You never forget your first dog.
I’ve suffered the loss of too many pets to have them again on purpose. I do seem to inherit them though. Pets are family members with short lives. Not only that but you can’t leave town for a week without getting them a sitter. Who needs the extra responsibility?
I like cats because you can leave them for a few days especially if you have more than one. Dogs are way too needy.
Pets are important for kids though. They learn love and social responsibility from them.
We got a dog when my brother was born. They shared the same birthday as far as we were concerned.
We lived in a barn shaped two family on Crescent in
We got one of the dogs and my dad named him Sinbad.
I’m 51 and Sinbad still haunts my dreams. He was as much a part of my childhood as my brother. I know this is a common story but bear with me.
My childhood was a strange mixture of ultra urban and rural experiences. Sinbad was as comfortable in a six family tenement as he was running wild in the woods.
He was either a chow/cocker spaniel mix (his tongue had black spots) or, according to my father, a lizard hound.
He would patiently sit at the base of a tree all day waiting for a lizard to come down. Damned if one didn’t eventually. I had the pic where he’s standing proudly in front of our clubhouse made into a poster for my dad. I gave it to him that last Christmas he spent with us. He loved it of course. Sinbad had been gone several years by then.
Growing up in
I mentioned in a previous post that my Brother and I traveled great distances on our bikes. The summer before I started 6th grade we moved to
The first thing my brother and I did was head out on our bikes to explore. Sinbad went with us. He went everywhere with us.
We rode as far as Sunset Hills. When we got back we noticed Sinbad wasn’t with us. He didn’t come home at all that night. We were beside ourselves with grief. Two nights later we heard him scratching at the back door as if nothing had happened. I thought we had lost him for sure because we never got off our bikes and there was no scent to follow home.
Two years later when we lost the house our family was thrown into turmoil. My mother had to stay with friends. My brother and I stayed a short time with my grandmother who tried to keep us in our school routine. Eventually we moved out to the country with my dad and his second wife.
I later learned my grandmother tried to get custody of us. The old Polaroid is my brother in the
Samantha stayed with my mom but Sinbad had to stay in the cold, deserted, dark, unheated house. I remember being embarrassed when my uncle Bill took us there to feed Sinbad and let him out. The house smelled like crap and I could tell my uncle felt sorry for us. I hated his pity.
My dad talked his new wife, Helen, into taking all of us in. This was the year we went to three different schools and still missed three months. I don’t know how we graduated.
Helen’s experience with dogs was a little different than ours. She had a small kennel with beagles. Her last husband was a hunter. He was found in our small lake slumped over in his fishing boat, heart attack I think.
Helen made Sinbad stay outside in the snow. He wasn’t used to this and we begged her to let him stay in the basement. She finally did but as soon as he crapped there he was back outside.
There was a pack of wild dogs out in the woods. You could hear their yelps in the night. A neighbor told us Sinbad was with them. He told us when a dog goes wild you can’t tame them again. When spring came Sinbad came scratching at the back door.
My mother got her life together and took us back. I think my brother and I totally destroyed my dad’s second marriage.
On a side note I did build an electric guitar in shop class that year. It didn’t have the electronics but I did learn to play on it. My dad helped me get the woods, tuning gear and bridge.
There’s always that sad time when a child grows up and neglects his dog. When Sinbad was 15 he would dutifully follow me down a hill in Soulard where I would catch a ride hitch hiking to my girlfriend who lived in
The last time I saw Sinbad was as I was climbing into a car I’d thumbed down. When I came home I wondered where he was. For some reason I told myself he was old and he must have wandered off to die. Later my mother and I couldn’t believe we never checked the pound. He’d been there waiting for us so many times in the past. I’m afraid we really let him down at the end. Man, I’m tearing up just thinking about it.
His life would have made a great Disney film if they had the balls to feature such a dysfunctional family.
The pic of me in front of my dad’s record player was the first apartment Sinbad came home to on Crescent. The set of black shelves was built by my mom for my dad’s records. I still have the shelves. Note the tubes sticking out of the amplifier. The last pic is Sinbad, my dad and me in front of our