Thursday, April 12, 2012

Brownie by Lisa Dempsey Callaghan

Lisa, her brother and Brownie
In the summer of 74, just before dinner time, I had just walked my dog Brownie. (yes, he was brown). We had a front porch with all screens around it and we were just inside it playing waiting for dinner to be ready. A friend of mine who lived down the block, Leslie, was walking her dog too. She carried a little transistor radio (I’m sure it was only AM back then, and this was years before the big boom boxes were popular). As she passed, I heard “Rock the Boat” I LOVED that song, so I ran out to catch her so we could listen together.

 Her dog was a great big sloppy lovey-dovey Dalmatian named Harvey or Harry, I can’t remember which. He loved me and hadn’t seen me all week, so he bounded to me in a run. I wasn’t expecting him to jump on me with that much force, so he knocked me right down and knocked the wind out of me. As I lay on the ground trying to catch my breath with the dog literally on top of me licking my face, Leslie was trying to help me up. My dog Brownie, interested in watching from the moment he saw another dog, must have seen this as an attack on me. This little brown mutt of mine gave a huge yelp and LEAPED through the screen, ripping it and running right up to this dog. He bared his teeth and growled and barked at Harry/Harvey in a threatening manner, lunging at him and snapping his teeth. Harry/Harvey, ordinarily a mild-mannered dog opened his mouth and closed his teeth over my dogs neck like it was a bone and shook him back and forth like a rag doll. Leslie and I started to scream.
Between the initial barking and the screen ripping and then both of our screams, my dad came running out. The neighbors came running over and helped separate the 2 dogs. My dog laid there in a broken heap. Her dog was still panting and growling. My father gathered Brownie up in his arms and rushed to the car. My mother and brother had come outside by this time. Mostly everyone was glad that WE (Leslie and I) were not the ones hurt. Everyone was crying and there was blood everywhere and I was SO scared.
My dad came home late that night without the dog but with the good news that he would be OK. We got him back a few days later but with a lot of damage to his neck, many stitches, and a drain that went THROUGH his neck. Every night my dad had to clean the wounds and empty and reposition the drain. The dog was in so much pain but so good about it. We started giving him Oreos to make him feel better. Eventually he was fine, just a few places on his neck that the fur never grew back.
It’s amazing how they say that a dog will protect the children of the house as if they are his own. I saw that first hand that day. He went up against a dog twice his size because he thought I was in danger. For a long time after, every time I heard “Rock the Boat” I’d get chills. But to this day, every time I hear the song, I think of Brownie, who lived with us happily to the ripe old age of 17.

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