Please note: PdxDragonfly will be changing to Mulligan’s Place
I never wanted a dog. They are icky, flea bitten, sloppy tongued, barkaholics. Yet three of them implanted themselves in my life in spite of my objections. Because my mom loved dogs. Therefore I had to have a dog she said. A cultured (expensive) dog. Fortunately we didn’t have the funds to satisfy her fantasy at that time. What wandered into our lives instead, almost as if intentioned, was a flea bitten, sloppy tongued, barkafrolic, dirt encrusted stray.
Mom said the dingy little tramp had to go to the pound. Dad had the Gift of Noah: he loved animals. Therefore the dog became a Mulligan. I named him Dingy. To remind my mom of the dog’s unique heritage. She insisted the dog stay outside, in spite of the intense bath I gave him. Mom was sure the dog would howl at night, therefore giving her the excuse to pound him. Of course Dingy quickly learned to stay quiet and out of site until I lifted him into my bedroom. I wondered that his ability to hide and stay quiet seemed eerily inborn.
We got away with the ruse, even after Dad left for one of his frequent business trips. Inevitably Dingy and I got caught hanging out. He would have been taken to the pound that day except Dad chose that particular day to surprise us all by coming home early. Mom immediately started her poison tongue strategy, her Theda-Bera self fling onto the bed, etc etc.
After several hours of conversations behind closed bedroom doors, Dad gave in to Dingy having to go, but not to the pound. They sent my dog along with my youngest brother, Douglas Corrigan Mulligan, out into the San Berdoo desert to our “gold mine” to guard it. Dad had some prospective investors coming to visit the mine and he wanted to keep it “safe”. Upon years of reflection, I can now conclude Dad wanted to enhance the illusion of a valuable investment.
Doug and Dingy stayed in one of the three trailers for at least a week before it happened. Before the investors came. Before the salted, cursed mine could prove productivity. Doug and Dingy walked their daily route around the encampment, in the daytime, looking off to the mountains, so anyone from afar could view the mine being guarded. Which is why he didn’t see the rattler. Which was lying, uncoiled, probably ill, and didn’t rattle out a warning.
In the brief eternity as Doug set his leading foot in the sand and the snake struck, Dingy leaped between my brother and the snake. The snake’s venomous fangs struck with such force that they buried in Dingy’s skull. In the few minutes it took Doug to kill the snake, pull its fangs out of Dingy, my dog died.
The newspapers in San Bernardino had a field day with the headlines of how a small dog saved his owner’s life. My dog. I spent several weeks in my bedroom, crying alone. For which my mom was grateful for me out of her hair. She insisted I come out for dinner. She then shamed me for my swollen, red eyes. And for not being grateful, in her thinking, that my brother’s life was spared. What child stands a chance of verbally defending themselves against Cruella DeVille?
Years later, when I married my mom, in male form, I was gifted with a female German Shepard, which I named Zera, in honor of my hero Zena, who in my dreams often rescued me from my physically abusive husband. In real life Zera turned “vicious” to my husband, but was loving to me. One day, as she slept on the floor next to my side of the bed where I lay sobbing from one of hubby’s slap fests, (his form of exercise), he came into the room having decided I hadn’t had enough “discipline”. Zera reacted before hubby could reach me. Snarling and growling, she drove him from the bedroom. I closed the door immediately and loved on her for a good hour.
The next day she was gone. Of course. Hubby donated her as a guard dog to a junk yard. He took me to see her one time. She barked and growled as if she didn’t recognize me. I was so upset I didn’t realize she was growling at hubby, who stood just behind me. I cried for several days until hubby threatened to punch me out if he caught me crying again.
Eventually we had a plethora of animals that people dropped off, at night in the dark, in our cul de sac. One, a puppy cross between a poodle and a cockapoo became my puppy. Sadly she was killed by a rock thrown by someone to quiet her from barking. I never owned another dog after that day. Because I decided I was bad luck to dogs.
But now I have Cat. Who reminds me daily that he is in charge. Who growled like a cougar when three men tried to break into my apartment. They fell over themselves running away. Who has now grown into a 16.5 pound muscular Bengal who is finally learning to control his huge claws and teeth without inoculating me. But insists on smelling the feet of anyone who nervously visits us. Bengals rarely purr, don’t cuddle as a rule, don’t like to be treated like a kitty cat. But he slept on my chest once when we wound up sleeping in my car one dark night. Kept me warm. Saved my sanity more times than I can count.
I don’t need to be reminded to hug him every time I can get away with it. Have you hugged your Noah’s Gift today?