Dog spelled backwards is God. I believe with all my heart that dogs are a reflection of God’s unconditional love for us. He gave them to us as gifts to remind us of what unconditional love looks like because in this incredibly cold and screwed up world we might go a whole lifetime without seeing it here otherwise. This is one of the reasons my husband and I formed My Mutt Publications; the name under which we publish for ourselves and others.
I’ve always had dogs. I like them better than I like most people. I know what to expect from my dogs because my dogs know what to expect from me. The first dog I had was named Lad. He was a Collie/German Shepherd mix and he was so sweet. He loved to go for walks, loved to play fetch and hated thunderstorms. I was just a kid when Lad was around during the 1970’s and my parents insisted that big dogs were not house-dogs, so he lived his life out in a fenced in area of the yard with a doghouse. New England weather can be harsh, and he was seldom allowed in the house. He died of heartworm disease when I was about 12 years old. He should have had a better life than that. Forty years later I’m still peeved.
The next dogs I got were Rusty and Snickers the Shetland Sheepdogs. Rusty came first in 1990 and Snickers in 1992. They received a lot of the spoiling that Lad never got. They lived good long lives – Snickers passed first in early 2008 from cancer and Rusty followed later that year from just plain old age.
Then came Coda, who technically isn’t a “mutt”, he’s a purebred Black Lab. His mother was an American lab and his father was an English lab and I just think that he got the best traits from both sides of the family. Coda grabbed my heart as an 8 week old puppy in 2006 and was with me until 2019 when his hips really gave out and we had to be merciful, no matter how much it hurt us. Rusty and Snickers bullied the heck out of him when he was a pup. Coda accompanied me to my office for the first three years of his life and was my constant companion. He was three years old when my husband first entered my life. Marty was a stay at home writer for a few years so Coda hung out with his new dad instead of commuting with me.
Days after my husband and I got married we decided to go to the local shelter and get a puppy as a wedding gift to each other. The shelter had a pup advertised as a “lab mix” and we went to meet him. I could see right from the first second that there was zero Labrador in the puppy but he was adorable and I wanted him. He was white with tan markings, clearly a Pit bull mix, as most dogs in shelters seem to be these days. We got approved on our application for him and a few days later Adoc (which is Coda spelled backwards) came home.
Adoc was a lovable little dude who just wanted to play and snuggle. He didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body. He was also not so smart, but he made up for his lack of smarts with his personality. Unfortunately, Adoc (which is also the name of the canine main character in my husband’s book “A Man, a Dog and a Ball) left us much too soon. At the age of four and a half years he lost a very brief struggle with cancer. His ashes are in an urn in our bedroom now and I miss this little mutt every single day. We called him, “Fifty pounds of stupid” but he was my special buddy and he never missed an opportunity to get up on the bed and nap with me. When he died in my arms he took a huge chunk of my heart with him.
Coda was lonely after Adoc’s passing (or at least I thought he was) so I went to the shelter and got another senior to keep him company. Jack the Jerk was our newest addition. The shelter told me he was eight years old but I could see that he was actually older than that. He fit in pretty quickly and enjoyed the last three years he had on this earth with us. He had some scars on him that looked like they were from an embedded collar at some point in his life and he was a scrounger so we think he was probably kept outside and not fed on a regular basis. We gave him three years of regular meals, treats, walks and a big comfy dog bed to sleep on. He went for rides in the car, he made friends in the neighborhood and I hope we gave him his best years. If he’d had some better years earlier he might have lived longer but he started to decline rapidly a few months back and we took him for one last ride in the car – to the vet. He may have had a rough life but he had a peaceful end.
After Coda passed I said I was done. No more dogs. It’s too hard when they get old. My husband knew there would be at least one more and requested only that the next one not be a hundred pounds full grown because we’re all getting older. I told him not to worry because I wasn’t getting any more dogs.
And of course when my co-worker asked me if I could take the puppy I’d helped her pick out for her grown daughter a few months ago (and now the daughter couldn’t keep him) I couldn’t say no. And he’s only 60 pounds full grown. He’s two now and his name is Bodie.
And of course the REAL Mutt is my husband, Martin Petry. He’s adopted and can’t really say what his lineage or heritage is, so he’s kind of a USA Mutt, which was the name of our first website together 🙂
I guess I’ve never met a Mutt I didn’t love!