Richie is one of my earliest dogs. He was named after Richard Diamond, a TV detective on a show we used to like. Richie had a white diamond-shaped mark on his back, ergo, Richie. Detectives, dogs. Two things that started early and persisted over the decades.
Richie liked to chase cars and despite our best efforts to stop this behavior, one afternoon he was struck by a car. Not killed immediately, he climbed into a drainage culvert at the end of our driveway beside the road. My mother and brother and I assembled at the end of the culvert and tried to lure the injured dog out. When he didn’t come out on his own, it fell to me, the youngest and smallest, to climb into the culvert and haul Richie out so we could take him to the vet. A traumatic moment that I can still recall vividly. Richie, a sweet-natured dog, snapped at me and tried to sink his fangs into my arm. But I hung in there and dragged him out.
Later, when my dad came home, and it was clear Richie was not going to make it, my dad carried the dog out into the back yard, way back into the trees and shot him. I can still remember the ringing of that gunshot, and the look on my father’s face as he returned. I’d never seen such grief on his face before. And hardly ever did again.
I’ve had a host of other dogs. Labs named Watson and Travis. Great Danes, Sophie, Arden, Chandler (another detective name). Then Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, wonderful small dogs that are tough as nails. They’ve gone with us on five mile hikes through some very tough terrain. Not frou-frou dogs in the least. Stella and Maggie are still with us, 14 years old and 13, outliving the usual life span for spaniels. We lost another a few years ago, Carrie, a sweet dog.
This is Maggie (the tri-color), and Stella. Older dogs (13 and 14) but still hanging in there. Wonderful companions and a central part of our daily lives.
And this is Chandler from 1990, a wonderful dog who could catch frisbees out of the sky. An amazing athlete. She thought, like most Great Danes, that she was a lapdog.