Peaches is a mutt. I did not buy him from a breeder or the animal shelter or even worse from a puppy mill. He showed up on my doorstep one day, hair matted and soaking wet. His eyes were a crusty mess and I did not want to touch him.
“Get over here, please! I need your help. There’s a sick stray dog and I can’t get it off my porch.” My brother always rescued me from my predicaments. It had been so since grade school.
As Bobby exited his VW bug, he started laughing. “This is the mean and frightening dog?” The little dog was curled up on the braided rug in front of the swing, shivering. “Let’s get you inside”.
“Inside? Are you crazy?”
A bath and a few vet visits later, the half-cocker half-mutt dog became my constant companion. I named him Peaches before I realized he was a he. Bobby said it was terribly emasculating but the name stuck.
Peaches was not feral, but he was a wanderer. He managed to get out of the fenced yard without fail. Every time Mrs. Harper’s Cockapoo was in heat, Peaches managed to make his way to her yard. “You need to tie this dog up. He’s always runnin’ away and chasing my precious girl.”
Tonight had been no exception. I found Peaches’ collar still attached to the generous lead and a fresh hole tunneled under the fence. The rain was picking up and I had driven around the entire neighborhood looking for him. Not even Mrs. Harper had seen him. “I tried to warn you!”
Bobby was out of town, but I called him anyway. He tried to calm my nerves but I was frantic. “He knows his way home. Try to get some sleep.” It was 3:00 AM when I quit pacing the floor and finally drifted off to sleep on the couch.
A loud crash at the back door startled me awake. I peeked out the back door and saw wind had blown the old metal trash can off the stoop. As I reached for the handle of the coffee pot I heard a faint whine. I opened the back door to see Peaches, soaking wet and covered in mud crouched up against the door. I scooped him up in an old towel and started drying him off. I noticed a patch of hair missing from his ear. “You’re a mess, Peaches. I was so worried about you. I don’t know what I would do without you. Now let’s get you in the bath”.
On our evening walk a week later, Peaches slipped from his collar and made a bee line for old Mr. Watkins’ house. Peaches had a thing for his French Poodle. I managed to capture him before he dug a hole under the fence. I could not take much more. I loved this mutt but he was killing me!
Two days later I sat in the lobby at the vet. I had been foolish to think I could watch after a dog as independent as Peaches and keep him safe. Bobby had warned me knowing this would be a challenge he was not sure I could handle. I should have taken his advice but I thought I knew best. The anticipation was killing me. As much as it hurt me, I knew what I needed to do. I was sobbing when I handed him over to Marcie, the vet’s assistant.
“He will be fine now, don’t cry. We neuter dogs all the time.”
Song Titles Used:
Runnin’ Away by Sly and the Family Stone
Without You by Nilsson
Anticipation by Carly Simon