Friday, May 4, 2012

A Girl and Her Dog

19 years ago I fell in love.  It’s not the typical love story though.  I was 11 and I fell in love with this little black and orangish-brown puppy with white feet, floppy ears, a crooked tail and big eyes.   She looked like a mix between a dachshund, beagle, and pit bull.  She had a long body, was close to the ground and had short little stubby legs.  She was a little disproportioned it seemed.  Many thought she was rather ugly but not me.  I thought she was beyond adorable and I wanted to keep her forever. 

It was summer and I had been spending most of my time at the local county fair.  I usually did spend a great deal of time at the county fair when it was going on because my Dad was the County Extension Agent and he practically ran the thing.  I was showing my bunnies in the 4-H competitions and kept busy with other activities while I was there.  The carnival had been at the fair but had since packed up and left.  This little puppy had probably come to town with them but had been left behind. 

The little thing followed me as I walked home from the fair one day and I’m sure I didn’t put up too big of a fight to keep her from doing so.  She was obviously a bit malnourished as she was quite skinny and very hungry.  I gave her some food and she was instantly my best friend.  I introduced her to my Mother who was not thrilled.  She did not want a dog, especially an indoor dog.  I was told “NO” I could not keep her.  My parents said I could take care of her only until I found her a new home. Well, I did reluctantly try to do this but no one would agree to adopt her.  After a few days with her, there was no way my parents could refuse to let me keep her.  I was head over heels.  And that’s how Callie (because she resembled a Calico cat) joined our family. 

In my opinion, Callie has been the best dog ever.  She is small-ish in size but thinks she is big.  And she has a BIG personality to go along with it – especially when she was younger.  When we were kids, my brother would put on his rollerblades or jump on his skateboard and hold on to Callie’s leash and she would pull him around the neighborhood.  She loved adventures and would go on walks, runs, and try to catch birds or bunnies that came into our yard.  She was loyal and protected my brother and I no matter what - even if that meant going against a 100-pound dog that would come towards us when we were walking in the neighborhood.  She was a terrific snuggler and would always want to sleep in our beds.  She could do a few tricks like sit, roll over, and play dead but she was way too smart to agree to anything like “stay”. 

Callie is practically fearless in every way except when it comes to water.  She does not like swimming or getting wet which is a bit unfortunate because my parents live on a lake.   When my brother or I would get in the water, Callie would just stand on the dock and bark.  BARK, BARK, BARK.  She was scared for us – it’s like she thought we were going to drown and she was alerting everyone within hearing distance of our dangerous situation.   You’d think she would’ve gotten used to this since my parents have lived at the lake for years, but no.

With as afraid as she is of the water, you would never imagine that she would love boat rides as much as she does but they are one of her favorites.  When my Dad or brother starts the boat, Callie will take a running leap off the dock and fly through the air into the boat.  Occasionally, she misses and lands in the water which is funny for the rest of us but definitely not for her. 

It’s amazing how Callie will know when it is time to go for a walk.  Someone in our family can just casually mention it to someone else in my family and Callie understands.  Up until recently, she would start spinning in circles so fast and getting so excited that you would think she was going to have a heart attack.  It was hard to even get her leash on because she would go a million miles an hour.  At some point along the line, Callie discovered that if she wanted to go on a walk (even if we hadn’t discussed it or planned on it) she would just start getting excited and turning in circles.  Sure enough, most of the time it worked and she got to go on her walk.  She sure had us trained. 

When I moved out of the house after high school, Callie stayed at my parent’s house.  I would still go over to visit regularly because I was living and going to college in the same town.  We would go on walks, go to the park, or go on car rides with the window down so her tongue could fly in the wind and get slobber all over my car.  And it was completely worth it to see how happy all of this made her. 

When I got married and graduated college, Paul and I moved away to another state.  I was completely and utterly devastated to leave Callie so far away.  I was incredibly homesick and yes I did miss my family and friends but I also missed Callie – terribly.  I felt like I had abandoned her and I had an enormous amount of guilt and sadness.   I knew she was being well taken care of but it was just not the same. 

A few years later, Paul and I moved back home.  It was great to be back home with my family and Callie.  But soon I was having kids of my own and my life got crazy.  I didn’t get to visit Callie as often and before I knew it she had gotten pretty old.  She has had several tumors removed, has had a stroke, her vision and hearing have gotten really poor and she isn’t able to control her bodily functions too well.  But even with all of this, Callie still remembers me and loves me like she did when I was 11 and she was a puppy.

19 years later Callie is still the best dog in the world.  When I pet her head and rub her ears, she still gives me that doggy-smile and more wet kisses than I can handle.  She still loves going on walks even if she can’t make it very far.  She’s still incredibly sweet and loves to cuddle.  I realize her days are numbered but I’m thankful that I’ve had such a faithful companion for so long. 

I recently took a picture of Alexa with Callie and it reminded me so much of a picture of Callie and my brother John when he was young. How often do your children get to grow up with the same pet as you did?  I consider myself pretty lucky and I will forever be a “dog person” because of Callie.  I love her to pieces, her bent tail and all. 

Alexa and Callie 2012

John and Callie 1993


  1. I love Callie too. She has an amazing personality and since she was sort of a corgi, that's what I got. She is NOTHING like Callie.
    Judy L Ray. I run Callie's vacation resort.

    1. Judy,
      We love that Callie gets to go to your vacation resort. I think she sorta loves it there. Thanks for reading my blog too!