I never had a day without a dog in my life.
When I was born and brought home to the Val de Sol apartments in Ketchum, my first home, a dog named Buck, looked down into my bassinet to see what I was. He was a German Shepherd and he and Ski Dog, a German Shepherd mix, slept right next to me every night. In many of the photographs that I found, Ski Dog is right by my side.
Ski and Buck, Morgan, Jason, Rascal, Baron, Spring, Lily, Ava, and Abby.
All the dogs I grew up with who had the freedom to roam around and stay at our house. We had no fences and we never tied them up or confined them. Morgan was a fluffy cute puppy, a mutt for sure, who ended up taking his freedom too far.
My dad would often threaten our dogs or cats if they did something wrong “You want to go for a drive?” he would say. What that meant to me was that if they didn’t behave, my dad would put them in the car and drive just far enough that they might not be able to make it back if he let them out. I don't think he ever really did this except for once. Morgan was a dog that used to run out to the road and bark and chase cars and we never wanted to tie him up or fence him in. We just told him NO and my dad threatened him a few times with the drive. But, then, one day Morgan bit someone who was running by on the dirt road. This was too much. My dad took the dog for a drive and the dog never came back. My mom later told me he had taken him to Red Warrior Creek or what my mom renamed as Dead Dog Canyon and shot him.
Rascal belonged to an older woman who had a beautiful garden and worked at Hemingway School as one of the lunch ladies. Her name was Lucy Locket and she was as nice as can be. She lived alone and one day decided that caring for a dog was too much for her so she asked my family if we would take him. His name was Rascal and he was a small, black mutt who could do tricks like a circus dog. He was a great dog and very fun addition to the family.
My Grandma Bake, who lived on the farm, called one day and said that her son Donald had moved out and left her with this huge Saint Bernard. She thought he belonged in the mountains in the snow and asked if we would take him. I was so excited. This meant my grandma was coming to visit and I was getting a new dog. Baron was huge dog and a great companion. He could go out in the field with me, play out in the yard, play in the snow. He could even pull me on my cross country skis. Baron was not neutered, so the next spring my neighbors dog had puppies. Their dog was a black mutt dog and so all of the puppies came out black except for one. Spring. My next new dog.
My dad and I went to California and we stopped in a town where there was a fly fishing shop and a friend of my dads. My dad had seen or maybe asked if there were a pet store near by where I could go, while he was visiting his friend. Maybe I had spotted it, because that had become my favorite place to go on a trip. There was one around the corner. I quickly spotted two tiny puppies in a cage and I asked the pet store if I could hold them. As soon as I opened the door the little black one crawled up into my sleeve. It was so tiny and shivering cold from the California air-conditioning in the store. I held her for a while and then I put her back and ran to the fly fishing store to begin to convince my dad that we needed to get this dog. He was still busy talking to his friend so I ran back to the store and spent more time with the pup, who was quickly back in my sleeve. A few hours later we were headed back to Idaho from Visella California with a new dog. Lily.
Lily went to work with my mom for a while and she always went camping with all my friends and I in the summer. She felt like one of us. She was so small she could walk in the cross country tracks my dad and I made in the field without damaging them so she was allowed to come along. She was a great mountain Chihuahua.
She slept in my bed and kept me warm and when I went away as an exchange student to Mexico, she learned to climb the ladder to my parents room so she could sleep with them and stay warm.
Ava was the dog I was delivered in the Boise Airport when I was in a wheel chair. I had had back surgery in New Mexico and had been in the hospital recovering for a long time. One of the things that got me through it was knowing that when I got home I would have a new German Shepherd puppy waiting for me. I was in the hospital watching t.v. dreaming about my new dog, so I named her Ava after someone pretty in a Soap. I had flown from Albuquerque and was being wheeled to the next plane when we stopped by baggage and someone brought in a small German Shepherd puppy. I hugged her and then listened to her cry under the seats of the plane in the luggage area as we flew home to Ketchum. She was small and slept on my bed and licked my face as the months passed and I recovered.