Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Happy - Part Five

Happy the Dog played games of his own invention.

He was not a fetcher. If we threw something he'd go get it but getting it away from him was the challenge. He would growl fiercely if you tried to take something out of his mouth, all the while his tail spinning madly in a circle. Playing keep away or tug of war was something he took great delight in. "You want the ball? Just try and get it from me! I dare you!"

He also liked to grab hold of something like a towel and be spun around, all four paws off the ground. He had jaws like a bear trap. It was a game Dad usually played with him because at 45 pounds he was a little heavy for me.

He was just tall (short?) enough to walk under your knee when you were sitting. This was a cue that he wanted to be scratched at the base of his tail. When you did he'd do a kind of dance with his back feet while you scratched. We called it his cha-cha.

If we went, "Sic 'em Happy! Sssssic," he'd go charging out barking furiously. When he discovered there was nothing to bark at he would pretend he hadn't been fooled. He'd bark, bark, bark for a few minutes then he'd come back all "happy," tail wagging and say, "I chased off those somebodies I don't know. You're safe. Aren't you proud of me?" He loved chasing after non-existent threats.

But his favoritest game was when we went to the beach. Remember he detested water. He wouldn't have gone in even if fire breathing dragons were threatening his life. What he did was play tag. We'd be in the water say, up to our waists, and try to get onto the beach. His job was to prevent that from happening. He would pretend he couldn't see us by turning his head sideways as we tried to sneak out of the water. When we were in knee to ankle deep water Happy would charge at us barking madly at which point we turned tail and ran back into the sea with a great deal of splashing. Himself, of course, would come to a screeching halt right at the point where the waves lapped the sand and prance away before he got his paws wet. He could have played the game indefinitely. When we wanted to get out we had to tell him, "Okay Happy, game's over. Down with the iron claws," else he would leap and rake us and leave us with long whelps.

Here we are at the beach when I was about 15 and Happy was about 10. You can see his funny short tail. Perfect for grabbing hold of and preventing him from charging at a somebody he didn't know. The day this picture was taken the waves were big and I'd been body surfing. My hair is like really wild and tangled.


  1. What a beautiful photo! Just showed it to my daughter and she's dying for a dog, but three kids is enough right? A dog would almost be like a fourth kid? Please talk me down from the adorable five year-old guilt trip I just got!

  2. I do love that photo. If it were me, I'd have it blown up and hanging on my wall. Your childhood memories are so crystal clear, Bish. And what a gift you have for sharing them.

  3. awwww! what a great photo! I love the way you describe things. IT makes me feel like I was there. You have such a gift for mining your memories.

  4. I have three kids and we got a dog about two years ago. She jumps on guests, chews whatever she gets hold of, and steals food from the table. Just the other day my son asked, "What would we do without Piper to love?" and we all agreed. As naughty as she is, she's totally worth it. Nice post and that picture really is precious.

  5. Julie, I'm not the best person to try to talk you out of getting a dog, three kids or no. Depending on the kind of dog you get (we've ALWAYS had mutts) a dog adds something that nothing else can. Pets teach us about life and yes...death. About loving and letting go. Joy and sorrow.

    Oh MG! If I had any wall space I would blow up that picture!

    Thanks Christy. As for mining my memories I've been doing it for quite a while and even wrote an article about how to do it.

    Susan, "Naughty" dogs are often the ones we remember the most, love the hardest. Happy had a split personality he could be ornery and playful. We loved him dearly and still talk about some 40years later.

  6. What a special photo of you two!
    I love the stories of Happy; I can tell he was a big part of the family.


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