We seemed to go through dogs like tissue when I was a little kid. The first dog I remember was Leeta – and she had puppies, I’m not sure if I remember her or just remember seeing pictures of her.  I know there was a black dog of some kind before her, because I have a picture of it licking my face (I look to be about 2 in the photo).  Leeta died.  And then there was this great big orangish dog I have a vague memory of- it died to.  Then there were 2 dogs (One we named Prince, the other I don’t remember), I ‘m not sure what kind (they were black and brown), but they weren’t very nice.  As pups I was playing with them in the hayloft and one of them chomped on my finger.  I tried to show my big brother the finger that Prince chomped on and he said in a very scandalous voice, “J, put that finger down.”

“How come?” I recall asking.

“Because it means all the most terrible swear words in the world that you can think of.” 

Talk about making an impression, I never put THAT finger up again.  Then a while later those two dogs were caught killing chickens.  There is only one thing you can do with an animal that gets a taste for killing and that is putting them down.  I remember hiding with my siblings in the basement so we wouldn’t have to hear the gunshot.  We understood why, but it still made us sad.  Then there was this really pretty collie mix, and that dog got hit by a car.  I suppose we weren’t having the best of luck with dogs.  I often wondered why in all the stories people had dog friends for life, when ours didn’t seem to last longer than a few months or maybe a year.  It all seemed terribly unrealistic, that is until the year I turned eight.

He was a tiny puppy, black and brown and so adorably cute.  Longish hair, floppy ears, and a fan tail.  He was actually a long-haired dachstund mixed with a cockerspaniel – so we called him a long-haired cockerdox. (We thought we were very clever).  Since he was smaller than all the other dogs we managed to convince mom that he needed to be an inside dog.  He would take turns sleeping on all of our beds.  Mom taught him to beg, roll over, and even sing.  Some dogs can speak on command, “ruff”, but our dog was way better.  You just had to say “sing” and he would let out the greatest howls.  He even joined our singing time around the piano.  We tried to teach him to fetch but he thought it was much more fun to play tag once he got the ball.  We named him Fritz.

Fritz was the dog of all of our dreams.  He followed us wherever we went, only chewed on a few of our more precious items, and chased his tail for large quantities of time, much to our delight.  There were occasions when we would be gone most of the day to come home to find all of our stuffed animals piled by our front door.  None were chewed on, he just missed us and gathered all the stuffed animals he could drag to the door where he waited for our safe return.

One time we took him with us on vacation from PA to Utah and Oregon.  We were visiting the Great Salt Lake and accidently left him in the parking lot.  Were at least an hour away when we noticed our precious Fritz wasn’t with us.  We were all distraught and turned around, not daring to hope he was still there.  But there he was sitting in our vacant parking spot and howling with all his little lungs.  We had quite the reunion.

I finally got to see what it was like to have a dog companion for life like in all those stories I had wistfully read.  Fritz was our faithful buddy until Jan (or so) of 1999 when he had to be put down he was so sick – I was 23 and a half.

My parents replaced him with Susie ( a Welsh Corgi) the following fall who is now our dog.  Last night Susie was barking at 3 in the morning and I remember Fritz our watch dog.

It was while I was in my senior year in highschool.  Fritz began barking madly in the middle of the night, waking up myself and my parents (I was the only one left at home at this point). Dad ran down the hall.  I had forgotten to close the front shade and turn off the lamp.  As Dad walked out from the hall he saw a face pressed up against the window and heard another man trying to jimmy the lock, Fritz was still going crazy.  Dad flicked the hall light a bunch of times and it scared the robbers off, but it was still a scary experience.

So, last night when I heard Susie growling and barking I got chicken livered and woke up my hubby to check on things. Everything was fine.  But I couldn’t get back to sleep. Instead, I laid in bed thinking of our faithful dog Fritz and writing this post in my head.  I should have just done it last night at 3:30 A.M. when I was thinking of it, maybe I would have gotten it out of my system and finally gotten a decent nights rest.  Oh, well, that is what naps are for. 🙂


Filed under Memory

2 responses to “Fritz

  1. Awesome post Julia… I am speachless as usual.

  2. Let’s hear it for naps!

    Oh yes, and animals who double as family members and bodyguards. I have more experience with naps than animals, but I really enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for sharing!

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