Love your messed-up muttface self

Sister-in-law JD’s looking for a dog. She found a hot prospect tonight on, mixed in with listings for old CRT TVs and IKEA furniture: An 18-month-old Corgi. The ad’s a bit dodgy for a doggie posting. First of all, the owner posted what looks like a catalogue picture of a corgi. And it states emphatically that the dog is wonderful with “considerate children.”

Upon reading the ad I was instantly taken back to the late 70s and remembered the hot rashy feeling of my wrist after Frisky gnawed on it. God love her she meant well and never broke skin, even though she scared the crap out of lots of little considerate kids that she obviously mistook for mewling ewes.

Frisky was my Corgi/Collie mutt. She was actually the runt pup of my cousins’ purebred corgi called “Corgi.” Uncle David had planned to breed purebred corgi pups, which fetch a pretty penny, but his plans were sullied when Trixie the neighbour collie mutt from further up the dirt drive mounted Corgi and caused a fracas with the purebred society. I choose to believe that Corgi was a consenting partner. So my Frisky, mutt runt of the unholy encounter of Corgi and Trixie, was an interesting mix. She was short and flat-backed like a corgi, with the stub snout and oversized ears, but with the fur of Lassie, white under the chin and a beautiful auburn back all the way to her bushy tail. Unlike her purebred bitch mom, her tail wasn’t docked. Which seems like an awful thing to do to a dog.

I Loved Frisky. She was odd — fiercely loyal, but wild. She gnawed at my wrists and ripped up my pant legs and roamed the back fields with impunity while we were at school. She had three litters of pups behind the toilet in the laundry room and would guard my backyard fort from the neighbourhood rabble as they raided in waves on their mini bikes. When we wanted Frisky to come home we pulled the clothes line that was attached to the back of the house. She’d come running to the the rusty squeal of the clothesline wheel and jump up to take a bite from the pole like a beaver. All day Saturday she’d sit on her spot on the front lawn watching me work across the road at the little country store. Her ears would perk up every time I emerged to pump gas or carry loads of groceries to a car. She was all mine, and was there for me through my parent’s divorce and the unguided era that was teenage in late-80s Prince Edward Island. Frisky was my absolute best friend ever.

By age 14 she started to suffer arthritis in her hips. Mom wrote to me in France, where I was studying, telling me to prepare for bad news. But Frisky held on until I got home. She died in her spot on the lawn four days later. People said she waited. I believe it. We were inseparable.

It took me a day to build a coffin and bury her in her ratty blanket beneath the clothesline pole. It fell down that winter, broken at the bite marks.

So JD should get a dog. For her kids. Because the gnawing and the fleas and the muck are worth it for the Love.

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