Today marks the two year anniversary of my Dad’s death. Wow! Two years already. That first year was so long and now it’s been two years. It doesn’t seem possible.
As the second anniversary rolls around, I find that my thoughts turn less from grief and more to the times we enjoyed. I don’t know why, but today I was thinking about my Dad and my dog.
My Dad never really cared for animals. He could take them or leave them. Having five kids, he was constantly surrounded by pets though. He had no choice!
He never really cared for dogs, though we had them growing up. I like to think back on how Sierra, my Lab, worked her way into his heart.
Sierra seemed to have it in for my Dad from the start. The first two years were a nightmare. She dug holes all over the yard, got into the rose bushes that my Dad prized, and she chewed up the floorboards in the hallway.
She was a big thief as well. She seem to know that my Dad didn’t pay very good attention, so she picked on him. If he went to answer the front door during dinner, he’d come back to find his chicken missing. If he went to the bathroom while making lunch, he’d find that someone stole his bread from the toaster. Once I saw her steal a handkerchief from his back pocket. She was had no mercy!
I always knew that when my Dad yelled “son of a bitch” when in the backyard it meant that he forgot again that we had a dog and he stepped in dog poop for the third time in a week.
When my arthritis got bad, he took over taking her for walks. He would walk her at the school yard where there were all sorts of things for them to get into trouble with. I remember one funny incident that makes me laugh even now. My Dad didn’t always pay attention when he was out walking. One day, they were out on the baseball field when a flock of pigeons took flight. Sierra decided to chase them. Only my Dad wasn’t paying attention. He was looking the other day. She yanked the leash so hard that my Dad landing face first in the grass. He came home in a fluster only to realize that while he found his glasses, he forgot that he was wearing a baseball hat. He had to go all the way back and search around for it. LOL Well, at least he didn’t forget he had the dog.
My Dad hated having the dog around during meals. He hated that she stared at him begging for a morsel. He felt like she was pressuring him. He never could get her to settle down when he was eating.
I always thought that my Dad saw the dog as one big hassle. That was until after her amputation. Sierra adapted to her amputation very well. She didn’t seem to mind having three legs at all. This really amazed my Dad. He’d tell everyone about her surgery and about how she was walking seven hours after surgery.
I had taken some photos of Sierra and given my Dad a couple as a friend wanted to see what a three legged dog looked like. A few months later my Dad was in the middle of something and he asked me to find something in his wallet.
Whatever it was was supposed to be behind one of the photos. I noticed he had photos of each of his grand kids and Sierra! That’s when I knew my Dad was crazy for that dog! Oh, he pretended that she was a pain in the butt, but I knew differently. Heck! There wasn’t one photo of his five kids, but there were several photos of the dog.
There are so many memories bubbling up right now. But, I’m going to laugh again at my Dad face down in the grass and losing his hat while the dog ran around the field chasing birds. I think he’d enjoy me laughing at him on this anniversary. Beats crying, that’s for sure!
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com