When I first moved into the house where I currently live, I was a happily married man and we brought along four spaniels and a Maltese whose name was Man. We lost the Maltese while we were away in Belize as he dug his way out during a thunderstorm of which, he was deathly afraid. The house sitter at the time thought he had been locked up with the rest of them but apparently he was not. He got hit by a car and when we received the news in Belize, we were devastated and cut short our vacation to come home. Not really sure why we did that in retrospect because the damage was already done and there was nothing to be gained by coming home early except that being home in familiar surroundings helped with the grief of losing that little dog.
We replaced the Maltese with another male who was called Manfried and after a couple of years added to the collection with a miniature Maltese female named Bianca who was the cutest thing you have ever seen. So now we were a family of four Cocker Spaniels who lived outdoors and two Maltese who were both spoilt brats and stayed indoors. As time went by, my wife and I divorced and I ended up with the house and four Cocker Spaniels and the male Maltese.
In one of my earlier blogs I tell the story of losing all four Cocker’s in the space of a year which left me with the male Maltese so my family went from five down to one in a short space of time. Skipping ahead, I had a party at my house one Saturday evening with members of the Allies soccer team that I coached and the Maltese was one of the hits of the evening. On Monday, I came home from work and following my usual format, took him out while I got the mail. I went back in the house and normally he was right there with me but not this time and when I went out to find him, he was laying on the road having been hit by a truck. I was devastated and inconsolable for a while but the next day, I picked up the paper and searching in the dog adds, found another Maltese and immediately went and purchased him. He was cute as they all are when they are small. I named this one Manley. That was the smartest thing I did as he filled the empty space created with losing Manfried.
Moving along, I received a call from a friend of mine who ran a dog business and she had another male Maltese that she needed a home for. So I went and saw him and took him home with me as a buddy for Manley. His name was Dusty and he had the most beautiful coat. Some Maltese are hard to comb as their coat is so thick, you can hardly get a comb through it but his was perfect. So now, my family had gone from one to two. A few years later, Dusty had problems in urinating and was trying everything from the usual leg cocking position of the male dog to the squatting of the female so I took him to the vet who diagnosed a blockage caused by stones in his urinary tract. The operation was a success but Dusty died that night of post surgery complications so now my family was back to one, Manley.
I had another friend whose own marriage was breaking up and she was looking for a home for two Dachshunds a miniature named BeBe short for Beatrice and a male whose name a can’t remember. The male was a little aggressive towards Manley who was the most laid back dog you have ever seen so as it turns out, my friends ex in-laws wanted him and I passed him along so that he too found a good home. Then my ex-wife called me to say she had a friend with a litter of Dachshunds and would I please take one so what the hell, what is one more small dog so now all of a sudden, my family had grown to three, two Dachshunds, BeBe and Abigail and a Maltese.
Somewhere in there, I rescued a big old mutt dog which is also the subject of an earlier post and two of her puppies and they lived outdoors in a dog run that I had built for the Cocker’s. So with the indoor and outdoor dogs, my family was at six. The male puppy died (also an earlier blog) bringing the count down to five. Then another friend of mine gave me a Scottie who we called Mini taking the count back up to six.
I think that the word was out that if you have a stray animal, take it to the Allcorn house and he will take it in which is probably true as I also gained a couple of cats the same way. So, friends from the State called to ask me if I would take Richie, a mid-sized Dachshund, as he could no longer live with his previous owners. So, what the hell, bring him along, what’s one more dog. So now we were at seven all living indoors I might add but all friends and no real problems. Incidentally, Richie is the life of the party and gets into more mischief that I thought was possible. He dug his way out the first day I had him and I had to scramble over a barbed wire fence to get him back. Since then, there is electric fencing around the bottom of the wood fencing.
We all lived together for a while without any more additions until the Mama Mutt dog that I was calling Sandy, began to show her age. She had led a pretty rough life I think but she was sweet and very friendly. Bottom line, it was time for another trip to the vet’s and then we were back to six again. Moving on, last year, Manley had a stroke or a heart attack and although he survived the first one died in my arms of the second one a few days later. He had been a wonderful little dog and a great companion but is probably the last of the Maltese as far as I am concerned (unless someone needs a home for one). They are a lot of trouble to take care of and are subject to health issues.
So now my family is at five, the one remaining daughter from Sandy who is called Danny, short for Danielle, three Dachshunds, Bebe, Abigail and Richie and Mini the Scottie. Mini has had quite a life as regards her health. She has had her Spleen removed along with her Thyroid, has been diagnosed with either Addison’s or Cushing s, the vet is not quite sure which one, has just had ACL surgery that she got while playing with Richie and is on a three-week shot plus tablets every day to keep her healthy. Finally, although she is only seven years old, all of her problems are catching up with her and she is slipping away from us. Tomorrow, I have to take her to the Vets for her final trip and I am not looking forward to it. I cry every time I lose one of my pets. They are like family to me and are all spoilt rotten and I grieve when I lose them. My problem is that I cannot control my feelings and emotions and they come to the surface generally with me making a complete idiot of myself. I have been lucky with some of the dogs who died accidentally or naturally and have only had to take two of them to be put to sleep. I love my pets but hate the grief they can cause. That is at least lessened by having more than one as the remaining ones still need feeding and lots of attention.
ALL of these dogs and the cats also, are buried in the back yard. It is a hassle burying them as the ground is rocky just a little over a foot down so usually I have to stack rocks and turn the graves into small monuments to the inhabitants. When I am gone, the new owners could be in for a lot of surprises if ever they start digging. Wonder if I should warn them…
After tomorrow,my family will be down to four and I will have one more hole to dig.