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Dogs Back in the Good Old Days

BY: Terry Hamburg | Category: Pets | Submitted: 2010-08-10 10:09:33
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Article Summary: "The loving relationship between humans and dogs has hardly changed in thousands of years. But each era presents its own unique dimensions and issues..."

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1958. Like most baby boomer kids, I begged my parents for a dog. My first choice, a Collie that looked like Lassie, was a no--too big and sheds too much. My second choice, a German Shepard that looked like Rin-Tin-Tin, was also nixed--too big and sheds too much, plus he might bite. I considered a Pit Bull. The breed was popular then and didn't have the reputation it since acquired. President Eisenhower had this strange looking dog few ever heard of, called a Weimaraner. I sure didn't want one of those. My father called it a Wisenheimer. He was a Democrat.

"How about a cute little Cocker Spaniel?" mom suggested.

"Cute little" wasn't the look I coveted. And no cockers were starring in television shows. I conceded. Like I had a choice.

Typical of his breed, Frisky was "high strung," meaning he might bite anyone at anytime. He also had a strange habit. After a stranger was accepted into the house, Frisky calmed down. But when the guest was ready to leave, he grew hostile again, standing at the front door growling his disapproval that a new friend would abandon him.

This behavior could be interpreted as a twisted form of affection, which was little consolation when confronting his snarling canines. One day, he took a good nip at a departing lady and broke skin. Mom apologized profusely and assured her that Frisky had all his shots.

Turns out he didn't. His renewal was overdue and I was responsible for keeping track. Frisky tested positive for the dreaded rabies. My father was a doctor and offered the victim free treatment and even threw in a tonsillectomy for her son.

Once rabies symptoms appear, it's time to write your last will and testament.
Quick post-exposure treatment is effective. Today, it consists of 6 simple shots in the arm over one month. Back in Frisky's day, the regime was a scream-out-loud injection stabbed into the abdomen daily for up to three weeks. Usual side effects included nausea and insomnia.

My father wanted to put Frisky "to sleep." I begged for mercy. "It's either you or him," he said. I managed to save us both by promising to walk the bad boy every day and pick up his surprising prodigious poop. This job had fallen to our maid, who hated Frisky. The feeling was mutual.

It was thirty years before I got another dog. I rescued a Poodle from the pound. He's all bark and no bite.

About Author / Additional Info:
I write about the exciting events and characters of the baby boomer generation. Visit my blog at

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