Some dogs we can’t forget

When my brother and I grew up on the Westside of Charlotte, there were only two kinds of dogs, a hound dog, and a feist. We knew nothing about purebred dogs that cost big bucks. Our dogs were free; given to us by a neighbor, or dad brought one home he found roaming the neighborhood. We took them for granted and they stayed outside.

Now on the other hand, when I got hitched, I discovered that Linda loved all animals, and they were part of any normal family. She even likes cats, horses, spiders, birds, chipmunks, geckos, squirrels, bunny rabbits – just about everything that God created on the sixth day, with the exception of snakes, because she thinks they are creepy. Well, snakes do creep on the earth.

So we got into the dog business. My uncle Jimmy raised champion boxers. We paid a visit and purchased a fine specimen and named him Butch the Boxer. He was a great dog, raised from a pup by my son. Tim was about 5 years old, so they grew up together. Butch died at the age of 7 or 8. Tim had a funeral for him while we were out of town, and made a tombstone of plywood that read, “Here lies Butch the goodest dog anybody could ever have.” We raced back from Asheville with Linda in tears, and it got worse when she read the tombstone. I set my foot down, then and there: “No more dogs, we get too attached to them!”

One Saturday while in my office at home, I heard some noise at the door. When I looked up, in bounced a tiny eight-week old boxer puppy with little white feet and chest, just like Butch. He was leading the parade of 12-year-old Tim and Linda into my office. So much for no more dogs.

We named him Beau the Boxer. He lived 14 years and grew up with me. The only thing I didn’t like about Beau (is) he would bite me on the back of my old topsiders if I yelled at anyone. But that was ok, I probably needed a good biting. Beau was (Linda’s) dog to be sure. He was head dog for a long time. Then along came Bubba the Boxer. We adopted Bubba from Tim when he was transferred to Cherry Hill, N.J. with his work. Bubba the Boxer was made “assistant dog” at 9 months old. His job was to raise Linda.

Bubba was the most energetic, intelligent and happy dog we ever had. He was special, because he was clairvoyant. He knew when we were sad, so he made us happy. He knew when we were happy and made us happier. He knew if there was a loss in the family and grieved with us. He was at Beau’s side when he died, and attended the sad funeral. He loved and counseled us through the grieving period, and was promoted to “head dog.” Bubba died at 77 – that’s 11 in people years. We had him cremated, and he now occupies a prominent place on the bookcase. He is there to confer with, when a second opinion is needed. Upon reflection, Bubba may not have been a dog at all; he may have been one of us.

Linda grieved for a month, then two months, then three months … until I realized the only cure was another puppy. For $650 Linda had her cure, another boxer puppy.

This one is now 9 years old and his name is Bogey the Boxer. I named him after he jumped out of the car and ran straight to the sand trap in our back yard. A bogey is assured on your score card from # 12 bunker, ergo, the name Bogey.

Now, Linda is happy, Bogey is happy, and I get a bonus myself. Bogey has walked me to better health with our long trips in the morning before getting on with the day. Bogey is definitely my dog; he tolerates Linda because she prepares his food and buys dog treats at PetSmart. I don’t think there will be another dog after Bogey, so I hope he lives a very long time. However, this has been said three other times, so don’t lay odds on such a rash statement. I have known a few cynical folks in my lifetime and heard some say, “If you want a friend get a dog.”

We are of the opinion that, if you want a true friend, get a boxer.

Gary Downer

Mint Hill

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