April 4, 2011
Growing up I always had dogs. My first dog, Duchess, was a short poodle. Looking back, she wasn’t very attractive, and I’m certain she died before I turned five. I have memories of her, near her demise, peeing on herself, and standing in the middle of the street, not moving, as cars drove around her. Not happy.
My second dog was a black Cocker Spaniel, Brandy. In 1976 We were living in Greensboro, NC, and our neighbors dogs had beautiful puppies. My sister Tracy spent the whole summer at their house, around their pool, playing the puppies. There was one she loved that she called Muffin. She wanted Muffin, but we didn’t want the name. Instead we named him Brandy. Brandy was mean. Can you even imagine a mean Cocker? He bit me in my six year old balls. I don’t think they had even dropped yet, but it still wasn’t pleasurable. By 1978 we were living back in Toledo, Ohio, my birthplace. My dad used to use Brandy as a guard dog. I swear that was the meanest dog I have ever known. Really. Meaner than a trained Pitbull Brandy was hit by a car on his third birthday and died. Done.
My next dog of note, and truly the best dog of my life was also a Cocker Spaniel. A buff-colored Cocker named Oliver. He was a great dog. My dad Harvey worked as a fine jewelery supervisor throughout southern Michigan in the late 70’s/early 80’s. We were still living in Toledo. On one of his rounds he stopped by a farm and found a bunch of Cocker puppies running after him. The one leading the charge was a sweet, squishy-faced Oliver. My dad knew right then and there that Oliver was meant to be ours.
Dad drove home to Toledo with Oliver on his lap the entire way. I had just joined Pop Warner football, and was playing in my uniform, in the backyard of our house. We had a huge backyard, which many of these houses had. I was called to come out front by my mom, Patricia. I knew my dad was due home around then, and I was excited for him to see me in my uniform. Arriving at the front door, I saw my sisters out front playing on the lawn with something I couldn’t make out. I walked out to them, and then I saw him: little Oliver Fuzzy Butt (as he came to be known). Seriously, the sweetest, most wonderful dog we could ever had imagined.
For the next 17 years, Oliver would be the dog that would just hang with you. Not a dog to get in the car and follow you to work, Oliver was the dog that waited for you when you got home. He was happy to go on a walk, happy to sit by your feet or on your lap. Happy to lay at the foot of the bed, hogging most of the feet area. He was always there with lots of love to give. We had songs we would sing to him, and plenty of play time. He was more than a pet, he was a member of the family.
He followed us from Toledo, to Southern California, to Northern California. Seven moves in his 17 years. When he passed away, he was well into his 17th year. His age and frailty was obvious. It was so hard to lose him, but the time was evident. I haven’t had a dog since. That was in 1996. I hope to have another dog some day, and I hope they’ll give me as much joy as Oliver gave us.
Recently a true brother (from another mother) of mine, Sam, lost his beloved Mojo. At a young and frisky nine years old, Mojo was diagnosed with Cancer. It was all over his body, and Sam knew that there was no saving him. The sadness was too much. We had a wake for him last week, and the next day Sam took sweet Mojo to the beach one last time (Mojo spent a lot of time at the beach, watching Sam surf). Following this Sam took him to be put down. the sadness is almost too much to bear.
Tonight I dedicate the 8pm hour to our dear-departed Mojo. He was such a beautiful, sweet and loving dog. I asked friends to request their favorite dog-songs. I think you’ll enjoy this too. Especially if you’ve ever had a dog, or know the love that humans-best-friend can offer.
I Love My Dog: Cat Stevens
Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog: Jane Siberry
Technical Difficulties, so I talked a lot. Oh, and I played some Mark Arm and John Zorn
Masters of War: Mark Arm
Haamiah: Masada Quintet
Gonna Buy Me A Dog: The Monkees
Old Shep: Elvis Presley
Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine: Tom T. Hall
Old King: Neil Young
L.A. Woman: The Doors
Got My Mojo Workin’: Muddy Waters
Red Balloon: Shareef Ali
Holy Rock & Roll: Shareef Ali
This Heart Is Not A Home: Shareef Ali
No Second Thoughts (Tom Petty): Shareef Ali
I Want My Mojo Back: Scott H Biram
Hound Dog: Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thorton
Ghost of a Dog: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
Me And You And A Dog Named Boo: Lobo
Black Eyed Dog: Nick Drake
I Wanna Be Your Dog: The Stooges
How Come My Dog Don’t Bark (When You Come ‘Round): Dr. John