THANK YOU FOR YOUR FAITHFUL VOTING for my somewhat unconventional “Grandmother Dearest” entry in the Consumer Cellular essay contest. Thanks to you, in spite of its 7 weeks over-late entry in the contest, apparently, it appears that you helped place it among the top 100. Not a semi-finalist yet, but so far, so good. You’re a good and noble person – I’ve always said that.
Pitching in for today’s blob. once again, is my granddaughter Gretchen (Warden) Stark. Gretchen is offering one of the pet stories I asked for.
Before she tells the story, I need to explain that just before the pet entered her life, Gretchen had been suffering the fear and trauma of living as a stalking victim. Stalking victims do not enjoy an easy life. There are no carefree days for them. The animal Gretchen is going to tell you about helped strengthen her during that ordeal.
Here’s what she wrote:
For my 21st birthday, many years ago, I asked my parents for a dog. Not just any dog – a red Doberman to be exact.
I had never had a Doberman before, but I had done a lot of reading and found myself attracted to the breed’s strength, loyalty, and intelligence.
As I had just gone through a traumatic experience that left me afraid to leave the house, my parents thought a dog would be a positive influence in my life. I could take the dog with me in the car when I was forced to go somewhere alone, and a dog like a Doberman would require plenty of exercise outside of the house as well. Not to mention that the appearance of a Doberman can be intimidating to unwanted visitors. I found that very comforting.
We started looking, and came across an ad in the local newspaper for a free red female Doberman named Della. She was 10 months old and had been rescued from a neglectful household by a couple of well-intentioned senior citizens. They ended up having to place an ad to re-home her because she was simply too strong for them to walk on a leash and was displaying some destructive tendencies. I thought this must be my dog!
My parents and I went to visit Della and we were all stunned by her beauty. She was so regal and elegant — as she ate shells and rocks in the couple’s backyard. She was beautiful and clearly out of control. We took her home. She broke out in dandruff from the stress of the move, began emitting gas that was enough to make a person flee the house, and she had terrible diarrhea (obviously from all of the inedible objects she had been compulsively ingesting). I loved her!
We had to re-think her name because Della just did not fit. My parents and brother and sisters suggested lovely names to suit her beauty — like “Victoria”. I really liked their suggestions, but I wanted a name that would match the personality of my awkward, nervous, moody, gassy companion. I chose Biscuit.
She was not afraid to make clear when she was hungry, thirsty, bored, or whatever, by pressing her head heavily in my lap, the high pitched whining, the quick pokes in the face with her cold nose, and many more VERY effective attention getting techniques. If each of these techniques failed, she moved on to more dramatic cries for attention including pulling up the carpet, chewing on anything, eating her way through the wall in the hallway, swallowing toys, swallowing socks, stealing food, and locking her jaws around any other forbidden object.
Our vet got to know Biscuit right away, and maintained a close, personal relationship with her throughout her life. It is amazing how many objects passed through Biscuit, but, unfortunately, some got stuck and required surgery. She also was diagnosed with a thyroid condition and was put on different food, which cleared up her dandruff and hair loss.
We participated in lifelong obedience classes as well as dog agility training to burn off some of her endless mental and physical energy. Somewhere along the line during all of our visits to the vet and dog classes, she began to trust me.
She became an entirely different dog – well, almost entirely. She never could resist the desire to steal a sock, a Subway sandwich, or anything tempting within reach, even in her old age. She followed me around like Velcro. Everywhere I went, she went. If I went to the restroom, she was right outside when I came out (that is if she didn’t force her way in with me).
She forced me to be the boss, because she craved leadership. I had to be strong physically to wrestle with her when she was disobedient, and I had to demonstrate confidence to compensate for her insecurities.
I started to realize that with her neediness, moodiness, demand for exercise, and incredible need for control, Biscuit distracted me from my fears.
We were running in the neighborhood (even if she was really pulling me down the street and bloodying my knees at first), attending classes, she was waiting in the car while I ran errands, and in the process she was giving me my life back.
I went back to college, and completed my degree. Oftentimes Biscuit came to school with me. I also moved to my first place alone, with Biscuit. of course.
I lost Biscuit three years ago, and it was one of the most painful things I have experienced. She was 7 years old when I had to put her to sleep. Besides her thyroid condition, she developed incontinence as she aged, as well as Wobbler’s disease. She was able to live comfortably with each of these ailments, but began developing tumors. I had one tumor surgically removed, but she did not recover well from the surgery and developed numerous other tumors. She began to suffer, and, painfully, I knew it was selfish to keep her alive only because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
I didn’t know what to do with myself without her, because we were a team. I realized even though she would no longer physically be with me, she would always be with me in spirit. She was truly a blessing in my life and I believe she is my guardian angel. I still hear her occasionally — a high-pitched whine or one of her signature snores. I am looking forward to seeing her again one day.
I thought it would be impossible to get another dog after the relationship I had with Biscuit, but soon found that without a Doberman there was a huge gap in my life. While I know Biscuit can never be replaced, I don’t think I will ever live without a Doberman because I have fallen in love with their loyalty, dedication, strength, and intelligence.
It takes a lot of effort to maintain these high-drive and high-energy dogs (with the exception of Tyson who requires minimal if any effort) but all three are worth every second!! ”
Thanks for again contributing today’s blob, Gretchen.