Sleeping, yes definitely sleeping. That is my favorite activity. I guess that is why my friend Jennifer gave me the nickname Speed Bump. I have found the best place to take a day nap is in the middle of the living room floor. From there I will be alert to any opportunity- be it a treat or an excursion- and can keep an eye on my toys.
I should introduce myself. My name is Oscar. Alma, a two-legged member of my pack, often calls me Oscar Meyer Mayes. Jennifer calls me a handful of names, beginning with Duckbilled Platypus, Doodle Bug, and Dude. But by far my favorite thing is when Phil, leader of our pack, calls me Oscar. He is a good strong leader, but he calls my name with a kindness I find hard to resist.
I became part of Phil’s pack long ago. I can barely remember the other pack because I was mostly alone, for some reason I don’t know why. Phil and Alma adopted me into their pack on a temporary basis. I have been here over 63 years (I guess two-leggeds count time different, so convert that to 9). I wonder when “temporary” became “permanent?”
My small size and short legs caused my friends to underestimate me. They soon learned this small package contains the heart of a hunter and the soul of an adventurer. Soon, two chickens lost their lives to the sting of my fangs. And Phil came to learn that although I love him, I enjoy a good wander, even if I have to ignore his calls.
The highlight of any week is a car ride! These can include errands for the pack, play dates with Jennifer’s pack, or unfortunately the doctor. Jennifer’s pack includes Ellie and Tater. With her long hair and soulful eyes, I instantly wanted to be Ellie’s boyfriend. But I can’t seem to make her understand she is not supposed to ride on me. Tater recently joined Jennifer’s pack. We became friends instantly. It is fun to psych him out, making him think I am going to keep his precious Kong. He seems to love drooling on my toy Monkey, but not nearly as much as I do. I offended him when I destroyed one of his toys, so one day while the pack napped he shredded my favorite stuffed toy, Froggie. That day we sat nose-to-nose and had a heart-to-heart. No toy is worth a lost friendship.
The pack mostly stays home now. There is a fence that tells others “This belongs to Phil’s pack.” Pepper is an old dog whose job is to guard and alert the pack. He is so serious about his job that he has never come inside where we sleep. Outside the fence we have more chickens and a turkey. I ignore them to give them a false sense of security until my next attack.
I am a bit of a daredevil. Phil and Alma learned to hold me tight when we ride in the truck because I once jumped out of the window. I bounced on the pavement but was too macho to show that it hurt a bit.
The worst time in my life was when I hurt my back. I am an extra-special, extra-long kind of dog and it is common for dogs like me injure their backs. The pain was bed, surgery was worse, and I nearly gave up. But Phil and Alma made me exercise in a warm pool of water and babied me. One night they nearly gave up on me. I could tell his heart was breaking by the way he said, “Tomorrow the vet will put Oscar to sleep.” The next morning I jumped out of bed and trotted down the hall out of sheer will and love. I didn’t want to disappoint my pack.
Now I maintain a busy schedule of napping, eating, laying with Monkey in my mouth, getting patted, and watching the cat, ICK! My pack allows her to live with us because Alma seems to like her. Tess and I have mutual disregard for each other. Despite this one lapse in judgement, you can see my pack is the best.
Wait! Did you hear that!?! Alma just opened the treat container. Gotta go!
In May 2013 Oscar died suddenly while at the vet. He was later diagnosed as suffering kidney cancer. We were glad he went suddenly, but miss him still. Shortly after this my parents lost their other dog, Pepper. Tater now lives with them and is very loved.
The idea to write Oscar’s story came to me from a former student. All of her dogs have been memorialized in written form and I loved the heartfelt tribute. I decided to write this from his POV because I wanted to try to convey his love of life and sweet nature. I hope you like it.