Monday, November 29, 2010

I am the 10th dog.

This is a story my stay-at-home human told me.

A long, long time ago, when she was little, she had a 1st dog. She called him Cookie,  after Kookie from 77 Sunset Strip. Back then, she wasn't too good at spelling. Most of you have probably never heard of this show. It's very old.

Cookie had lots of brothers and sisters when he was born. But they all died young. When Cookie was a puppy, he had short shiny black fur. As he grew up, his fur grew longer and wiry. It became black and grey and sandy and brown. His tail became feathery. So he wasn't just a scruffy mutt, he was also a very unusual one.

My stay-at-home human knew he was her dog and no one else's because Cookie only ever listened to her.

Every day after school, my stay-at-home human would rush home, throw her schoolbag down, get on her bicycle and ride far, far away. No one ever tried to kidnap her because these were the old days when people smiled more, were kinder and looked after each other. Cookie always ran after the bicycle. He never wore a leash.

Together, they climbed hills and explored caves. She pretended she was one of The Famous Five and ate funny fruit she'd never seen before. Miraculously, she didn't get sick and die. Her mother and father would have been very angry if they knew, so she never told them. My stay-at-home human was a lot braver then. These days, she won't even let me have a piece of chocolate or a peanut because she's afraid it'll kill me.

Cookie and my stay-at-home human played in deserted rubber plantations, and tempted death some more by following railway tracks. They got wet catching tadpoles and fish in puddles and streams. They got very dirty thinking a sewer was a stream [and she got big boils from it too].

Cookie and my stay-at-home human were Very Best Friends.

My stay-at-home human taught Cookie how to come, sit, lie down, shake hands, beg and stay. Cookie taught himself how to kill snakes and climb fences to get out of the backyard. And Cookie taught my stay-at-home human how to eat fresh grass and dog biscuit-mud pies and smoked pig bones. They shared the bones and Cookie always let my stay-at-home human have first go.

But Cookie was a sickly dog. You remember I told you all his brothers and sisters died young. Cookie was still young too, when he had to make his first Very Important Visit to the town's Dr Dog.

Dr Dog told my stay-at-home human's father that Cookie was sick and would have to be put to sleep. When my stay-at-home human heard this, she started crying and begged Dr Dog to please save Cookie. She cried so much, Dr Dog and her father got worried and said, "Okay, let's take him home and see how it goes."

Over the years, Cookie had to visit Dr Dog many times. But each time, my stay-at-home human cried and cried until he was allowed to come home. She was a real crybaby.

Then, as always happens, my stay-at-home human grew up. She stopped sneaking into Cookie's kennel and smuggling him into her bed. Maybe it was because her nanny found fleas in her clothes and she got a scolding. But it was also because she discovered Donovan, love poems and boys.

When Cookie was about 10, my stay-at-home human got sent away to a boarding school in a bigger town. She was really sad that she had to leave Cookie behind. She cried some more, and she promised him that they would one day soon be together again.

If Cookie was lonely at home without my stay-at-home human, she was never told. At any rate, she was a teenager now and had more important things to think about than a little old dog far, far away.

Months and months went by. One day, her father came to visit. He told her that he'd put Cookie to sleep because he couldn't be saved anymore.

My stay-at-home human got very angry. She started screaming at her father and calling him names for killing her dog. She scolded him for not telling her before he'd done it. She scolded him for having done it. Then she ran away, crying because she suddenly remembered how much she loved Cookie.

She cried for days and nights. She didn't care that all her friends and teachers thought she was mad. She didn't care when her eyes ballooned up and she couldn't see anymore. She kept on crying because she didn't know how to stop.

There was just no other way to say goodbye.

Cookie's been dead more than 35 years now. My stay-at-home human doesn't cry much anymore. She's become a Grumpy Old Woman Who Eats Too Many Passionfruit Tarts. She's had 9 dogs since Cookie. I am her 10th.

But she's never forgotten her 1st Dog. She only has one small black and white picture of him. He's looking up at her and you can only see his bum.

She doesn't know if all her dogs that are gone are now hunting rabbits in heaven, because she's not sure there's such a thing as heaven. But it's alright, she says, they're all still here, in her favourite memories. All she has to do is close her eyes and take a deep breath. Smell that?

"It's Cookie and me sharing a great big smoked pig bone. Yum."

I think that's what you call love.

For the other Georgia and her dog, Kammy.
As some of you may know, Kammy has been suffering from lymphoma for a while. 3 minutes after publishing this post, I received an email that she has taken a turn for the worse and will have to be put to sleep.

If you'd like to say goodbye, please be down at Mort Bay around 8am this Thursday 2nd December.


Kristine said...

Thank you for this story. It makes me miss my first dog. I've been trying for a while now to write something about her but haven't been able to find the words. Reading your tale helps.

georgia little pea said...

Even after all these years, I found it very helpful to write about it. I'm afraid I had a weepy night. Good luck with your story. xox

ceekay said...

Thanks for warning me not to read this post on the iPad on a crowded bus going in to work!! I think I'll have to start walking in to work from now on or leave the area!!

georgia little pea said...

sap! :p

Chapeuzinho said...

Sap here too. You big meanie.

My first dog was called Sally and she was the first loved thing that I lost. I never cried so much before in my life I too thought I could never stop crying. I was 16 when she died.

I saw Donovan for my 18th birthday. His guitar snapped 2 strings during the show and he told us great stories while he changed them.


georgia little pea said...

haha sap!

is sally the dog that went ard to everyone saying goodbye? i will never forget that story. *sigh*

you saw Donovan in concert WOW!! "from a flower to a garden" - my favourite. i've tried finding his songs on limewire etc and :(

walks 'n wags said...

oh that is such a lovely little story you wrote, I started crying almost as soon as I started reading (I'm so soft!). I've emailed Fiona your link as its just so sweet.

I'll see you Thursday

Cal x

Anonymous said...

via email -

I really enjoyed your dog tale about your childhood buddy Cookie. Reading between the lines, and knowing you, I hope that that Cookie never got between you and those smoked pork bones. He could have lost a paw or more. Your story's a tribute to the memory of this lovely little guy. And yes, there is a dog heaven, why is this so ? Because dogs deserve it, maybe more than a lot of self obsessed humans. It's a beach with lots of space to run, other dogs to sniff and play with, plus lots of stuff to roll in.

Rufus & Georgia should be chuffed to be living such long & happy lives. By my maths, if you're had 10 dogs in 35 years, you're averaging 3.5 years per dog. But seriously, how is dog #9, still hanging in there we hope. Flash, god love him, has had a could of hard falls recently, jumping down from places that wouldn't have been a problem a couple of years ago. But the most part he's still getting around OK, apart from bumping into things.

I'm hoping that you're both happy & well, hugs & best regards STeve

georgia little pea said...

*haha* poor cookie :p i always got to the bones first and snarfled the meaty bits. long suffering dog.

you ARE alert. well, we had multiple dogs at one time. that's how we ended up with so many in 35 years. of course, quite a few were before The Man's time. perhaps i shall tell you about them too, sometime :)

hugs to old flash and inky. and the humans in the family too, of course. xox georgia's human

Anonymous said...

How little we know of each other's lives and motivations even though we're siblings. It takes these tender moments of approaching death - and my aging - for me to see a part of the intense inner life you led and your outward expression as you shared your life (and his meaty bones) with Cookie after school. I am touched by your sharing. Thank you. Have you forgiven father?
Ai Mee

georgia little pea said...

Absolutely. I feel really bad about how angry I was because I now understand how difficult the decision must have been to end his life. Some things you have to be older to understand.

Thanks for reading. xox

bing said...

I remember Cookie, Shandy (the boxer) and Mickey the dachshund (or Mike?).

georgia little pea said...

you have an excellent memory! :) xox

Tell-A-Tale said...

Via email -

Just read your blog on Cookie. Lovely.

Juliette said...

Hi found your blog from Eddie's. Lovely tail about your first dog, I wish I'd had a dog as a child, as I too had the type of adventures you had (unfortunately with a screaming 4yr old brother in tow!). Thanks for sharing, will visit again - I have a nine yr old westie called Dougie.

georgia little pea said...

Hi Juliette, just popped by to your site and couldn't find a place to drop a note. You have some really interesting things. I have never seen doggie ladders before! Georgia is a very half hearted swimmer (unfortunately).

Thanks for reading Cookie's story. He is very special to me still. Perhaps we'll read the story of YOUR childhood dog one day. Until then, good day to you and Dougie, a REAL littledog :)