Today we are going to Muse about Vicki, a dog. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
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What becomes of old family photo albums? We have a number from various lines of the family going back several generations. Some of the photos have meaning, but they are the exception. Most of them are of people and places the viewer has never known or long forgotten.
My younger brother is trying to bring some meaning to the albums in his possession, I guess for his children and grandchildren. He has e-mailed scans of the pages, asking the rest of us to comment on the pictures. You know, who is the person, where was this taken and so on. Viewing these scans pulls up from the recesses of the mind memories that had faded away long ago.
This has caused me to think of dogs and several that have been part of my family. Most of the memories are good, not all, but most.
The first dog I recall was Sport. There is a photo of me age 3 with a dog in Pensacola, Florida where we lived a short time. This may be Sport. I am not sure. My first real memory of him was age 6. We moved to Kingman, Arizona which was a small town in a rural area. Most of the area was wide open, as I recall, few fenced yards. Dogs more or less ran free.
One day Sport stopped coming home. My dad found his body in a ravine next to the road. He had run home frothing at the mouth, acting violently as if in pain. My mother, frightened, hurried into the house and Sport ran away to die. Someone had left poison out and he had eaten it. This was one of the not so good memories.
Our next dog, a Collie named Lady died when the local doctor (there was no veterinarian in town) was spaying her. Too much ether I think. This is another no good memory.
After that we didn’t have dogs for a while. But I wanted a dog badly and my dad told me that If I would make a dog house we could get a dog. There was scrap lumber available. Dad was always building something.
I was nine or ten and had never built anything. But I got to work and I built the worst looking dog house you can imagine. Dad had to pretty much rebuild it. But it got me the pass: we went to the pound and got Tippy, a little black mix with a white tip on his tail. He often ran away. Dad would bail him out of the pound and bring him home and he would run away again. Eventually, Dad did not bail him out.
Next came a german Sheppard. I don’t recall his name. He was very protective of the family. So much so, that we could not have friends over without the dog being restrained. In those days the dry cleaning company and the milk man delivered to the house. That didn’t work with this dog. We eventually gave him to a rancher and that seemed to be remote enough to work.
All of which brings me to Vicki, the first success story. I don’t know how we got her. She was a boxer. Her tail had been cut but not her ears. And there was no way my brothers and sister could think of having them cut.
Here she is with my younger brother. She is the one on the left.
She was an affectionate and playful companion. Here you can see how much use she got out of the dog house.
About this time my mother, younger brother, sister, Vicki and I moved to Guam to join my dad who had gone to work there as a civilian employee of the Air Force. We left by ship, the USS Sultan, from Fort Mason in San Francisco. The voyage took ten days.
I was thrilled because being thirteen I was old enough to be bunked lower decks with some other boys. My mother, younger brother and sister were in an upper deck cabin reserved for officers and similar high-ranking persons.
Vicki had her own crate on deck. She hated being confined and she ripped off the chicken wire door and ran free on board. Over the ships PA system blared , “Lady with the dog, get your dog. It is running free on the ship.”
The ship’s carpenter repaired the door and Vicki repeated the process. This happened three times. Finally the carpenter replaced the wire door with a plywood door with air holes. Somehow Vicki was able to grab hold of the door using the holes and work it back and forth until the hinges failed. And she was out again. At that point the ship’s Captain threw in the towel. No more door. Vicki was tethered to her crate by rope but free to sit out side and walk a short distance. She was happy and the sailors loved it. They would play with her and wash her down when they hosed off the deck each day.
When we disembarked at Guam, Vicki was quarantined for six weeks, a standard practice at that time. When we finally got her home we learned the downside of her being hosed down. She developed a fungus. Each day I would have to use a salve and rub off scabs that formed the previous day. Slowly the fungus healed but it took weeks.
The two years we were in Guam Vicki had a great deal of freedom.
Here you see her in our yard. Note there is very little but open grass. We had no fences. She would run off and go to the beach, forage through the jungle and always come home. It was a great life.
Sadly, after two years we were to move again. My dad told me we could not take Vicki. She would have to be left behind.
We gave her as a mascot to the US Coast Guard station on Guam. Several years later I talked with someone from there and he remembered her. I think she was happy.
More to come
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