The New Dog by Mike Baron


So we got a new dog. His name is Bob, in honor of the previous Bob, who passed away a year ago. I hate to put a dog down. But if you love dogs and have them, it’s inevitable. The old Bob was a wonderful, obedient pet. After my late wife died of an overdose, Bob was my only companion for several months, until I decided to get him a playmate. I turned to karate pal Veterinarian Robin Van Metre who has a line on every stray dog in northern Colorado. She took me to a no-kill shelter in Loveland where I arbitrarily chose the little furball who looked somewhat like a collie/German shepherd mix. Freddie is a delightful dog.

Then I married Ann. Several years ago Robin asked if anyone would be willing to take her dog “Cali,” whom some brainless college student had dropped off an a shelter after deciding she didn’t really want the responsibility, and I volunteered. “Cali” is a Boston terrier/pug mix with a ferocious personality. We renamed her Mack due to her resemblance to the hood ornament on a Mack truck. When it time to return Mack, Ann clutched her and said, “We’re keeping this dog!”

Robin was delighted. “You saved our marriage!”

Mack bit a chunk out of Freddie’s face a week after we got her. No reason. She just wanted to establish who was top dog. She left old Bob alone. We have had Mack for about four years now and we love her deeply. She is a great dog.

Old Bob wasn’t doing so well. His rear legs began to give out and in the dead of winter he could hardly make it up the stairs to the deck. I laid carpet down on every step, and covered the kitchen floor with carpets so his rear legs wouldn’t go out from under him. But the handwriting was on the wall. Last February I took him to the park and we played catch for awhile. Bob loved playing catch. Then I took him to the vet and had him put down, in my arms. I tear up at the thought of Bob. Not so much for my late wife.

So Ann said, “When are we going to get another dog?” It’s always best to get them in the summer when they’re easier to house train. We went to All Aboard Animal Rescue at a pet store and Ann came back holding this goofy looking noodle dog with the big ears. Meet the new Bob.

Bob is part German shepherd, collie, and perhaps a touch of doberman due to the ears and coloring. Like all my dogs, he chews whatever’s at hand including valuable books and furniture. I have already lost two valuable books to him. But whatcha gonna do? That’s how puppies are. They have to chew and we have to provide them with quality chewables. Which brings me to the Tibetan dog chews at Poudre Valley Feed. Made from petrified yak milk, they are forty dollars a pound. The cheapest all natural animal part are buffalo ears at a buck an ear. At Poudre Valley, pet food is more expensive than human food.

Bob got house trained real quick by the other dogs. Now we are working on preserving what’s left of our infrastructure and trying to get him to stop barking. The house is awash in dog hair. Most of it from Freddie. Forget conventional vacuums. I use a shop vac and plan to get a new one shortly. It’s the only way.

Bob & Mack puppyBob puppyFreddie Mike

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