Saturday, July 14, 2012

Remembering Taffy

If you read this blog regularly, you already know that I have a real soft spot for our canine friends.  (For cats, not so much.)  I've already shared with you a favorite quote I got from one of my sisters, but it bears repeating: "May you be half the man your dog thinks you are."  Ain't it the truth!  Dogs are so non-judgmental.  They don't see your flaws--heck, to them, you have none!--and they adore you with manic intensity.  They are the most loving, loyal creatures on earth.

Of course, some dogs are better than others.  There's Allie, son #3's uber-affectionate dog, who I'm convinced is half-human.  I've written about her often enough, so you know how I feel about her.  Then there's Shamus, the former member of our family that I wrote about not long ago, in a May 4 post called "Remembering Shamus."  She was an outstanding dog, too.  My #4 son's sweet dog Finny shows the promise of becoming an awesome companion as well, when some of his puppy energy burns off (and when being left alone, unattended and bored, doesn't make him decide to chew cell phones).  I've written about all of these dogs, but not about my own childhood pet--and in fact, I don't believe my boys have ever really heard much about her, either.

This is Taffy (who had some Pointer in her, and who knows what other breeds), a sweet female mutt who became part of our family when I was about eight years old.
Taffy in her later years.
When Taffy was young, she had a litter of six puppies before we had her spayed, and what a good mommy she was!  (Those pups ran her ragged, though, and the weight dropped off her until she was practically skeletal.  I was never able to lose my baby weight post-partum as quickly as Taffy did; but then again, I never gave birth to sextuplets.)

Neither Shamus nor Allie, with their tendency to bolt on occasion, would ever have survived on the busy main street where our house was located.  But Taffy never ran out into the street.  All you had to do was say, "Taffy, stay!" and that dog wouldn't move a muscle.  She used to sit out in front of our house when we'd leave in the morning to walk the few blocks to our Catholic grade school, and every now and then she'd get up as if she was dying to follow us; but if we looked back and reminded her to stay, she would sit there like a statue, following us only with her big brown eyes.  She was the most obedient dog.

My four siblings all had twin beds, but somehow I ended up with a double.  It just seemed way too big for one little girl, so Taffy usually slept in my bed with me (and if you've read the Shamus post, you'll see a disturbing pattern here).

As we kids got into the teen years, Taffy's devotion to us was rewarded with benign neglect; we had better things to do than stay at home and cuddle with our dog.  I continued to throw her a bone (did you see what I did there?) by letting her sleep with me, but for the most part I didn't give her much attention in her later years.

But how sad I was when I found out shortly after my marriage that my parents had had to have Taffy put to sleep.  She'd been a part of our family for 14 years, and she'd loved us with every ounce of her being.  Movies like "Marley & Me," "My Dog Skip," and "Hatchi" really get to me, because they remind me of how wonderful it is to be loved by a dog like Taffy.  There really is nothing like a good dog, is there?

P.S. A word to my sons (#3 in particular): don't take this post as a hint that Mom wants to be surprised with the gift of a puppy, the way I sprang Shamus on Dad.  We're on the road too much these days visiting all of you kids.  The poor thing would be at the kennel half the time.  So I mean it: no doggies!    

1 comment:

  1. Oh my Gosh! I remember not liking Taffy much. Now that I have a wonderful dog of my own I can't understand why I didn't like her! She looks so sweet!