Cat People – Once we Owned a Dog



I’ve heard it said that some people are cat people and some are dog people. The other day I found this article online as I was looking into the background info before writing my story here.

I’m not here to dispute or support anything in this article or any other study. Personally some of it rings true for me and other parts sound like total bullshit. I love cats and I love dogs. Looking at us from the outside, one would have to declare that we are cat people since we’ve owned them all our married life (read me) and never owned a dog. We’ve talked about owning a dog several times and we’ve always decided against it because we think not having the proper amount of time for a dog is just not fair for the animal. With cats, when we leave the house we just need to ensure there’s water, food, litter, a couple of bucks and the keys to the car.

I have only 3 memories of owning dogs or being very close to someone who was a dog owner – all 3 ended in disaster.

Dog memory #1

Me and Skippy, age 2

Me and Skippy, age 2

My first dog memory is of Skippy, a small black and white mutt we owned while living on Creech Lane as a 4 year old. All of my memories of Creech Lane are some sort of tragedy, no doubt associated with the word “creech”. How can a name like Creech not be haunted or an Omen of bad things to come? My evidence?
1) I stepped on a rusty nail in the nearby wooded lot and had to get my first tetanus shot
2) One of my brothers closed a car door, (at the hinge no less), on to my other brother’s hand
3) My mom wrecked the car into a tree. I’m pretty sure it was not snowing but I think Mom said she was texting. This was very strange because texting didn’t exist in 1962 – Al Gore was only 14 years old so I know this is a fabrication. He hadn’t even invented the internet yet, for crying out loud!
4) I got caught underneath a crib with a girl who I was playing doctor with. My dad pulled me out from underneath the crib by my ankles. I don’t recall if I got a spanking or a high five. I’m sticking with the spanking to maintain the disaster memory theme here.
5) My dad gave away our dog Skippy.

Those are the only memories I am left with from Creech Lane except for one vague memory of singing along to Sherry by the Four Seasons in the back seat of the car.

Dog memory #2

Yup, the "pup" looked just like this fellow

Yup, the “pup” looked just like this fellow

My second dog memory occurred during the time I was dating Betty (read me). My step-father Joe always wanted a dog. He had this idea that an African Basenji would be a really cool dog to own because he had once read that they didn’t have a bark. I guess the thought of more noise on top of all the noise we already had in a 9-kid household was unappealing but the notion of owning a dog was very appealing. According to Wiki, the basenji is a yodeler. Maybe Joe was thinking of forming a country family singing group?

The Basenji

The Basenji

One day Joe took a gamble and brought home a very large boxer ‘pup’. I suspect the dog was not yet a full year old as he had that youthful energy, but the animal was already as tall as my waist. Joe brought him home on a Monday. On the following Saturday I had a date with Betty. In the morning I had delivered my Hamilton Journal newspapers (read me) and in the afternoon I had been collecting route fees because I wanted to have a little spending money for my date.

The date that night was something a little different. Joe had been helping out a lot with the Hamilton Mini Circus (if you use Facebook, you may check out a lot of cool nostalgia here in this link) because my sisters were all still involved. So I thought it would be fun for me and Betty to go with them that night and watch the performance. On all previous days during the week there had always been someone home with ‘Marmaduke’, (as a couple of us were affectionately referring to him as). On this night however, no one was available to sit with the dog.

So we were going to have to leave him alone. What? Leave Marmaduke alone inside a house? You have to be kidding. Shouldn’t we lock him up in the bathroom or something? Joe had the idea of what to do with him; he put him down in the basement at the bottom of the steps with a long rope that would allow the dog to walk up to the top of the basement steps, should he desire. What could go wrong?

The date was great and the performance by the kids was fantastic. On the way home, Betty and I had stopped at the grocery store with my mom to pick up some dog food for Marmaduke. As the evening was about to play out however, we would soon find out that the dog either could not wait for the food to get there or the boxer dog breed has an affinity for the taste of vacuum cleaners!

When we got home, the first thing we did was to go back to let Marmaduke back upstairs. When we opened the door, there was the ‘pup’ with a huge “it wasn’t me” look on his mug. And there on the stair landing was the vacuum cleaner in about a hundred pieces. He had chewed the cord to pieces and the major component was in shreds. That was a sign to Joe that perhaps Marmaduke was a bit too large for our humble abode. Sadly for us, but good for Marmaduke, he was given a larger place to roam soon afterwards.

Dog memory #3

Misty looked a little bit like this

Misty looked a little bit like this

Number three dog memory is that of my wife’s dog, Misty. (Misty is the dog – I am publicly declaring that my wife is NOT a dog…you’re not a dog honey). Misty was a small black poodle that belonged to Kim when she and I were dating. She was a friendly little dog and clearly belonged to Kim as she would always come at Kim’s call….with one exception – when the front door was accidentally left open long enough for Misty to bolt through.

Whenever the front door was left open or cracked open long enough for Misty to make her perfectly-timed exodus, she’d make a beeline outside and the entire family would have to head out on foot or in autos in an attempt to find Misty and bring her back into captivity. What were these people doing to this poor little doggie that it felt the urge to ESCAPE on every single opportunity it spotted? Being a lover of domesticated animals, I am afraid to ask – I don’t want to know.

The other ‘trait’ that I remember about Misty is that she loved to eat gum. Kim was a constant gum chewer, (still is). If gum fell out of the mouth and Misty spotted it, she’d come swooping down on it faster than a peregrine falcon on a pigeon! Next thing you’d hear was the smack, smack, smacking of dog lips enjoying the chew until it was swallowed shortly after. On numerous occasions I recall being in Kim’s basement, (possibly necking? I’ll never tell), when we’d hear the chomping begin as a result of Kim’s attempt to keep me from stealing her gum during a bout of spit-swapping.

Unfortunately, Misty’s love of bubble gum was not enough to deter her larger desire to escape the Pike encampment – or else there just wasn’t enough gum in the house to satisfy her. One day Kim delivered the sad news to me that she had lost her precious pooch to a diaper truck. What is a diaper truck? Although disposable diapers had been invented, it was still quite common to use a diaper service. A diaper service delivered clean cotton diapers and picked up the soiled ones on a weekly basis for a fee. Misty unfortunately had tried to escape the Pike Doggie Prison, only to be squashed by someone who helped to clean up baby doodie.

I have only 3 memories of owning dogs or being very close to someone who was a dog owner – all 3 ended in disaster. Yeah, I guess we’re cat people.

I just had to include this awesome David Bowie song “Cat People” – Stevie Ray Vaughan on the guitar in this is amazing! Take a listen if you’ve not heard or if you just want to hear it again.


3 comments on “Cat People – Once we Owned a Dog

  1. […] On this day, again we landed in the pet department.  They had a fresh batch of cute hamsters.  Kim fell in love with a cute fuzzy light brown one.  She reached inside the glass tank to pet the little guy, but apparently he wanted to go home with us for when she reached in, he reached back!  He had latched onto Kim’s finger, with his teeth!  Kim let out a short shriek and tried to shake loose the little guy but he was having no part of it.  So, (with hamster attached), Kim lifted her hand back out and placed it into her purse.  He let go then.  Instead of dumping him back into the fish tank, Kim decided he was going home with her (I guess she figured he couldn’t run away when the front door opened like Misty did). […]

  2. […] I ever have any pets other than cats or the dog that chewed up our vacuum cleaner (link)?  Well, let’s see – I had a pair of gerbils for a short time.  Luckily they were of the […]

  3. […] briefly mentioned my short time on Creech Lane in this story, but I do have one more memory of living there; I got caught playing doctor there as a 3 or 4 year […]

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