National Puppy Day

Okay so all the National Puppy Day photos got the better of me and I had to add my own 🙂 He’s not a puppy in this picture (taken in 1987? 1988? when he was already 11 or 12) but he’ll always be my pup (our pup). His name tag is still on my keyring, 26 years later.

Ah, Scooby… The first pets we had when I was a kid were named after cartoon characters: we had a budgie called Tweetie Pie, and Scooby Doo was our family dog. (I think the goldfish went unnamed.) My sister broke with “tradition” when she called her rabbit Smoky; I would have called it Bugs of course.

I don’t normally pay much attention to dog photos on Instagram, as I’m not entirely comfortable with dogs in the backcountry, mostly because the majority of dogs are simply not trained well enough (it’s an owner problem more than a dog problem), or have the right temperament (after all, many types were bred specifically to hunt). On top of that there are issues surrounding water quality and animal encounters. But yesterday’s National Puppy Day outpourings had me reminiscing about my childhood pet enough to take a picture of one of my fading prints from the ’80s and post it for the world to see.

As a teenager I loved having a dog. It got me outside pretty much every day, and we were fortunate enough to live next to some woodland with good paths through it. Of course, I didn’t have to worry about bears, cougars, coyotes, or skunks so it was easy to let the dog run off the leash. What helped, though, is that Scooby was well trained and would come back to us the minute he was called and I could keep him at my side even off the leash. He also wasn’t an aggressive dog – I can only recall one or two brief scraps that were always initiated by the other dog – but he certainly had his moods. He bit me once, badly enough to break the skin through my sock, though you could argue that it was largely my fault.

There’s a part of me that would really like a dog, but living in an apartment in a city makes that unfeasible to me, especially given the size of dog I’d be willing to look after. In the meantime, I’ll just have to enjoy time with friends’ dogs.

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