When I think of “the dog I had as a child,” Muffin is the dog that comes to mind. Not Peggy…and not Ginger or Heidi….Muffin! This is Muffin:
I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get another dog after Ginger and Heidi (see previous entry). I still wanted one, but I really didn’t want to get one only to have to give it up again a few months later. So my mother and I made a deal. We could get another dog if:
-it was full grown (no more puppies!)
-it was SMALL.
-it was female.
-it was housebroken.
-it was free.
So I started scouting the newspaper. I found an ad for a part Pomeranian, part toy poodle female, one year old, housebroken, FREE to a good home! The dog sounded perfect…except she was out in the country. I wasn’t sure my mother would drive out in the country to look at a dog. But she did.
And “Poochie” (that’s what the people called her!) was the sweetest dog…even my mom thought so. I think it helped that the dog was part Pomeranian (see my March 1 entry.) So of course my mom wanted to know what was wrong with Poochie…why were the people getting rid of her? Well…Poochie had a nasty habit of chasing ducks down by the pond. And not only did she chase them…she uh, killed them and then left them on the people’s back step. I was shocked to hear this little dog killed ducks…but not as shocked as I was to hear my mother say, “Well, we live in town. There won’t be any ducks for her to chase.”
It turned out there was something else “wrong” with Poochie. She hadn’t been spayed. In fact, she’d recently had puppies. Spaying costs money, so my mom hesitated then. I reminded her that was not part of the deal. She said the dog had to be full grown, small, female, housebroken and free. She never said anything about spayed.
My mom thought about it for a few minutes while I sat and pet Poochie…and eventually she gave in. We brought Poochie home. The dog had to sit on the floor in the back seat of the car for the drive back to town (my mother does not like dirt), but I pet her the whole way. I thought it was very fitting that we GOT a dog from a farm, after giving away two dogs to people on farms. The first thing that happened when we got home was Poochie got a bath!
The next morning, Poochie (actually, I’m pretty sure we’d renamed her Muffin by then) and I had an adventure. It was a Sunday morning…I was dressed for church…and we would be leaving for church very soon. My mother went out into the garage and…for some bizarre reason OPENED THE DOOR, even thought Muffin was right there behind her. Muffin BOLTED for the open door. And BOY did she RUN! (I think she missed her puppies and was headed back to her old house.)
I immediately took off after her…in my Sunday best. And it was raining (of course it was!). I kicked off my shoes and chased her in my nylon stockings up the hill, down the hill, around the corner…but I couldn’t catch her. And she wouldn’t come when I called. She was headed for the highway. I was so scared she was going to get hit by a car, but she made it across the highway. So did I!
She darted into a wet and muddy bean field. I went in after her. (This may sound familiar to people who have read Yes, I Know the Monkey Man…yes, T.J. chases HER dog out of town, across a highway and into a bean field, too.) At least Muffin was a white dog…she stood out against the black dirt and the green plants. And being in the bean field slowed her down a bit. I finally gained on her. But every time there was a gap in bean plants, she’d dart into the next row to get away from me. I had to jump over the bean plants to keep up with her. And FINALLY I was able to grab her! I held my wet and muddy dog tight against my white blouse and made my way back out of the field.
When I got to the highway, I saw my dad parked by the side of the road. I sure was relieved to see HIM instead of my mom. We were late for church (my parents were people who went to church every Sunday…I had to be pretty deathly ill to miss church as a kid…and we were NEVER late!)…I was a mess (my mother HATED messes…in fact, messes of any kind made her YELL!)…and this dog was the reason for both. I knew I was in major trouble (I’d been told not to go after her). And I was scared that once again, I was going to have to give up a dog. But my dad calmed me down in the car…he said he’d talk to my mother.
I don’t remember if my mom and my little brother went on to church without me and my dad or not…all I remember for sure is I missed church that day (which was HUGE!), though I’m pretty sure I went to Sunday School.
My dad was true to his word…he talked to my mother. And we got to keep Muffin. She never tried to run away again. She learned her place in the house (like Peggy)…she didn’t try and go into rooms that were off limits (so my mother liked that). I remember I used to ride her around town in my bike basket…until I got a ten-speed bike. Then I didn’t have a basket anymore…so my mother started riding Muffin around in HER bike basket. Muffin never once jumped out of the basket…she loved riding in the basket. She’d get really excited if you’d say to her, “you wanna go for a bike ride?”
Muffin was a great little dog. Even my mother would agree (as long as we’re not talking about that day in the bean field). And she lived to be a pretty old dog (19 or 20!)…I was well out of the house when she died. In fact, I remember making a big production of “giving her” to my little brother on my wedding night.
Muffin is the dog I’ve measured every other dog in my life against.