We never planned to have pets, but my future sister-in-law suddenly had a litter of puppies on her hands and proudly gave us one. A couple of years later, my wife came home with a cat. Since then, we have never been without pets, usually both dogs and cats plus other critters.
After out daughter left home, she and her boyfriend acquired a black puppy they thought looked bullish and somehow the name Bullwinkle fit. The dog grew into a large black dog with white speckles on his paw. I called it his Michael Jackson diamond studded glove. Boyfriends come and go, but pets seem to stay. Amy took Bullwinkle with her as she launched into her new career, but eventually rented an apartment from a landlord who would not tolerate pets.
Amy came home asking, “Mom, I can’t keep Bullwinkle in my apartment. Will you and Dad keep him for a little while?” Several years later, we moved to New York. Four years after that, we moved to New Mexico. Bullwinkle might as well have been our dog except that he got excited the minute he heard Amy’s voice. In fact, he would go to the window if he heard her truck in the driveway. Nevertheless, Bullwinkle lived with us. Those were the days of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons so everywhere we went with this big, black dog, people would ask, “If this is Bullwinkle, where’s Rocky?”
My wife has always coveted a long haired dachshund. Of course, they are rare and very expensive. In New Mexico, one of our friends had one and my wife offered to take it for long walks on the range every chance she got. Usually she would take Shaddow and Bullwinkle together. One day, the neighbor called. “How would you like to adopt a long haired dachshund?” We were horrified that the neighbor might have to give up her beloved dog, but it turned out her next door neighbor had taken in a stray.
We went right over to see it. A standard size dachshund with long red hair met us at the door as though he were the butler welcoming us to the home. He was obviously purebred with papers somewhere. He probably had a formal name like Baron von Munchausen, but we will never know. The people who had rescued him from he park had a female Australian Shepherd that they wanted to breed. Thus they couldn’t keep a male dachshund with all his original equipment around very long. Of course we took him home with us.
Bullwinkle got along well with the new dog, and we named him Rocky. What else?
Rocky apparently had been dumped in the park on the edge of our subdivision. We eventually talked to teens who could document that he had lived in the park for at least two or three weeks. On week ends he probably begged successfully at picnics, but during the week, he probably had to hunt mice and rabbits.
Rocky and Bullwinkle became a pair like Mutt and Jeff. Bullwinkle was large but a little timid and not very smart. Rocky, on the other hand, was short, intelligent and brave. He had a chipped fang. He also focused on food, probably because he had gone hungry in the park. Mice disappeared in a gulp. Rabbits probably would have disappeared as quickly were they not so fleet of foot. He would gulp down his food and then walk between Bullwinkle’s legs to steal food from Bullwinkle’s dish.
Rocky and Bullwinkle graced our lives for six years before Amy finally came to reclaim Bullwinkle. In the mean time we were entertained by their antics. They complemented each other. Bullwinkle could not catch a ball, but Rocky had a whole bag of tricks. Rocky wandered each time the gate was left open, but Bullwinkle tended to stay at home. In many ways they were just like humans except they could not talk to us.
A story needs characters, believable characters with personalities. If people can be used as characters in a story, what about dogs, especially this pair with their unusual personalities. Read my next posting to learn how I wrote hairy dog stories about a shaggy, red dachshund with black markings and his big black pal.