Sunday, April 6, 2008

In Memoriam: Daddy and Snoopy

No, not the famous WWI fighter ace, but a little known Dachshund (1959-1973), brought into our family as a puppy, allegedly as a pet for a five year old girl, then living undercover as the family dog. Nobody ever pretended otherwise; we all shared in her exuberant love: put her on her rope so she could tumble down the back steps to challenge the squirrels in the pecan trees for her yard. She once more than challenged a neighbor's incautious German Shepherd; even with Snoopy on her rope, it took the Shepherd only fifteen seconds or so to conduct an ignominious retreat beyond her borders.

She was quick to greet me when I came to my parents' house during school or the army, and would welcome an acknowledged guest as soon as this was made clear to her. By the late Sixties, she was my Daddy's dog; her cover was completely blown.

He arose early, cherishing the quiet coffee on the front porch in his father's rocking chair as the night became day: brooding, perhaps, over his choices made and unmade. But, to get there, he had to perform the morning rites.

When he awakened, and staggered sleepily in to take a piss at about 4:30 or 5:00, he went by Snoopy, nestled in her swaddling clothes in a cardboard tray near the furnace, which she only fit into with effort; she had become a fairly large dog: 40+ lbs. He would move in the dark to start coffee, and, having made it, adjourned to the porch. When he returned, Snoopy would begin to stir in her dreams. As he made breakfast, she would begin to get her hind legs out of bed. When the toaster went down, she began to move in earnest, but without undue haste; she knew exactly how long things took.

Within moments of the toast popping up, Snoopy was at her place at table, waiting patiently for her portion. One piece on my Daddy's plate, and the other broken up and dropped on the carpet for his dining companion, who relished her vittles. This had been their routine most of Snoopy's life.

My Mama told me, years after Snoopy's death, that my undemonstrative Daddy had cried when Snoopy died. Though I am sure this was not the only time, I never heard of any other.

14 comments:

The Pagan Sphinx said...

My father became more weapy throughout the last ten years of his life but usually only with my mother. During that time, my mother told me how he openly wept when their retirement companion, a beagle mutt mix, was found by Father, dead in the street after being hit by a car.

Fathers and dogs and tears. Your post touched me.

Jane R said...

JohnieB, you have the Southern gift of storytelling!

FranIAm said...

What a story Johnieb. You do have a gift and this tale is quite moving indeed.

Thank you.

johnieb said...

Oy: now what?

pj said...

What do you think? ;)

Nah, just write whenever you feel like it, about whatever moves you. No pressure.

(((Snoopy))), in doggy heaven where they serve breakfast all day.

johnieb said...

And chase squirrels and eat pecans all afternoon.

susan s. said...

Thanks, JohnieB

Paul said...

Thanks for the vignette of your Daddy. Very sweet.

Jane R said...

Dogs like pecans?

johnieb said...

Cracked 'em herself, unless she could get somebody to do it for her.

johnieb said...

You know, now that I think about it, I think she may have had some denial issues around the whole D-O-G thing: just sayin'.

rikc said...

OMG, we had a doxie name Snoopy as well, he lived to a ripe old age, and was spoiled beyond belief! Great story!

Zee said...

omg! It's rikc, here checking out our great posting buddy's blog!

I love the entire blog, but this 40 lb!! (you must be KDDING!) pecan-cracking doxie takes the cake.

I have a doxie, too, who is so charming even my narcissistic anti-pet nazi ex has-been is enchanted with him!

johnieb said...

She ate as many pecans as she wanted, toast, and her food, plus tidbits, Zee, and spent the dayz chasin squirrels who were in trees; we're lucky it wasn't 80 lbs!

Seriously, she was a very big dog above her ribs: classic build and a beautiful reddish brown. I still miss her.