... I was going to get rich
Have you ever had a pet? Cat? Dog? Whatever? This is about dogs we had some years ago. Two 'Yorkshire Terriers'. We bought them in England in the late sixties.
Strolling down Baker Street in London one day my wife, two kids and I stopped at the window of a pet shop. A Yorkie puppy stood against the glass, tail wagging. My daughter decided to go in and get a closer look, pet it.
It was a female, small, yelping at her. She held it a few minutes, then my son held the pup awhile before the sales lady came over. She told us the puppy had been sold already, but the breeder has more from the same litter. I stated that we were just looking. My daughter put the puppy down and we left. The kids talked about how cute she was as we wandered around a while longer before heading home.
Driving home I listened to the kids talking about the dog. Both asked about us getting one. No dog, I told them and meant it. . . (ha ha).
A while later the family met me after work to go shopping. My car was parked across from the Embassy and we began walking.
Unfortunately we passed the pet shop again and another Yorkie was in the window. The kids went in and the wife and I followed. It was the sister to the one we saw a few weeks earlier, a bit bigger though, silver gray color, long hair. The breeder came in while we were there, and we were introduced.
We talked a while and she began talking about how much she charged for her pups that were sent to the States and wished she could open a store there, but never would as her dogs took up all her time. She gave us her address which was just outside London and invited us to visit her.
Oh yeah, the kids bought the puppy! The breeder said the pedigree would be mailed after it was registered with the British Kennel Club, and said I should register her in the States with the American Kennel Club when we returned.
We named her Puddles. She really made lots of them around the house at first, too.
We spent many hours training her. Walking, sitting, retrieving, she learned fast. It was fun, too. She was house-broken in no time, but the name Puddles stayed with her.
I worked in London and usually arrived home about the same time each evening. After awhile Puddles would be sitting in the bay window when I came in the walk at night. With her tail wagging, she stood against the window until I came in. She ran to me, barking, happy to see me.
I always picked her up, loved her. She returned my love. When I lay on the sofa watching TV, she would curl up against me awhile, then visit with other members of the family.
I don't remember all the details now, but we were out driving one Sunday and the wife asked if that was the town the breeder lived in. I had not paid any attention, but saw the next sign. We decided to stop in and see her operation.
A Bobby, British Policeman, directed us to her home. It was a nice little house on the outside. We heard the dogs, and were invited in. Newspapers covered every inch of the floor, and puppies of different sizes were in every room, separated by wire gates. The small puppies were in wire pens in every room. The place was as clean as could be expected with so many dogs. The kids played with them and somehow we got to talking about how much money could be made raising dogs.
Well, I got sucked in. The kids had taken to a tiny male, silver black, and the next thing I knew, we bought another Yorkshire Terrier.
This time, I didn't object too much. I had begun to think of how much money I might make if we could sell pups when we returned to the states.
He was named Tony, and was a lover also. He trained quickly and neither of them was much trouble.
My tour ended and we came back to the states. I had 30 days leave before reporting to Newport, RI to pick up my ship. We bought our home here in Melrose. The yard was open then, and they went out only when one of us was with them.
It took a few spankings with rolled newspaper to teach them never to leave the yard. It didn't take long for them to learn and both dogs remained in the yard. They would never leave the yard unless one of us was with them. After cleaning out the yard, we fenced it in and they were allowed to stay outside alone. The fence was wire and other dogs visited from the rear. None got inside though. After my leave, I managed to come home on weekends, unless we were underway. The wife gets credit for most of what was done. I worked my fanny off on the weekends though.
The breeder in England told me to wait until Puddles was two years old before breeding her. We waited. When she was nearly two, I had big plans on how rich I was going to be selling all her puppies.
The squadron was preparing to make a six month cruise to South America and I didn't really want to go, so I put in my papers to retire. The "Old Man", as the Commodore was called, signed my papers and I left the ship a couple of weeks before they departed. I was transferred to The Fargo Building in Boston for retirement. Retired July 2, 1971.
I had many conversations with the vet about how to price the pups, and figured to make a mint. hee! hee!
The big day arrived. We cleaned up an area in the basement and the process began. Both dogs were eager, but Tony was a bit smaller and could not connect. I put books under his feet, held him and off they went.. for a second.
Puddles howled, pulled away, snapping at Tony and me. Lil held her but she just howled and the effort failed. A couple of times we tried, but the same thing happened.
I took her to the vet and after examining her, told me she had internal problems. He could fix her for about $200, but would not guarantee she would have pups. Being the cheap skate I am, I forgot about getting rich.
The summer passed. Fall was upon us. It got cold, low 40's (anything below 70 is cold to me). One night, just about dark, Puddles wanted out and naturally she got out. She did her run around the yard, then began barking, ran to the fence in back. I went out and stood on the deck, trying to see what she had found. I didn't see anything. Suddenly she yelped and ran toward me. I opened the door to go in behind her, and suddenly the smell hit me and I realized she had been sprayed by a skunk.
A family of skunks lived close by, and we watched them occasionally moving around in the yards of the houses behind and beside us. It never dawned on me that the dogs could be sprayed.
Anyway, Puddles ran in, began sliding her nose along the floor running from room to room. The living room, sliding on the rug, then the den. The smell was stifling. The house reeked of skunk. I finally caught her, took her outside, put on a lead, the wife held her and I got the big wash tub from the garage. Fortunately, we had several large cans of tomato juice and I emptied them in the tub.
I had read somewhere that bathing the animal in tomato juice would help eliminate the smell. I began. Lil opened all the windows and doors to help disperse the smell inside the house. How long I poured tomato juice on her is long forgotten, but the smell began to leave. Finally, I poured the juice in the garden, filled the tub with water and rinsed her. She was shaking from the cold and being wet. I was freezing as it was really cold and a bit of wind blowing.
When most of the juice color had been removed, I dried her, took her inside wrapped in a towel. I put on a jacket to get warm and continued drying her until her shaking stopped.
The house still smelled of skunk, but not as bad. When we got used to the smell, we closed all the windows and doors and we, in jackets and Puddles under a blanket, settled back to watch TV.
It was quite funny as we talked about it later, but that night, it was horrible.
I never made any money either, but spent a bundle on the two of them.
June 4, 1999