I don’t like cats and I don’t like little dogs. They feel bony and fragile. As a youngster I had a collie-German Shepard mix, Pal. He looked like a collie, but he wasn’t bright blonde, just a little duller. He also had a shorter snout like a German Shepard. I got him as a young pup and he always liked to play. When he got a little older, he would jump up a little bit and I would grab his front left paw with my right hand and just move it towards his body, so when he came down he would roll and immediately jump up again so I could roll him once more. It’s like we were practicing judo moves. He was solid, but he wasn’t fat. If I rode my bike, he would run along beside me. He loved to fetch. I would throw a rubber ball and he would be gone in a flash . . . even if I just made a gesture of throwing. I liked teasing him, and I think he enjoyed the game of figuring out what I was going to do next.
As a trick, my dad taught Pal to walk up a teeter-totter, wait to shift the balance and then go down the other side. For a dog biscuit he would pick up his bowl with his mouth and come to my side. I would drop a biscuit into the bowl and he would set it down and then pick up the treat in his mouth and chew it. I chose him from a litter and think I got the pick of that litter. He came to live with us when I was in the second grade at Stanley Elementary in Tacoma. He moved with us to Lakewood right before I started at Park Lodge in the fifth grade and then moved to Ponders Corner with me in the sixth grade.
My parents owned the La Casa Motel. They bought it just as I-5 was being built behind the motel. When concrete roadways were poured, it was sometime before the rest of the infrastructure was complete so the roads were there for my enjoyment. Pal only had a small yard then, but I would ride down the freeway with him running along with me until we got to Clover Creek. It was peaceful sitting under a tree and watching the creek flow by. We traveled up and down the empty roads. Pal died one day while I was at school in the ninth grade. I came home and he wasn’t there. My parents had him taken away, so I wouldn’t see him. He had been poisoned. My mother cried all evening. It was a sad day.
I never had a pet, again, but I have a soft spot in my heart for big friendly dogs. I have a client who breeds dogs, Cassandra Day. Her family loves dogs as much as she does. She grew up breeding and riding horses. I videotaped her first marriage. Her father was a friend from the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8, Jim Sharbono. I built his website and did marketing for him – All Transmissions & Automotive. I tend to keep clients. Last year I lost two clients. They both died. Jim sold the transmission shop to Bill Nelson and his wife Lynn. I still maintain the website and handle their marketing. When Cassandra decided to breed Labrador Retrievers, I built her website. Her Circle B Ranch is in Yelm (www.circlebranch.co/). She now sells Olde English Bulldogges as well as Labs. I look at those dogs and think of Pal. Labradors are wonderful family and sporting dogs. They come in all colors today: black, blonde, red, chocolate, light tan, and silver. Labs are intelligent and friendly. They don’t feel bony or fragile. The same goes for the fairly new breed of Olde English Bulldogges. I’ve seen them in action. Like Labs they are great with children. Like Pal they are solid and like to play.
If I ever decide to have a dog again I could see myself talking things over to a friendly face.