Sunny Side Up!

by Mary Helen Darah
PUBLICATION DATE: April 16, 2019

Jim and Sue Scheib, their daughter Mary Helen Darah, Nala, and granddaughters Maria, Helena and Loren enjoy spending time together.

As far back as I can recall, my family has owned pets, or more accurately, the pets have owned us. Recently my dad was a victim of an unprovoked attack by his neighbor’s dog when he went out to get the mail. It was so disheartening trying to wrap my brain around the fact that people own dogs that will charge at people with gnarled teeth instead of running toward them with unconditional love as my golden retriever, also fondly known as our retrieving golden, and my parents’ dog Bob does. Time in the ER waiting for my dad to be stitched up and discharged gave me, besides the addition of another gray hair, a moment to ponder the many caring canines that have graced our lives.
The two fur kids who are currently part of our family are Nala and Bob. Nala lives by the golden (retriever) motto, “I love you! Do you love me? I love you more!” Bob, affectionately known as “Bob Barker” is a cockapoo, heavy on the poo. I believe he was named to rile up the breeder my parents got him from. She informed my dad, “He will need a first name, middle name, and show name followed by your last name.” My dad looked her in the eyes and said, “Bob, his name is Bob,” and it stuck. Unfortunately, this name meant having breakfast at my favorite haunt with my mother, who was born without an inside voice, became a bit embarrassing. We got looks from other diners when she complained, “Bob wouldn’t get off of me this morning and he wouldn’t stop licking me.” We switched breakfast places on a frequent basis until I suggested that when she discusses Bob’s antics in public, we refer to him as “Fido.”
There have been many other precious pooches that have since crossed the rainbow bridge. The first being my childhood dachshund, Fritz, who possessed many of the character traits that my brother possessed during his teen years. He had a history of sneaking out at any opportunity and if he didn’t get time to wander in the moonlight he was downright cranky. I also had a dog named Bailey during my years as a new mom. He was a Shetland sheepdog that, like me, was big for his breed. It is with him I realized that the words you say to your children eventually come back to bite you in the behind. Once, in my absence Bailey jumped up and ate a $70 chunk of Reggio Parmesan cheese that arrived from my friends in Italy. When the girls and I arrived home I told Bailey that he was a terrible, bad dog. My little one looked up at me and said, “He’s not a bad dog. He just made a bad choice.”
Liz, a pre-named little Yorkie, arrived from Louisiana as a gift from my uncle. It’s funny how the universe works. As this little furry Liz entered our lives, my dear friend Liz left this Earth after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.  On the day we were to bury friend Liz, I went to collect the tiny furry one from our backyard. I still couldn’t find her after repeatedly calling her name. My neighbor came outside thinking I was yelling for my deceased friend. If she didn’t think we were just plain nuts before, this pretty much solidified it for her. I looked over at her and told her the last time I saw Liz she was in the bushes. She told me that not only is she in the bushes but in the sky above us and in our hearts. It took ten minutes for me to explain that I didn’t need to be medicated or taken away in a straightjacket. Liz was a challenging pup. She enjoyed chewing my children’s prized possessions. Their dolls looked as if there had been a serial killer on the loose due to all the missing body parts. I’m happy to report, she grew into an amazing well-behaved member of the family.
My longest relationship with a canine was with my beloved Maggie, who passed away four years ago. She was a Corgi with an attitude far grander than her two-inch legs. Maggie was my kayaking buddy and a great gal–as long as I kept articles of clothing off the floor. If I left anything with my scent around at her level, she would react with an “Oh happy day!” and I would rarely see the item again once she got her paws on it. I can’t decide if I should have been flattered or disgusted by having a stalker with fur.
The critters in our lives were and are as diverse as our family, yet there is one common denominator … their unconditional love. In times of stress, such as dealing with the aftermath of a wounded dad, having a loving wet nose to come home to is the best therapy this girl could hope for.

One thought on “Sunny Side Up!

  1. Great article, once again. Really brought home the mutual love that can go on between human and dog, but also the responsibility people have in preventing dog attacks on other animals, including humans. Well done.

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