I have a dog. Well, a dog has me. Maybe I’d best start with how I came in possession of my talking dog. Yes, I said talking dog. Don’t think dogs can talk? Well, hang on and I’ll explain.
We’d lost our German shorthair, Molly in September, after thirteen wonderful years and we were devastated by the loss. My wife arranged with a friend who’d rescued an abandoned pregnant dog to take one of her pups for my birthday. I fell in love with this little roly-poly fur-ball at first sight and called him Teddy because he reminded me of a real live teddy bear. At the time he was nine weeks old and weighed just thirteen pounds. The vet took one look at him and told me that Teddy had dinner plate paws. I didn't know what he meant, but I soon learned. Two months later, he was already up to thirty-five pounds, and growing fast, though his appetite was never excessive. Our other dog, a shepherd mix named Bear, got along well with the pup, but was annoyed when the 'little' dog started herding him around the yard. Little did Bear know what would happen over the next six months when Teddy grew to equal Bear's ninety pounds and beyond.
Then Teddy began to talk to us. Only one problem; his tongue wouldn’t let him annunciate properly. That didn’t deter him as he issued his guttural commentary any time he needed some attention. Not a growl or a bark, just an ongoing series of hilarious sounds, accompanied by hysterical expressions of his eyes and brows. This dog can make you understand what he wants with his face and his voice.
Now a whopping one hundred seventy pounds, Teddy is still growing, though he’s nearly mature at two and a half years. When Teddy barks, the walls shake and folks quake. The behemoth sounds ferocious, but in truth he’s afraid of his shadow. It is clear that he still thinks of himself as that little thirteen pound fur-ball that stole our hearts.
Back to Teddy’s talking prowess. He loves to engage in dialogue with the missus and me. We begin a discussion and Teddy interjects his guttural commentary in ten to twenty second bursts. He hates being interrupted and gives us a ferocious glare if we try to talk over him. Usually ends with us laughing and wiping tears from our eyes from his sincere intensity. Because he doesn’t speak English and we don’t speak Dog, we have to guess at what he’s telling us, but it is always fun to try.
Now I’m engaged in writing a romance, with Teddy as protagonist and narrator. He tells the tale of a woman who casts off hubbies like last year’s fashions, trying to find one who can get along with her big dog (Teddy, of course). There is a man in the story that gets along with Teddy, but Andrea has overlooked him. Do you see the catalyst for a good romance here? Yep, complete with the dreaded black moment and, naturally, a happy ending for man, woman, and dog.
That’s my Teddy. Oh, if you’ve been wondering his breed? He’s an Alaskan Malamute/ Great Pyrenees mix, with a soft downy undercoat that makes him soft to the touch, warm to winter breezes, and a mess to clean up after. We once had a Malamute, Sebastian, who weighed in at one hundred pounds and was a handful in his own right. I expected Teddy to be about that size, but I got more than I’d bargained for. Truth told, I’m so in love with this dog, it doesn’t matter his size, or the extent of his shedding.
We are grateful that he is such a positive, happy dog, though. If Teddy were a grouch, or God forbid, mean, I don’t think we could keep up with him. Darn, that dog is fast when he bolts. We have four foot fences and he could easily clear them if he only knew it. He doesn’t, and we want to keep it that way. His bark is enough to keep ne’er-do-wells away from our home, and where we live, those types are always nearby.
Talk about a gentle giant! Luckily, we have an old Caravan with the middle seat removed. Well beyond two hundred thousand miles under its belt, it is now our canine cab. Bear and Teddy live for the weekends, when we take them for drives to one of the nearby Missouri state parks.
With the physical problems in my legs now, I have to wait with the van while Patricia takes them for a long walk. One at a time. She’s taken them together a few times but at ninety and one seventy pounds, they’re almost too much for her. Especially when they roust out a deer or, on one occasion, a mountain lion that was lurking in the edge of the adjoining woods. So much for the myth of no mountain lions in Missouri.
And so much for leading either dog into those woods any more. Now we stick to the mown part of the park. Life has enough drama without teasing wild animals with our domesticated pair. Patricia had enough of a challenge the day a rabbit spooked Teddy and he lurched, pulling her off balance in into a painful face-plant. Bent her glasses, bloodied her lip, blackened one eye, and destroyed her buoyant personality in one fell swoop. Or was it one swell foop? Lol
Suffice it to say, she did not return to the van smiling that day. The good news? He never bolted, even though she dropped the leash when she hit the ground. Like a good pal, he stood over her, looking around to see that she was safe until she could get her glasses bent back enough to see which way to go. And from the look on his face, he was very sorry for his boo-boo.
And that’s Teddy’s Tale from Missouri with Pat Dale.
Visit Pat at his website.
REMEMBER: Doggy Tales is reader contributed. If you have, or have had, a furry, finned, or feathered friend you were fortunate enough to share your life with, we want to hear about it! Leave a comment here at an addy where I can contact you. Your article will be featured in a future Monday segment. :)