Canines, Part II

dog cartoon
Don Sorchych
Don Sorchych

Last week I wrote mainly about my much loved six hybrid wolves. My memories of them are sad mixed with the delight they brought into my life. Many have commented about the wish that canines (cats too) lived as long as humans. Few pets exceed twenty years of longevity.

In my Florida life, although Zaki was our main dog we also had Michael, a miniature poodle. We left a teen neighbor to care for Michael and the house when the family vacationed. When we got home, no Michael! The teen reported they let him out and he disappeared. We searched all the locations, but no Michael.

Years later, we discovered the teen had a drinking party in our house and a boy had killed Michael.

When I bought my house at 5000 East Morning Star the seller said his retriever Oliver went with the house. Why? It seems his best friend’s last name was Oliver. When Oliver took off with the seller’s wife, he could no longer bear to hear the name.

Oliver was a joy, but he was old and soon died.

I had an unforgettable girl named RCA Victoria, so named because she looked like the dog in the old RCA ads.

RCA was with me in Mesa and Akala (female mother of the wolf-mix pups) tried to kill her even though they had played together when they were pups. So I adopted a strict separation policy.

RCA was my favorite. We were hiking together near my house when a coyote jumped out of the undergrowth and bit her on the butt. The coyote ran off when I shouted and ran after it. RCA loved the pool, as did my wolves, and loved to leap into the water.

I still have a five-picture photo cube of her in my office. She lived to be about 13

The next dogs I had were Dobie and Max. When I moved from “Rotten Row,” Dobie was the last to be brought to the new location and was with me when I moved some articles. When I was ready to leave, I found him in the dog yard lying motionless with only the end of his tail moving. I took him to the emergency veterinarian clinic and they found he had been poisoned. The poison was mixed with cat food and I knew my neighbor put out cat food and poison to kill coyotes.

He didn’t deny he did it, just said he didn’t know Dobie was still here. He received a stern letter from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office about his poisoning. Dobie survived the event and lived a natural lifetime.

That left Max, a delightful mixed breed that passed in our bedroom, not a recommended way to wake up.

While we had Emily Ester Marie, who was sent by a friend after she was about to be crushed by a backing bulldozer on a construction site in Phoenix, an adorable puppy that was a German Shepherd, pit bull, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Chow mix, we adopted an Australian sheep dog named Sadie. Sadie was a small dog about the size of Emily. They loved to chase each other and when Sadie was losing their quasi battle she would leap into my lap to fend off Emily.

A friend was driving a golf cart in the yard at top speed when Sadie ran into it head on. At the emergency clinic the X-ray showed her back had been broken, making it necessary to put her down.

If you think dogs don’t have emotions, Emily was despondent for weeks even though her ears have bite marks from Sadie. So now Miss Em, as we call her, is our only dog. She is a buddy that is so loving and so connected.

When she hears my truck she sticks her head out the dog door and howls until I come in. She lets me know if she is hungry; her paw hits my leg until I fix her food. She hugs my leg with her head and nose until I pet her. If something is vile on TV she whines.

But she wasn’t always that way. As she aged, she spent most of her time sleeping and became picky about her food, even though she was fed a high grade of dog food with excellent nutrition.

My daughter Dawn is a dog person too. She extended the life of her male dog to over 18 years by giving him Vivitonin. At Em’s weight of 100 pounds she gets a pill and a half twice a day. What a change! She became more and more lucid and communicative with us. She will be 15 in February.

The drug can be bought in the UK and sometimes in Australia. Inscribed on the medicine box is, “ACTIVE CONSTITUENT: Each tablet contains 100 mg Propentofylline. For alleviation of dullness, lethargy and improvement in overall demeanor in older dogs.” It works for Emily!

However, we now find she quickly loses interest in regular feeding of the same food. She will not eat canned food so we feed her cooked chicken, raw chicken, raw turkey and raw beef. She has a dish of grain-free salmon kibble too.

Her greeting when I arrive home completes a work day with a smile as do her hugs when I get into the house.

One last important fact about Emily, when anyone visits she wags her tail and follows them around. However, we had hired two horse wranglers and they lived in a trailer and bunk house.

When they came to the house Emily would back up, growl and her entire back hair would rise. One turned out to be a serious drug user and the other stole a truck and Phoenix water uniform. He was jailed and committed suicide. A third had bought a car from me but never paid for it. He agreed to work if off and when he came Emily growled, backed and flared her back hair.

Emily obviously has a high developed six sense.