I got my first dog when I was 8 years old. A year later I was old enough to take over my brother’s Indianapolis Star paper route in Lafayette, IN.
Her name was Cindy and she was a beautiful border collie with long flowing black and white fur. From the beginning we did everything together so I had no concerns about letting her accompany me on my paper route. I remember I used a to whistle to alert her to come back, but for the most part she was fairly free to explore the neighborhoods around Kossuth and 7th street. But tragedy struck one morning when she was hit by a car and died in my arms. Maybe the saddest experience of my life, because even now it is difficult to write about it.
I had to deal with all of this by myself, my parents were out of town and had left me at home probably with my sister and brother in charge. Actually, I think it was the first time my mother had accompanied my father on a business trip to Southern Indiana. As I sat on the curb with Cindy dying in my arms one of my paper route customers came out and quickly interpreted the situation. I did not know these people but they provided the adult support that I required. I don’t remember much about the rest of that day, I’m sure sadness overwhelmed me. My parents were contacted and then immediately headed home, but they would not be able to get home until late that night. The people who helped me that day coordinated everything which included giving me a new puppy that looked just like Cindy. I do remember my parents waking me up when they got home finding me sharing my bed with my new puppy, Cindy 2.
I finished growing up with Cindy 2, having to say goodbye to her when I left home after college.
My next dog was rescued from the Boulder, CO, humane society. We went to the pound and selected the calmest dog amidst a kennel of barking dogs. Rusty turned out to be a great dog. We gave him a vasectomy per regulations to adopt but we later had to get him spayed do to his strong Libido. Rusty did backpack with me. One memory that stands out was near Flaming Gorge when Rusty was asleep near bushes in our campsite when he was sprayed by a skunk. Needless to say that was a difficult night for both of us.
Abby was my daughter’s dog but eventually became my backpacking buddy. We never got to do any extensive backpacking as her health was failing when I got more time to go into the wilderness.
This post turned out entirely different from what I originally intended. I was going to write a post about my current dog, Brook, and her new Instagram account, @AussieBrook.
But instead I found myself starting off with my dog history and next thing I know I found myself writing about my childhood incident that turned out to be very difficult to relive but probably therapeutic. Who knows maybe dealing with such sadness all by myself at such a young age shaped my personality.
I am returning from a business/pleasure trip to Phoenix so I had to put Brook in a kennel. This time I realized that I had some separation anxiety when I dropped her off. This is not normal for me but our relationship has grown to be very close. I am really looking forward to years of backpacking adventures with Brook.