Across the River
Remembering a dog named “Cannabis”
Some weeks ago, I watched on TV, as the winner of the dog show was paraded about, and, I must say, I don’t believe I have ever seen a dog like that one. I thought it looked like a dust mop — a very fancy dust mop!
Although I do not have a dog, now, I then became reminded of the dog I once had. I felt compelled to write about this very special dog.
My son, Bo, came home from college with this little German Shepherd dog. I said, “Oh, no, we are not going to have a dog-I already have five children and I do not need a dog!”
“But, mom, you haven’t seen what this dog can do”, he said, and he proceeded to put the dog through it’s paces.
The dog shook hands, rolled over, barked, when asked to speak, sat up and begged and pretty much became “the belle of the ball!” For she was a female and she “stole the show!” I said, “OK, we will keep her for a week, and see how it works out.
Well one week went by, then two weeks and, finally, “Cannabis” pretty much became part of our family.
When I asked where she got that name, I was told that she was named after a Greek god! I also found out much later, that cannabis is the medical name of a weed, “marijuana!” So Bo was really pulling my leg.
In any event, Cannabis was a wonderful little dog-she was very small and resembled a tiny deer-she had the same coloring. She was also very young. We made the mistake of not having her neutered, immediately, and as a result, she became impregnated by an Airedale, who lived nearby.
As I though about it, I figured, well, maybe she would have a puppy or maybe even two or three, and I thought I could handle it for I had become very attached to this little dog.
My husband fixed a “nest” in the garage and that is where she had her puppies. She had not one, two or three, but 10 puppies! I wondered if she could possibly nurse that many puppies. I soon found out that Cannabis would have nothing to do with these puppies.
She would not nurse them, and in fact pretty much ignored them. We consulted the veterinarian, who told us that since she was so immature when she had her puppies, she could not or would not take care of them. My husband fixed a trough and the veterinarian fixed us up with huge 25 pounds bags of some kind of food, which resembled oatmeal/flour and had to be mixed with water, and it turned out that someone had to fix that formula, every morning. You may wonder who that person would be?
Well, it was of course, the mother of the house, who already had five children to care for. I, then, had five children and ten puppies to care for! Every day, I scolded Cannabis. “Shame on you, I said, “for not taking care of your puppies!”
You may think it was a simple matter. However, the puppies would awaken, early in the morning, and they wanted their breakfast, immediately. They would cry and thrash around and generally awaken the whole neighborhood, if I didn’t get there very quickly.
We lived next door to Don McCaughey and his wife, Maddie. Don was a principal at our school, and I always tried to keep the children from becoming too “rowdy” out of consideration for them, as they were good friends of ours, but Don and Maddie never let the puppies bother them.
All of the children, in the neighborhood, loved the puppies and came by every day to pick them up and pet them. I encouraged it (but had an ulterior motive in mind), for I hoped that, each one of them, would take a puppy home with them. In fact, several of the little boys did just that, but soon, later (about 15 minutes later!) they would return with the puppy, and advise me that their moms would not let them keep the puppies.
To say that this changed my life, is an understatement, for each morning I had to grab my robe and slippers, run down the stairs and get to the garbage before the puppies started their “terrible” wailing. My husband, who had his own construction company and was, at that time working out of town in Binghamton, where he stayed during the week, could not assist me.
The puppies were healthy and thriving. Finally, one by one, six of the puppies were taken by Stan’s friends (who were mostly farmers); that left us with four. Stan said, “Well, I think you have had about enough-when I come home, this weekend, we will take these little pups to Lollipop Farm.”
So, Saturday morning, we loaded up the pups into a cardboard box, where they immediately fell asleep and we started on our journey. Suddenly I began to weep, I could not stop crying, wondering what would happen to them. Stan said, “Beatrice, you must stop crying; someone will take these little pups.”
When we arrived at Lollipop Farm, the attendant, noticing my red eyes, said, “Do not worry, these little pups will go like hotcakes!” I was very relieved and waited for three days and then called to see if anyone took them, and was so glad that it indeed, happened.
She sat on the railing of our front porch, where she was “Queen” of the street. No animal, large or small would dare to go past her. She was especially disdainful of small dogs, and often, to my dismay, would take any little dog, who unfortunately happened to go past her, cover its head with her mouth and shake it and then let it go.
It was terrifying for the little dogs but they were not seriously hurt. Of course, the owners of these little dogs were outraged and many of the owners acted rather “unfriendly” towards me, after this happened…
Cannabis became my loyal companion, following me down to my garden, every day, where she killed snakes and spiders, of which I was deathly afraid.
One snowy night in November, many years later, she was out in the road and she was not easily visible because of the snow and was run over by a car. We took her to the vet and he did his best for her, but every day she walked less and less and once she sat down, could not easily get up.
One day, I looked everywhere for her and found her in the basement. She had been there all day-she simply could no longer walk. When my husband came home, he carried her up the stairs, brought her to the vets, where she was mercifully euthanized.
We were all very saddened to lose this very wonderful dog. We never had another dog. I don’t believe we could have found one like Cannabis.