The first dog I had was Misty, another Poodle. My parents got her when I was just a baby. According to my parents, this dog was neurotic and also like to pee on things. They got frustrated with her and gave her to my aunt who gave her to my grandmother. She lived with my grandmother into old age until her untimely demise by my uncle's car. Apparently, Misty liked to chase cars but wasn't prepared for them to go in reverse. So sad.
My next dog was a Samoyed Spitz. His name was Bandit. I got him when I was around 6 years old. I remember the day I got Bandit. I had gone to church with my cousins and when we got off the bus at my aunt's house, my parents were waiting in the car. This beautiful white dog was in the car with them. I was so excited! When we got home my parents asked me what I wanted to name him. He was fond of stealing toys and having me chase him to get the toy. Since he liked to be chased, I called him Bandit like from the movie Smokey and the Bandit (which was one of my favorites at the time). Bandit was a great dog. Every day he would walk with me to the bus stop. When I got home from school he would be waiting for me. He followed me pretty much every where I went. One day, when I got home from school, Bandit wasn't there. I walked the neighborhood crying and calling for him for hours and hours. My parents finally had to drag me in when it got dark. Our next door neighbors had a Samoyed Spitz named Moe. A couple of weeks went by and one day our neighbor came home with her dog in the car. At least, I thought it was her dog. When she opened her car door to let the dog out, he came charging at me and tackled me and covered me with kisses. It was Bandit! She had seen him on her way to and from work a few times. Someone had stolen him and she stole him back for me. I was so happy to have my dog back. A year or so later, Bandit got hit by a car. It broke a few of his ribs and because the tire ran over his face, he went blind in one eye. The eye turned blue. My sister, Wendy, who was just a toddler at the time, was terrified of that blue eye. Anytime Bandit would come around her, she would scream bloody murder. This went on for weeks. Finally, my parents decided they had to find a new home for Bandit because there was no way to convince Wendy there was nothing to fear. I didn't take it well when they gave my dog away. I took it so badly, that my Dad wouldn't let me have another dog.
When I was 16, a friend of mine, Dana, gave me a mutt at a present. She was a little, black, mixed-breed dog. I named her Boston, because I was into the New Kids on the Block at the time and they were from Boston. I only had Boston for about a week. My parents were working out of town at the time and when my Dad found out I had a dog, he went ballistic. He wouldn't let me keep it because he said dogs only caused heartache. They ran away, they got hit by cars, and they died. There was no convincing him that I was old enough to deal with these kinds of things. He still was remembering my reaction to losing Bandit. So, I had to give Boston back to Dana. It was a sad day.
In 1997, my grandfather called my Dad and asked him if my Mom wanted a dog. It seems my grandfather, who lives in Florida, had got himself the cutest Poodle puppy, formally named Pierre, but called Peppy. My grandfather loves to travel and drives every where he goes. Well, my grandfather quickly learned that his new puppy didn't like to travel in cars! He couldn't leave him in the kennel all of the time and he didn't want to traumatize the dog by making him ride in the car for hours and hours at a time. So, he called my Dad. My mom had been talking about getting a dog for a while, but my Dad had resisted the idea. Apparently, the whole Bandit fiasco traumatized him more than it did me! However, he relented and my grandfather brought Peppy to us. I was still living with my parents at the time while I was attending college.
Peppy and I bonded immediately. He slept in my bed, he followed me around. We played together, we sat together. Later that year, I decided to move to Arizona. I didn't feel like I could take Peppy with me, because technically he was my Mom's dog. So, I had to leave him. A couple of months later, my Mom called and said, "I'm sending your dog to you!" Apparently, Peppy wasn't too pleased that I moved out and started destroying things. He was chewing up shoes and shredding newspaper. He chewed the cord to the vacuum cleaner in half. He's lucky that it wasn't plugged in at the time! He would get on top of the coffee table and knock everything into the floor. He was acting out because I left. So, she put him on a plane and sent him to Arizona. He's been with me ever since.
I love this little dog so much! I don't have children, so my dog has become like my child. Every day when I get home, he is waiting by the door, sneezing and smiling (yes, he really smiles!). He still sleeps in my bed every night. All he wants is to love us and to be loved. His love is unconditional. He is so intelligent. He understands lots of words. He's a little spoiled, but is that really so bad?
Let me tell you about the smiling. Not long after we got Peppy, I noticed how excited he got when I would get home from work or school. He would be waiting by the door, sneezing and showing me his teeth. Also, if I would talk sweet to him, he would show me his teeth. Finally, I realized that he was smiling at me! He will smile whenever I talk sweet to him and he smiles when I get home. I can't help but laugh every time I see him doing it.
Peppy is about to turn 13. The average life span for a Toy Poodle is 12-15+ years. I know that someday within the next few years, my Peppy is going to leave me. I dread that day, but until then, I will enjoy every moment that he is with me. He is still in good health, but he is developing cataracts. So, at some point he may lose his sight. He is such a sweet dog. He loves to be pet and will sit right next to or in your lap for hours and hours. He loves to run and play in the back yard and he is particularly fond of chasing squirrels. He has never caught one, though. He loves to play with kids, but he is very nervous around babies and toddlers. They have a tendency to pull his years and poke his eyes. He doesn't like taking baths or going to the groomer, but he doesn't fight you on it. After his grooming appointment, he will prance around showing everyone how pretty he is. If you tell him how pretty he looks, that will get him prancing around even more. I believe that Peppy thinks he is a human. He has absolutely no interest in other dogs. He'd rather hang out with people. Whenever we have company, he expects that they will pet him. He has no concept that some people don't like dogs (weirdos). That is probably because he doesn't realize that he is a dog. Now that he is getting older, he is a little more grouchy. He has never bitten anyone, and I don't think he ever will. But he will growl to let you know that you are bothering him in some way. Especially if you move him or shift him while he is sleeping. We can forgive him for that since he is about 91 years old. I think we may all be pretty grouchy when we get to be that age.
I love dogs and I think they make the greatest pets. Peppy is more than just a pet, he is a member of the family. Any true animal lover, especially dog owners, know what I'm talking about.
If you have a great dog, please drop a line and tell me about him/her.