A to Z April Challenge: D is for Dogs

There have been several dogs in my life. Some of them I remember very little about aside from the traumatic way that they died. Others were with us a very long time.

Sparkplug is the first dog that I remember having. He was the first pet that I remember at all. I was less than five years old when I had him. He was a little thing, maybe a Chihuahua, something small like that. He had short hair and was the color of the dirt in our driveway. He blended in really well. This was his undoing. He liked to sleep on the dirt driveway. One day my daddy came home in his big, old truck and barreled into the driveway like he always did. I don’t know if he was tired from working, or was drunk, or just plain didn’t see Sparkplug asleep there in the driveway, but he ran over him. I don’t have any pictures of him.

Abby & Precious were dogs that David shared with me when we were dating. Abby was his dog and she had puppies. He let me have one of them. I couldn’t keep her at my house, so she lived with him and her mommy. Abby was a lot like I was when I was a little girl; no matter how much she was fed, she was willing to take food whenever it was offered. Mrs. Divine was David’s neighbor and she gave food to Abby even though David was feeding her 100 pounds of food a week. He says she still acted like she was starving. He kept telling Mrs. Divine that he really was feeding her. For every really sweet person like Mrs. Divine, there is an evil person, and this evil person found our sweet Abby and Precious and gave them poisoned food. Our hearts were broken. I don’t have pictures of Abby or Precious either.


Gus was a dog that came to us when we weren’t looking to have a dog. We were newly married and I don’t think that we were truly ready for another puppy after what had happened to Abby and Precious. Well, Gus was ready for us. We had gone to my Aunt Carolyn’s house for a visit. Her dog had a litter of puppies. This teeny, tiny little one, the runt of the litter, came up to David while he was outside. He looked so pitiful. At first, David told Aunt Carolyn that we didn’t need or want a dog. By the time I came back outside to David, we had ourselves a puppy. He was holding Gus and the puppy must have put the come hither on him because he told Aunt Carolyn that Gus was coming with us.

Once we got him home and fed him, he threw up something about as big as he was. We thought it was his guts or something else that he might need later, so we took him to the vet. He spent his first night as our puppy at the vet’s office. They decided that he must have just eaten something that didn’t agree with him. They also told us that he would never get over twenty pounds. Puppy feet don’t lie. By the time that we lost Gus, he was over eighty pounds of love and loyalty.


Shep is the dog that we had for the longest. She was born approximately 1990 and we got her in 1996. Again, we were not looking for a dog, but our oldest daughter really wanted one. Once she heard the offer being made to us, we weren’t leaving that house without a dog. We were told that Shep was about a year old. We were told that she was a boy. We were told lots of things. We found out for sure that she was a girl when we came home one day to find that she was getting married to the Husky from next door. He had jumped a six-foot fence and ripped out the chain that was supposedly securing him because he wanted her to be his wife very much. They had pretty babies.

Shep was a very loyal dog, just like Gus. If she thought someone was hurting any of the children, she would have torn them to pieces.  David’s step-father was tickling one of the girls and made her squeak. Shep went into protective mode and bit the back of his leg. She wasn’t going to let anyone hurt the kids.

Overall, Shep was an extremely loving and gentle dog. The only time that she was snippy was when she was pregnant. We warned people not to mess with her then, but not everyone listened and she nipped at them. They left her alone after that.

We had Shep until 2008. During her last few months with us, she got rather stubborn. She wouldn’t come inside when she was called. She wanted to stay outside in the sun. She was too old to be an outside dog in the Texas heat, so we had to keep her inside. On her last day, she had an apparent heart attack. It was so very hard to let her go. We were determined to absolutely get no more dogs. It is too hard to take the loss. Whatever our plans were, Heavenly Father had others…

Batly and Petra are the little yappers that we have now. They are both cute as can be, but, boy, do they have mouths on them! They are Jack Russell Terriers mixed with Chihuahua, otherwise known as “Jack Cheese”. Batly is an affectionate dog and wants to be loved on. She makes a good lap dog. Petra, however, is very hyper and has usurped Batly as the Alpha dog (Batly is older). Petra doesn’t want to let me love on them. Whereas Batly will gladly let me pet her, Petra hates me and snaps at me. A few days ago, she bit me for trying to pet Batly. I don’t know how to fix this problem. I’ve never done anything mean to either one of them, but now I hesitate to try to pet either one because Petra is so aggressive towards me. In reality, they are our oldest daughter’s dogs and when she sets up her own home, they will go with her. It would be really nice to be able to pet them while they’re here without getting bitten. Hopefully, Petra will grow out of it before Batly decides that she doesn’t want me to love on her.


It is our intention that once these puppies go with our daughter to her new home, there will be no more for me and David. We are getting too old for this much heartache and can’t be sure that we’d be able to take care of them the way they should be taken care of due to our own health issues. But, Heavenly Father may have other plans for us still. We’ll see how it goes.

I am having problems formatting the posts here on WordPress. I am also posting the A to Z April Challenge on my main blog as PS Annie! Please feel free to follow me there, too!

About Suzanne Gunter McClendon

I am a South Carolina native, but have been living on the Texas Gulf Coast for 14 years now. David and I have been married for 34 years. Our children are grown. Some are here at home, others are out in the big world doing their "thing". I enjoy genealogy, reading, writing, photography, digital art, fiber arts, cooking and much, much more.
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