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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blondie-Dog, Hence the Name of My Boat...

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you perhaps might have wondered how in the heck did I come up with a name like "Blondie-Dog" for a sailboat and why not some lofty sounding name like "Sea-Adventure", or "Starlight", or "Serenity", or some-such.

Well, it was a pretty simple choice. The yellow trim on my newly purchased boat certainly wouldn't have been my choice of color and I certainly wasn't going to spend the money for a new paint job so I did the next best thing and accepted the color for what it was and named the boat after my blond Labrador that I previously cared for.

Blondie was indeed the name I had given to a blond Labrador retriever that I "kind of" adopted from a neighbor back in Ennis, Texas and since family pets are deserving of a middle name, I'd call my dog Blondie-Dog on occasion just to remind her that she was indeed a dog and that she had been adopted and that there was a limit to her house and car-ride privileges.

But "Blondie" hadn't always been her name. My quite elderly and frail neighbor who previously cared for Blondie, had for some odd reason named her "Lady" of all things which was somewhat perplexing because there wasn't a lady-like bone in that dog from day one.

"Blondie" seemed to me to be a much more appropriate name because of her pretty color and because she reminded me of the Dagwood-comic strip character, Blondie who was in my judgment decidedly attractive yet a complete ditz.

Yet I had other ulterior motives for making a concerted effort to endear myself to my neighbor's dog which I'll explain further along.

You see... "Blondie" suddenly showed up on the scene one afternoon upon me pulling into my driveway after my daily commute from Dallas when I was once gainfully employed.

Out in the driveway were my wife and two daughters who were being introduced by my elderly and frail neighbor to her new dog... a blond two year old Labrador retriever who'd just been rescued and adopted from the local dog pound.

Well you can say that I wasn't the least bit excited to meet my neighbor's new dog. It hadn't been but a week or so that her previous dog... an obese, squatty, ugly brown mutt and had finally croaked and died much to my delight. This after the obese mutt had once again relieved herself on my front lawn for the millionth time much to my chagrin.

That obese, squatty, ugly brown mutt had a name... "Daisy". But I'd always refer to her dog as "Tick-Dog" because of her striking resemblance to a big, fat, happy tick.

I well remember that one Saturday morning when I look up from my morning paper only to see "Tick-Dog" once again taking a dump in my front lawn with my frail neighbor non-challantly looking on.

I am silently seething while peering through a window at that dog all the while thinking, "Die dog", "Die dog", "Die!". Well I must have untapped mental powers because a week later Tick-Dog had to be put down and had croaked.

I've now parked my car and am now meeting my neighbor's new dog for the first time. The dog is somewhat guarded at first as I approach to say hello. I meet "Lady" and gingerly hold out my palm so that she can sniff me and get to know me and not bite me on the ass when I'm least expecting it.

I'm dismayed to think of all the poop that dog will surely be dumping out on my front lawn from here on out when it occurs to me not to get mad at the dog but to instead steal that dog's affection... and that is what I precisely set out to do.

I'd get home in the evenings and after a quick shower head on out to the garage, grab a cold one out of the fridge and head on outside to shoot a few hoops. Well Blondie could undoubtedly hear that ball bouncing from next door and assuredly made enough of a dog-fuss that my frail neighbor had no choice but to let her out so she could go run about outside and join the fun.

It didn't hurt that I always treated Blondie to a few milk bones that I secretly kept stored inside the garage either. Soon enough Blondie and I were best buds... I'd throw a rubber ball which she would chase down and then run all throughout the adjacent driveways defying anyone to catch her.

After awhile when she had tired of all the running about she'd get adventurous and roam the neighborhood and get herself into mischief. Neighbors were soon enough commenting about Blondie roaming throughout the neighborhood and I'd grin and shrug my shoulders and explain, "She's not my dog" and leave it at that.

On one occasion Blondie could be seen dragging an enormous prize down the street. Clasped in her mouth was the paw of a pink, four-foot tall, stuffed bear that she had claimed out of some body's garage... in pursuit was a small child wailing away like only an unruly kid in a grocery store can wail.

To my frail neighbor's dismay, I always would make it a point to call out to her dog as "Blondie" and not "Lady". Blondie would come bounding to me in a heartbeat while my neighbor's feeble attempts to call out to "Lady" went unheeded.

Yeah, you could say that I was most successful in stealing that dog's affection and better yet, Blondie for whatever reason would never poop in my yard.

Somewhat thereafter I couldn't help but notice that Blondie was no longer to be seen running about and playing in the evenings after I'd get home from work. Blondie had unknowingly to me been confined to inside my neighbor's house. I kinda missed not having Blondie running about and playing chase yet I had to remind myself that Blondie wasn't my dog.

I was only much later to find out that a number of neighbors had banded together and filed a legal complaint against my elderly and frail neighbor. The court had already mandated on two prior occasions that Blondie be confined at all times and that if the dog were to be seen roaming about the neighborhood one more time, my frail neighbor would be held in "contempt of court" and who knows what kind of a dire jail sentence would have been imposed upon her.

Some three or four years later one weekend afternoon, I happen to observe an obese, blond dog waddle out of my neighbor's garage. A delivery truck had shown up at my neighbor's house to make a delivery of some sort and her kitchen and garage doors had been left open.

It broke my heart when it dawned on me that that obese dog waddling aimlessly about in the driveway was Blondie. The dog was as fat as an ugly tick and had a sad and lethargic demeanor about her. Once again I had to remind myself, "She's not my dog."

Soon thereafter my elderly neighbor was confined to a hospital bed and later a nursing home after taking a fall on her kitchen floor and breaking both hips. She had reportedly been on that kitchen floor for a good three days before a family member finally showed up to check up on her.

Blondie had now been living alone in that house for a good three months or so with the sliding glass doors wide open to the back yard so that she could go in and out. Family members would periodically come by to feed the dog and fill her water bowl.

I too unbeknown'st to anyone else would occasionally check up on the dog as well to make sure she had plenty of water. I'd simply unlatch the picket fence gate out in the back and let myself in. There was a gawd awful stench emanating from inside that house not that I ever wanted to venture in there anyway.

At first, I'd hear a low growl from inside that house but after calling out to Blondie a few times, she'd come waddling out to greet me. It was obvious that she was no longer as morbidly obese as before as she was now being fed regular dog food and not a steady diet of sliced baloney.

One weekend afternoon while out driving, my wife tells me... "You like that dog... don't you?" and then proceeds to tell me to stop off at Wal-Mart for a few purchases and that I'm not to make any fuss nor am I to object to anything.

We enter the store and my wife proceeds to load up the basket with a large leather dog collar, a leash, two metal dog dishes, a box of milk bones, and a huge bag of Purina dog food.

Once home I'm told, "Now go get your dog" and as I once again sneak inside that picket fence gate to let myself in, my wife places a phone call to a family member of my neighbor and to inform him, "By the way, we have claimed Lady as our own dog so you now won't have to worry about feeding her anymore".

It is a brief phone conversation, one that I did not partake in but could somehow hear a huge sigh of relief from the other end of the line when that call ended. Blondie now had a new home.

Months later I take Blondie to the vet at the insistence of my wife. Surely Blondie hadn't had her shots in awhile and could possibly use a medical checkup as well. She was most certainly a part of the family now and had to be properly cared for.

Once inside the vet offices, I explain that I had only somewhat recently gotten the dog after the attendant had commented that she looked familiar. I go on to further explain that Blondie previously belonged to my neighbor and that she use to be called "Lady".

Soon enough the attendant is back with the dog's old medical records and is marvelling at how fit and gorgeous the dog is now. Blondie was previously recorded as weighing 90 pounds at one point and now weighed in at a fit 60.

I was asked what I had done to get her weight down and I responded, nothing... just feed her regular dog food and take her on long walks in the evening. The attendant couldn't help herself and had to call in all her fellow staff members to see first-hand Blondie's transformation.

You could say that I miss my wife and my daughters and my dog for that matter.

Incidentally not that anyone has asked but the picture shown above was of me and Blondie-do​g attending a poochie-do​g promotion night at the Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

This was a fun Petco sponsored event. An advance ticket purchase entitled one to bring their poochie-do​g to the ballpark and join in a dog parade along the perimeter of the playing field before game time. Also included in the purchase of the tickets were two gift bags with an assortment of doggy treats.

Upon entering a stadium gate reserved for those parading their dogs, I was singled out by an attractive female television reporter and asked whether I'd be agreeable to a brief interview.

No sooner had I said yes, when that reporter asks what had brought me and my dog out to the ballpark that evening. And with that I turn to Blondie-Dog and feign asking my poochie-dog the question just asked of me. I then proceed to tell the reporter, "I think she said that we're both here tonight because we're both single and we're both looking!"

The reporter along with the cameraman immediately crack up as she responds, "Well you've certainly come to the right place tonight!" And with that I grin real big into the camera and exclaim "bye!!" before striding off in search of my ballpark seat.

A few days followed after that event when my youngest daughter confronts me to tell me that I had been seen on TV and that all her classmates along with their parents were now having a good laugh at my expense. She proceeds to emphatically inquire, "Dad! What did you say??!! And what did your shirt say??!!. All my friends are laughing at you!!"

(btw.. My shirt is a small fib.. if you're female, sensible and attractive​, then I'm interested​!)

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