make excuses.
Our little lap-dog kept growing until he stood above our knees, the medium-sized dog we never expected. Also, not a purebred, as you might have guessed, though that has never mattered.
The $75 puppy that I was convinced was a bargain, talked down from $200, has cost my family more than $10,000 in his 14-year existence so far…that numbers still rising. When he was a puppy, he had a thing for drywall…as in, eating straight through it to the concrete, scratching deep holes in the wall. He could have been Houdini’s apprentice – the dog can open doors, cabinets, get on the kitchen counter, lift a 6′x9′ chain-link dog run clear off the ground.
When we moved into a new house, he would be waiting for us in the garage, ready to run, when we got home. “Wishbone! Wait…Wishbone? How are you outside?” Thousands of dollars of damage later, we still love this little pup.
He’s always had epilepsy, which is equal parts hilarious and completely terrifying. He’s 14. He’s also always had that uber-dry cracked-earth nose you see, he won’t let us put anything on it…he’ll eat through anything to get his nose clean and dry again.
Anyways, he let me take a few photos the other day, which he never does. He’s always licking the camera to get to my face while I try not to think about where his puppy tongue’s been (shudder).
We’ve been spending a lot of time at my mom’s house and being with Wishbone every weekend has been a huge perk. My mom’s looking for a little companion for him now. He’s always hated other dogs, but he hates being alone more. Between you and me, he’s quite the ladies man. My aunt and uncle brought their clutch-sized shih tsu, Lulu, over one Christmas and he followed her around like he was courting her. There was no humping, don’t worry, only cudding…and it was the cutest thing I’ve seen ever.