Teddy's Rashes  (a memoir)
Chapter 1 

When I look back at my doghood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable doghood: the happy doghood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable doghood is the miserable cocker spaniel doghood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish cocker spaniel doghood. Dogs everywhere brag and whimper about their miserable early years, but nothing compares to the Irish version: the constant teasing of food, the lack of freedom to raid the trash, the inability to get a bone, and the long days without a ball toss. 

I was born in Rural, Pennsylvania, a town with so much apathy it forgot to give itself a proper name and used an adjective instead. I was six months old living in a caged existence when a lovely lady appeared and requested my adoption papers. I must admit I was quite excited to be leaving the puppy stench filled box that I jumped out and skidded across the floor into fifty cans of fish food on display and taking out a leg of a chair, grown-ups and kids bumped into each other in chaos banged their heads and all blamed me at the end. That afternoon I arrived at my new home, a beautiful country home, with a yard that stretches the imagination. I made a vow that as soon as I get my legs on the green grass, I would tighten up my short tail and run until there was nowhere else to run. The next day, I got my wish. But my new master bonked me on the head, told me to never do that again, and I must promise to die for Ireland when I get older , and to always remember all the terrible things the English did to us in eight hundred long years. Och.

Chapter 2 

The first week at my new home I had plenty of questions. What's that? That's a couch, it's for people to lie on, not dogs. What's that? It's a lamp, try not to knock it over. What's this white thing? It's a toilet, try not to drink from it. What are you eating? I'm having ham, you don't eat ham, it's people food. You go and have your lamb and rice dinner. Boy- lamb and rice, whatever they are, I started an uncontrollable drool, forming a small pond of saliva on where I stood. When I bit into me lamb and rice for the first time I truly believed that I was in dog heaven with Saul, the less fortunate poodle next to me when I was a caged canine. Later I learned that my master had sold me short by not mentioning the rest of my meal, corn, oat groats, potassium chloride, zulfate. Umm, I can't get enough of that zulfate, whatever that is. I lived with another dog named Katie, a corgy. One day I bit a piece of her ear off. Apparently, this was not proper behavior among friends and my master sent me to timeout. I didn't try to bite her ear after that. 

That was about the only rule I ever followed because in the ensuing weeks, I slept on the couch, knocked over a couple of lamps, drank from the toilet and stole a rotten bunch of ham bones from the trash. I couldn't help myself. I love food, any color, taste, shape and smell. It's been two months and I'm still unemployed. I collect my daily dole, in the form of lamb and rice each night. But the days are long when all you can think about is the dole (and lamb and rice). To distract myself, I picked up time some consuming habits, like walking underneath a plant in a circle for hours without cause. One of my favorite habit was to run away to Ireland. Most of the time I'd make it all the way down the end of the block before my master would come to pick me up in a red car. Ireland is where I should be, where a Cocker Spaniel can get a decent pint after his lamb and rice dinner. When I find a job, I will save enough money for a one way ticket to Limerick.

Chapter 3  

Well, there should have been many of pages between the last chapter and this, but I’ll leave that for some other time, in my next life. All I know is that I spent the better part of my prime years in a place called Virginia, apparently a few thousand miles from Ireland, but I spent it there nevertheless. Several of those years I spent in cramped quarters in a yard not much larger than a can of tuna. All that change when I moved to a street named Firenze, and the house I occupied provided the space and air for a cocker spaniel to breathe. While I missed the winds that shook the barley in the old country, it was not a bad place to call home.

By my count, many years have passed since I moved there and my time is now coming to an end. I lost my eyesight, most of my hearing, and my body hasn’t felt quite right in some time, but my appetite never wavered, and my sense of smell is as keen as the day I was born. Yet, I know that my time has come, and I know this because I sometimes forget where I am, and most of the time I feel the failings of my bones as clearly as I can smell the roasting of ham. My masters have been great to me, from the first day to the last, and in all my years of yearning for Ireland, I look back now, and I would not trade them for the greenest grass in Kerry county, for I love them more than my aging heart can bare, and I know deep within my Irish soul, they feel the same. So as I end my book, I’d like to leave my masters an old saying from the land of leprechauns: Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves lives a memory no one can steal.

The End

Copyright © 2006 LeDinh. All rights reserved.