By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – I have two rescue dogs; one is a black lab who my son found near death abandoned by a dumpster when the pup was about six weeks old. We named him Jazz and he is now twelve years old. We have another rescue, Kipper, who turns four this week. Kipper’s mother was a Boston Terrier and nobody knows what dad was, but everyone that sees Kipper thinks he looks like an American Pitbull. I do not. Kipper is not that big, not that chunky, not that muscular. But he sure is cute.
I have a real soft spot for dogs and I know the names of more dogs in my neighborhood than I do people. There is Toby who walks by everyday with his person. Toby has some sheepdog in him; he is also a rescue. Toby is one of those dogs that is just goofy and has such a happy look on his face. We always go outside and visit with Toby and his person when they come by. In fact, Toby will stop on the sidewalk in front of our house and wait for us to come outside. As soon as we open the door he will bound across the yard to say hello. He makes me smile.
Buddy is a black lab mix that lives around the corner and I see Buddy whenever I walk the block. Buddy lives on a corner lot and so there is a lot of traffic by his fence; his people have used brackets to put a wire basket filled with tennis balls on the outside of the wrought iron fence so people can say hi to Buddy and throw a ball for him. Buddy has more friends than most people I know.
Rico and Colt live next door to me. Colt is an Australian Shepherd and never ever sits still. He is the very definition of a live-wire. Rico is a Chow and he has some kind of lupus that causes sores on his nose. His nose is always raw and it is aggravated by the sun. His people have installed a series of large umbrellas across their patio to protect Rico from too much direct sunlight when he is outside. Rico seems totally unbothered by his condition, however, and is as happy and loving as he can be. He is a stunningly beautiful dog.
Demi lives across the street. Demi’s mother used to have the most beautiful, manicured yard that she worked in all of the time, but dogs have a way of changing the way you live, and Demi digs holes. There is an iron fence around their front yard and I can see Demi digging holes from my front window. Some of the holes are probably close to the water table; sometimes I look over there and can see nothing but Demi’s tail and dirt flying.
There is something about a dog that makes me happy and calms me down. There’s that whole unconditional love thing, but it’s more than that. They are always glad to see you; they never question you and they don’t care about your politics. I can not imagine a home without a pup, and when we lose them it is like losing a family member. It hurts just as badly. I have a friend who is a chemist, and she lost her dog of twelve years about three years ago. She and her son still drive out to his grave, in a local Pet Cemetery, two or three times a month to place flowers.
I’ve always believed rescue dogs are more grateful, but that probably is not true. It’s just that I’ve always had rescue dogs. Even as I type this, Kipper is asleep next to me on the couch and Jazz is asleep on the floor at my feet. Just another lazy afternoon. And the older I get, and the crazier the world gets, I find that I more often prefer the company of dogs than to people.
Any dog lovers out there? Tell me about your dog!
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport, at Medium, and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.