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A Fat Boy’s Dog

fat-bulldog1

When I was a teenager, I really wanted my own dog. For years I begged Mom and Dad to let me get one. Their answer was always no, and they always had a good reason for not giving me what I wanted. I wouldn’t clean up the dog poop. I wouldn’t keep it bathed. I wouldn’t take it for its daily walks. I wouldn’t… You fill in the blank. They just didn’t want to have another dog.

I never relented, though. I brought it up at least weekly at the dinner table, or while they were driving me to band concerts, or any time I finished my chores, or any time I felt particularly lonely, sad, or awkward, which… did I mention I was a teenager? Yeah, so that was pretty much a daily thing. I mean, how could it not be when my face was one giant pimple ready to be popped and my idea of showering was wiping my pits with a wet wad of toilet paper every other morning?

That dog would be the answer to all of my problems. I just knew it.

That dog would love me. It would protect me. It would be faithful to me. It wouldn’t care about anything the way all those crazy people always did.

I had dreams of getting a Bulldog, or a Boxer, or something else equally as tough and lovable. I think I have always been able to relate to those bully breeds most. They look mean and huge and ornery on the outside, but inside they’re sweet, and good, and they just want to be loved unconditionally. That was me.

Then, after those years of begging, Christmas came. I had an unusually small stack of presents compared to the other kids, which meant one thing. Inside one of them was something awesome. But, I got to the end of my presents and there wasn’t anything that awesome at all. I think the best thing I got was a Weird Al Yankovic CD.

As I sat trying to hide my disappointment while my brother opened a fancy remote control car and my sister opened her karaoke machine, I got more and more depressed. Then suddenly, at the peak of my dejection, Mom hushed everyone.

Shhhh,” she demanded. “Did you hear that?”

Everyone went silent. No one heard anything and we began to tell her so. Then she shushed us again and we all listened until we heard a tiny yap somewhere far away in the house.

My heart leapt inside my chest. Was that a… it couldn’t be… what could it… I couldn’t even finish a thought, I was so excited.

Mom stood up and excused herself. She returned not more than a few moments later carrying a small dog kennel wrapped completely in wrapping paper except a few holes and the handle. “I think Dan has one more present.” She said it tauntingly like she thought it was the funniest thing on Earth that she had tricked me into thinking I was going to have a crappy Christmas.

I didn’t care. My blood was racing through my body. My mind was screaming. I was frozen. What would it be? A short squashy-faced puppy ready to turn into my fellow beefcake? My Boxer? My Bulldog? A Mastiff maybe? A Giant Schnauzer? I didn’t know and I didn’t care. It was a dog and it was going to be mine.

I finally swallowed the lump in my throat and smiled at Mom. She walked over to me and set it in front of me. “Merry Christmas!” she chirped.

I just looked at it for the longest moment until I heard tiny padded feet pawing at the floor of the kennel followed by another tiny yap. I reached out and slowly started stripping paper away. I purposefully didn’t look inside, afraid that whatever was in there would disappear if I did.

When the last of the paper was gone, I pulled the kennel onto my lap, pinched the door latch together, swung the front open, and looked inside.

There at the back of the kennel, happy, and energetic, and so excited to see me was a little…

Black…

Poodle.

CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

570 comments
changingherlife
changingherlife

This was a GREAT story, of life, and cherishing life's moments. Thank you for sharing it.

kgregorio28
kgregorio28

beautiful story. i have 6 dogs, 5 of them are english bulldogs, and i love each of them with all my heart. i cannot imagine what my life would be like without my dogs..

JenniMartin
JenniMartin

Loved your story. I adopted my bully 4 years ago and I believe the couple I adopted him from were like you. They had interviewed several people but they knew when I got there ansd saw that bullie, I immediatley cried. He was the one. I was there to give him the hime he deserved. I love my dog so very much. He knows he is spoiled to no end

Wendy Hilt
Wendy Hilt

Loved your story. We had an outside dog in the country and he moved. He just started going home to another house. Always struck me as funny. I don't have a dog, because in 1985 I got a collie mix with my college sweetheart, who I married and Rudy was in our engagement photo. Seventeen years later my ex-husband and I had to put Rudy down because his organs were not working. I still cry and miss Rudy. It doesn't go away. I've had the best dog in the world and there is no replacing him in my heart. Sorry I'm long winded. Your post inspired me. Wen 

Miss Chris
Miss Chris

Boy could I relate to this post.  I am blubbering and crying!

When I was 8, I did have a beloved dog, an American Eskimo.  My mom was having an affair and she left our dad to move out of state, directly in with another man who disliked dogs.  He would use his foot to force our dog out the back door.. and he was such a sweet dog.  I used to walk home from school, and I would see him in my bedroom window, waiting to see me round the corner, and it was like he won the lottery every time I came home.  I had lost my dad, my friends, my school, my grandparents, but I still had my dog.

Then one day, a neighbor's visiting dog, a Dalmation, came over and killed our dog, Chico.  He killed him right in front of me.  I was screaming so loudly, that another dog, a German Shepherd came out of nowhere and nipped at me, as if to try to make me stop screaming.  My mom took Chico to the vet and I sat in the bathroom with my rosary beads from my First Communion but she came home empty-handed.  I started to ask if maybe he was still alive at the vet's and she just shouted, "he's DEAD."  Like you did, I cried my eyes out. 

Living without him was so hard.  I kept expecting to see him in all the usual places, but he was just gone.  And then I would remember the last time he looked at me, hurting like hell, but still with that desperate desire to please me as he flopped down onto the pavement.

All the Dalmation's owners paid for was a $10 disposal fee for the vet.

Well, my new stepdad disliked dogs, so I couldn't get another dog. 

I am now 43 years old, and just 8 weeks ago, I got my first dog since then.  It is a long story how this happened, but divine powers were at work to make this happen.  Now I have an English Golden Retriever puppy and she's the apple of my eye.  I forgot how wonderful it is to have a bond with a dog!  And I am like a new parent - I notice all dogs in all commercials, movies and tv shows.  Her name is Honey and I love her like crazy!  And I miss Chico.  But I think he's in Heaven and I know he is happy for me.

brutis2001
brutis2001

When my husband and I bought our first house, we decided we needed to get a dog to go along with this. He wanted a german shepherd and I wanted a lab. We got Brutis, who is, as far as can tell, a mutt who may be part shepherd and part lab. He is the best thing we have ever invested in, along with his adopted brother Fred (the ultimate terrier mutt, his lineage is questionable at best). Brutis is most definately my husband`s dog, which is fine by me as that dog knows when he is sick, when he needs someone to just with him and when he wants to wrestle. Reading your story made me think of my husband, who was that kid you just needed that special furry someone.

KatieKnowles
KatieKnowles

Oh my goodness, I love everything about this post. You made me feel so sad yet so happy at the same time....

Cate Pane
Cate Pane

This is my first look at your blog and I feel like I have made a new friend!  You were born to write and you are FUNNY!  I am a good judge of this as I grew up in a crazy dysFUNctional family with 5 siblings and we had FUN by using our sarcastic wit!

I loved your lesson learned about how we need to take our kids seriously when they feel immense injustice.  I learned this the hard way as I was never taken seriously as a child around this issue.  When I was 5, my friend down the block made fun of my older sister (who was later diagnosed with a serious mental challenge).  I was so hurt and protective of her that I took an old license plate and hit the 5 year-old friend on his crew-cut head.  Naturally, it cut through his scalp and he needed about a zillion stitches.  It was an ACCIDENT!  My mom didn't care that he had made fun of my sister and put me to bed at 11:00 in the morning.  I was not allowed to come out of my room until the next day! To this day, I still resent the fact that he was never found to be responsible in any way.  He was cruel and btw, is now incarcerated and has more to worry about than his bloody scalp...

Kate11
Kate11

wow thats awful!! Im so sorry. I absolutely would have told the neighbor, they need to keep their dog in their yard or on a chain especially if it has killed another animal. I would want them to know for the safetly of the other neighbors dogs & small children. My neighbor had a dog like that, it was always in its yard on its electric fence. my dog went into his yard one day & he almost killed my puppy, he had her pinned down with his teeth right at her neck, he was biting her & just as he was going for the throat I ended up running up & the dog was distracted long enough for my dog to get away, I didnt tell anyone about it & a few months later my 6yr old neighbor ran thru the dogs yard to get his ball, the dog attacked him & he was rushed to the ER. The dog had to be put down & my little neighbor was ok after a few stitches.


Anyways that sucks your mom didnt let you talk to the neighbor or make them get u a new dog, Years ago my old dog killed my bunny, it was horrifying. Im so sorry you lost your best buddy in such an awful way =( This story made me sad

Mouse
Mouse

I'm so sorry you had to find a new home for Buddha. :*(


Your mom not wanting to let you confront the neighbors was likely more about wanting to prevent war with the neighbors than feeling like it was unimportant or "negligible". I'm obviously not in a position to know whether it was the correct decision, but I would caution you against assuming she didn't care very much.  She may have cared very much and just failed to really convey that to you because of her worries (about YOU & the situation). 

JordonNichols
JordonNichols

First, how kind of you to wait for the perfect person for your dog!  What a blessing to your beloved friend, and to a boy who clearly needed a faithful companion of his own.  Also, too many people get rid of their dogs by packing them off with the first willing person, sometimes (too often) ending in a life of neglect, mismanagement, or outright abuse for the dog and the ill-prepared or ill-suited owner.  So, good for you!  You have a heart of gold.

Second, I know how it feels to have a dear pet turn its back on you like nothing happened between you.  The first dog I ever had that was just mine, and who was my baby for a total of 10 years, who loved me better than anyone else, decided suddenly in her last 2 years of life that she was completely head-over-heels for my father's friend who frequently visits us.  She no longer showed much interest in me, but when he came around, it was like he was a beloved soldier coming back from the war, and she was nuts about him beyond all reason.  I felt rejected, but glad that she spent her golden years in love with someone who loved her right back as much as I did.

dawnpier
dawnpier

Dan, I came here by way of Katrina Hodge Willis' blog (http://katrinaannewillis.com/2013/05/23/toy-poodle/). You just made me bawl. Yeah, not just a few tears, I wept. This story spoke to me in so many ways, but the most beautiful part was that you TOOK THE TIME to find the RIGHT home for Buddha. You listened to your heart and your intuition and somehow knew that there was somewhere he was needed. That, my friend, is truly divine. Thank you.

PS - I foster dogs and currently have three available for adoption (seven living with me in total). One of them is a little poodle terrier mix named Friday that probably wouldn't give you allergies...in case you're looking for the perfect dog...he is absolutely amazing and it will kill me to give him away, but...well, you know how that goes.

stilgar666
stilgar666

Sometime you need to take vengeance into your own hands.  You should have grown some balls and done what was right, even if your mom was weak.  If that dog really was your friend, you would have set the world on fire.

Michelle Lidh
Michelle Lidh

"People like you don't deserve to have animals?" I'm confused.

Linda Hopson
Linda Hopson

Beautiful heartfelt story! Thank you for sharing it!

Wendie L Fischer
Wendie L Fischer

Cannot stop weeping. So sad for you, pet losses are among the toughest

Worrals
Worrals

Oh Dan, I still have my first dog. He is nearly sixteen and struggling to stay mobile and not really continent any more either, but I love him so much. He was there before my children came along and he is still here after my husband left and he has been such a good friend all that time. The children don't know life without him, he truly is so much part of the family. I know we don't have much time left now, and it will be so hard letting him go.

raikoala
raikoala

I am a cat person. At the moment, I couldn't possibly have my own dog, but my parents recently got a dog (an Elo - please look it up, they are AWESOME) that I ended up naming. Now they jokingly say I only come home to see him, not them (they might be right! Sorry!!!). The mere thought of having to say goodbye to this dog for any reason (and let's face it - I will most likely outlive him!) is making me ready to weep right now - more than the thought of losing any of my two cats. He has essentially converted me from a cat- to a dog-person in the presence of my cats.

AmericanMadCow
AmericanMadCow

I never wanted a dog. I always identified myself as a staunch "cat person"... but one day, a friend approached me and asked if I knew of anyone that would be willing to take a dog that was about to be put down because the country vet that had found him and kept him had a 90 day rule, and they also had a deal with the shelter in town not to send them adult dogs or cats. Since I didn't know anyone that wanted a dog, and I couldn't look into those big brown eyes in the picture and tell him that he deserved to die because, even though I had a nice, big, fenced yard, and I could afford to feed him, I didn't really want a dog. So now we have Henry, who is a 5 year old purebred sheltie, and I am his person. I can't imagine life without him! 

Sara Foss
Sara Foss

OMG I loved this story. Almost makes me want to get a dog for my teenage son who has been begging for one for years

Siana Attwell
Siana Attwell

Great post - very sorry for your losses, both of them. It's so hard to lose a pet, and especially when it's violently. :(

Cheryl F Blue
Cheryl F Blue

I'm so glad Buddha got a perfect owner like that. If only he's said goodbye to you. If they live nearby, you could talk to Buddha on the phone to let him hear your voice, or give him an old shirt of yours so that he recognizes your smell and knows that you're still alive and well and thinking of him. I do that with my dog who lives two hours away and whom I never see often enough.

Julia Dulabahn
Julia Dulabahn

I think every child should have a dog or at least some kind of pet. Dogs are probable the most loving and loyal. At some time,perhaps as the dog obviously grows older, the child should be told that the pet probably wont live as long as he will. But you know what, that teaches the child how to deal with loss. It paves the way to understanding why Grampa's not here any more and makes it easier for a child to deal with it, having gone through it with his furry friend that he grew to love so much. Dogs are wonderful and no child should be denied that kind of love.

Lori
Lori

Well-written, touching, and I want to read more of what you write.

Susan Wong
Susan Wong

I agree that mom handled it poorly. At least an apology from the neighbor to comfort you!

alei69
alei69

 Poignant, yet beautiful story

CJMartin
CJMartin

Geez. My second cry of the day. 

I can fully empathize with your need for a dog. I need my Marcus, a shelter mix horse of a dog, so very much. When it's his time to go, I will be devastated. But right now, I give him all my love as he gives me his love.

Thanks for writing this.

Miranda Ribbing Lundy
Miranda Ribbing Lundy

@Nancy Bondelevitch Joy, I am fat. I prefer that term. Calling me obese in opposition of fat, is stupid. They both mean the same thing. You aren't doing me any favors. I came to terms with me a long time ago. I like who and what I am. I exercise, work out, eat right and lose a little but of weight each year and never gain it back, but I'm still fat. So thank goodness ignorant asses like yourself are unliking Dan's page and going away. I am not a damned victim or mentally ill or unstable. I am intelligent, independent, confident, and a fully functioning adult. I don't have someone to "work" with me as if I'm challenged in some way or another. You are the jerk.

ChuckeeNotelling
ChuckeeNotelling

My parents were big on not making waves and forgiving and forgetting too.I am a holy terror about making sure my kids got justice because of it.They knew, and still know that I have their backs, and screw the neighbours.Are you the same?

martha oliver
martha oliver

Excellent story. Great readings. I cannot wait to post on my Facebook. You must be a writer for a living. If not you should be. I buy what you wrote in a heart beat. Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed day!

Krynnite
Krynnite

My step-families dog, was a very easy dog to hate.  Selfish, spoiled, and damn well going to do what she wanted to do.   But somehow, for some reason, she became MY dog.    She loved me so much that when we came home from college, she walked right past my identical twin, to say hi to me first.   She would insist (by digging at the blanket) to lay right next to me on the floor.      She had bad allergies and crapped EVERYWHERE but where she was supposed to.... She was a pain in the @$$, and drove me crazy, but when I retuned to college after that spring break, she developed serious and terminal cancer, and I cried for that annoying animal that had chosen me, to be hers.


River Song
River Song

One, you are a sweetheart, two ...I would've avenged your dogs death tiger mum style... Three , years ago my rabbit was consumed by my neighbours dog... But in my mind.. It ran away and became someone's velveteen rabbit :)

Nicole Spence
Nicole Spence

Okay. This one got me crying. I think we all have a little fat boy in us somewhere...and a need to be loved by a furry friend.

Katie Stevenson
Katie Stevenson

Wow. I like you. There was a bigger picture here, and you got the lesson on the way. Good for you.

Nancy Bondelevitch Joy
Nancy Bondelevitch Joy

That story - why did I read that story. I think you were very, very wrong to post it and people like you don't deserve to have animals. That story upset me so very much that I will never read anything from your site again, and am 'unliking' your site. And stop joking about the word 'fat' - I work with obese people and it's NOT FUNNY. Sir, you are a jerk.

Ashly Ann Dell
Ashly Ann Dell

Dan let me tell you about my best friend. Her name is Nova. I wanted so badly to have a pure need pit bull. I wanted nothing but her for my 20th birthday. Given my living situations I haven't been able to have her. But a week or so after my 20th birthday, my best friend bough me my pure bred, all white, pit bull. What I knew about her breed then is exactly what I know about it now, they are the most loving sweetest dogs I have ever met. My Nova has been through so much with me and I've only had her about a year. My Nova knew my best friend Joe, as daddy. We loved her so very much. And she loved her daddy so very much. But he ended is own life the end of December. Yeah. I've experienced a lot with Nova and I'm having to deal with possibly losing her again. But given the circumstances, I now suffer from chronic depression. I am now getting my Nova certified as my service dog so that she can't be separated from me because of my living situation ( where I live there is a weight limit that Nova surpasses). She understands so much more than you could believe just a dog understands. She understands daddy is gone. She understands that mommy is sad. And she is the best therapy anyone can ever have. She makes me laugh because she is so dopey. I honestly have no idea what I would do without her. Your story touched me. Because I know what it's like to be that lonely person, and all they want it their dog.

LoreleiP
LoreleiP

I had a cat once... she was a purebred persian.  When I was a kid my mom did rescue work with animals and this little tiny white kitten came to our house... she was always in my room... always laying in my window sill.  She wouldn't go near my parents.  Her abusers were adults... I was a kid... 7 or 8 years old.  I hated her.  She would hiss and claw at me when I tried to open my curtain and I was kinda scared of this little tiny fluff of fur.  I don't know where things changed, but I understood her.  I understood the abuse..  I had been there. (NOT at the hands of my mom and step-dad, but life had been really bad when I was younger than that)...  I realized somewhere I needed her and she needed someone to love her.  She never got to full size she had been beaten so badly.  When I got into high school life got busy.  I loved her, I slept with her, I played with her.... I just didn't brush her enough.  My mom gave her away.  The people were supposed to come get her when I was gone and no matter how much I screamed and cried I had no choice in this.  I ended up having to nearly crawl under a neighbors house to get her.  She knew what was happening...  I cried for weeks.  My heart had broken for the first time in my life ...  and now 20 years later... I still feel that hurt... I still miss her...  and I am still a bit angry, but now I have a beautiful dog who had been hurt in her life... and she kinda fell in love with my daughter....  and now she is all mine....  I am amazed when she looks at me with all this love and I know she would give her life for me if she felt it was necessary.  She is the first animal I have truly cared for since I lost my precious cat so many years ago...  I am so thankful that I had that precious cat and the healing she provided for me as a little girl was not something I could have gotten anywhere else.  Being able to give that care to another one....  makes the hurt and heart ache seem a bit more far away.  

While I don't like to think of my kitty....  I am so glad  I chose to read this post....  I have cried... I have remembered and I have a new appreciation for this little dog that I have now and that I love with my whole heart as does the rest of the family.  Thank you for reminding me...  thank you for sharing your own heartbreak. 

Diane
Diane

you need a big brilliantly smart standard poodle. they are sweet and more fun and hypo allergenic.  superb hunting dogs- he will play all day. you deserve a great dog.

Daisy
Daisy

This story made me cry!  My heart goes out to you for being that person to give that teenage boy a dog that will love him.  More than likely you and his mom changed his life.

My husband had a dog like that, a Bouvier (des Flandres), a HUGE super protective dog that literally saved him from bullies on more than one occasion.

We have had small dogs, we have had large dogs, we have loved them in crazy and wonderful ways.

One of the things that I have learned through this, is that YOUR MOM WAS WRONG.

She should have confronted those neighbors, bad blood be damned.

Dogs that will attack and kill smaller animals are dangerous.  I know more than one person with small children who have had the family pet bite their child on the face, even though that dog 'would never hurt a person', but had, once they thought about it, had in the past killed a cat, or a small dog.

Dogs are animals, and are never completely safe, and to think otherwise is just fooling yourself.  What if there had been a small child with Jacques the day the Shepard killed him?  And the kid had tried to interfere?  

Besides all of this, crikey mom, stand up for your kids, saving face be damned.  That part made me cry a little bit too.

sharisentlowitz
sharisentlowitz

I can barely type this through my own tears.Thank you for sharing

Sounds familiar
Sounds familiar

@Miss Chris Your story brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you have found a dog to be your "forever friend". I hope Honey is with you for a long, long time. And you are a writer, in case you didn't know.