by Bob Sparrow
Here it is, that shoulder season between the end of summer and the start of the holidays. It’s actually the best time to travel, weather is still good and kids are back in schools so the crowds are down. But as I sit here on a beautiful Southern California day, I have no immediate travel plans. I stare out the window, and then I stare at my dog, Riley, wondering what to write. I say to her, “I really haven’t been anywhere of interest lately, so what do I write about?” She tilts her head and looks at me as if to say, “What the hell are you asking me for, and by the way, isn’t it time to feed me?” Oh yes, I have a dog, not as famous as my sister’s ‘wonder dog’ Dash, but ‘my best friend’ nonetheless. In fact, the comparisons to Dash are . . . non- existent, the contrasts however are abundant. To wit:
Dash is a purebred, purchased from a registered breeder; Riley is a mutt, a mixture of a Maltese and Shih Tzu, or for short, a ‘Multi-Shit’ – which she does, wherever and whenever she wants! She was purchased from somebody selling dogs in their front yard. Dash’s name come from royalty, the name of Queen Victoria’s dog; Riley’s name comes from the fake name that our daughter, Dana gave when she was single, to guys she didn’t want to hear from again. Dash has never barked; Riley barks at every moving thing – which is why we don’t feel the need for an alarm system. When presented with a paper plate of food, Dash would elegantly partake, often leaving some, just to be polite; Riley would wolf down the food and start chewing up the plate while looking around for more. Dash is trim, in shape with a shiny coat; Riley is over-weight and proud of it and usually needs a bath. With Suzanne and Al both retired, Dash is doted on; with Linda and my working and traveling schedule, Riley probably has some separation issues. Dash has perfect teeth; Riley has a missing front tooth in her massive under bite. Dash is in management; Riley takes a lunch pail to work.
They say when dogs are looking into your eyes that they are really hugging you – when Riley looks in my eyes it’s usually because I’m late feeding her. Dash is Suzanne and Al’s first dog; Riley is our last. I’ve always had a dog from the time I was a kid. ‘Boots’ was my first dog, I taught him how to climb a tree with me, then there was ‘Rags’ then ‘Smokey’, who wandered on to the school grounds when I was teaching and was never claimed by anyone, so I took him home. I even had a dog when I was in the Navy stationed in Japan named ‘Xoon’, I think he only spoke Japanese. We’ve been a two-dog family for the past 25-30 years; Igit, Shasta, Kola, Pepsi, Simba and Riley. Simba passed away earlier this year and Riley seemed to have mixed emotions; she surely missed her sister, but also probably thought, ‘Hey, more food for me’. When we buried Simba in the back yard, with the rest of our dogs, we decided that we wouldn’t get another one, that our travel schedule is such that it wouldn’t be fair to another dog, and maybe we just didn’t want any of our dogs outliving us!
OK, Riley, you helped me write the blog this week, thank you! I guess I’ll have to give you a treat. She gave me that look like, “Yeah, sure, whatever, now where’s the treat?”