14 Dead Dogs / Caitlin Pegar

1.

I was named Britney when I was born.

My mom’s favorite Cocker Spaniel died three months beforehand.

The dog’s name was Britney.

 

2.

Scruff died of old age when I was two.

He lay down in a cardboard box, swaddled in blankets, only his head poking out, and died.

My earliest memory is of a dog’s head with its eyes so open they’re bulging out and a mouth stretched to its limits in its final breath.

 

3.

Tiny was hit by a truck as a puppy.

My mom had told me people go to Heaven when they die.

Looking at the two halves of Tiny, I asked if he would go to Heaven.

She said no.

 

4.

One year later, Killer had a brain tumor.

Mom decided that dogs do, in fact, go to doggie Heaven.

I asked if I could go to doggie Heaven instead of regular Heaven.

She said no.

 

5.

Scooby was the only one of our dogs to ever get rabies. We found that out when he bit me.

Luckily I didn’t contract it, but Scooby had to be put to sleep.

I still never received any vaccinations, but the dogs did.

 

6.

We moved to the country when I was thirteen and bought a few sheep, a flock of chickens, a hog, and a sow.

Prince usually herded the sheep.

He was not supposed to try to herd the pigs.

 

7.

I repeatedly told my mother not to let her new boyfriend name the new Pug “Lucky.”

Only bad things could come of it, though I changed my mind at the end.

Because finally succumbing after being crushed by the garage door for the fifth time within a month had nothing to do with luck.

 

8.

Moscow was put down by animal control after she was discovered living in our dorm.

A crowd gathered to watch after the Labrador ripped apart the tendons in my RA’s leg.

My roommate bawled for hours, clutching my arm. I didn’t really cry over her dog, but because I had to move on a budget of 46 bucks.

 

9.

Near the end of their lives, Mother willed that Duchess’s ashes be added to her own, because Heaven is all inclusive now.

 

10.

My husband and I decided to get a dog before having a child, which was silly, because while growing up, I had much better luck babysitting neighborhood kids than watching my mother’s dogs.

He named the Pointer Einstein.

I told him that was a terrible idea.

Einstein was hit by lightning, which was tragic, but all I could think of was comparing him to Lucky.

 

11.

My neighbor’s mutt, Celery, liked to bark through the chain link fence at our dog, Loki, who was just as eager to bark back.

Celery grabbed Loki’s muzzle and pulled it through the chain, ripping off a good amount of skin.

We didn’t hear the commotion until the fence was down and there was only one throat between the two of them.

 

12.

I was terribly happy that Celery had to be put down too.

 

13.

Sassafrass had seven toes on each paw, apparently a result of inbreeding. Still, great dog, well-trained, very smart. She taught herself to climb ladders.

She taught herself to climb ladders.

Don’t get smart dogs.

 

14.

Pippi knocked over Edith’s urn. As they lay on the ground, I tried to see if I could separate Edith’s ashes from Duchess’s, but Pippi was content to lick them both.

I stopped her from eating them, but I gave up trying to put my mother and her dog back into the urn.

I dug out an old necklace and a matching dog collar, and just put those in instead.

Afterward, I gave Pippi her insulin shot and waited for another day.

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