Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A Dog Named Rex

When Ric and I first met he was living with a couple - John(Jack) and Terry - in Concord, California. At that time they owned an older German Shepherd dog named Duke. I met him once and, while I like dogs and they usually like me - Duke acted as if he was about to take my leg off! On the evening that Ric and I returned from the Renaissance Faire in Vacaville we spent the night at the house. As it is a 'shoeless' place, I removed my boots and placed them beside the coat rack in the living room.  While trying to retrieve them the next morning Duke thought that I was trying to steal something so reacted as the 'guard dog' that he was.

Duke passed away a few months later and then Jack and Terry began a search to find his replacement driving to German Shepherd breeding kennels all over that part of California. Finally they found the one that they felt comfortable with so, on my next visit, I met the new member of the family.

                                          Teething and Ric's fingers do substitute nicely

                                             Graduated now to chewing cowboy boots   

Months have gone by and one ear is now standing up right. By the way - my bowl is empty - and it is upside down!

When I first began visiting Ric in Concord we stayed in one of the nearby hotels. Eventually, though, I stayed with Ric at the house and a routine was quickly established. Ric is NOT a morning person but I got up as soon as the alarm sounded, took a shower, dressed, and then was ready for the day. Rex quickly understood this so he added his own take to the routine.

When I opened  the bedroom door to go for my shower, I would find him lying right outside the room waiting. When I was dressed I would go into the kitchen and pick up his lead which was always lying on the main shelf of the china cabinet. I would open the kitchen door and Rex would exit, go to the garden gate, and wait for me to click the lead onto his collar (he knew that he had to be on the lead for the first and last few blocks of the walk). One morning I dallied for some reason so Rex thought he had to remind me of my duty - he reached up onto the shelf and took the lead into his mouth looking at me as if to say,"Let's get going!"

We  would walk up to the next cross street where, usually, two women would be standing and conversing with their dogs on leashes. Always I passed them on the other side and continued on up Bonifacio to where it ended at a large park. Immediately in front of us was a kiddies amusement area of rides and such. We would bear to the left around that and to the shore of a large pond.

Having just located another photograph - buried in another file - I am adding it here. This photo was taken at around the time that the photo shown above was shot. We were in the backyard near the pool when Rex appeared and silently gave a hint as to what the activity should be.

The rule in the house was that the leather sofa was for humans only while the older cloth sofa over by the living room window belonged to the dog. That worked for Duke (who loved to bark at neighborhood cats which passed by). Rex, on the other hand, had other ideas. The leather sofa was situated so that he could see into the kitchen and down the hall to the bedrooms. So, as he was 'head of the house', that was his spot where he could keep his eyes on everyone.

Jack and Terry went away during Christmas and New Year and Ric and I stayed at the house to look after things. One New Year Ric invited friends of his and mine to drop by for lunch while on their way up to Sacramento to visit other friends. Rex had never seen them before but, instantly, he recognized two kindred spirits so did not bark at them but had a grand time in chasing the items thrown for him.


                                                              The pond in the park

Invariably there were waterfowl in the pond - mainly geese and ducks. One morning a sight stopped both Rex and I in our tracks - a male goose was trying to mount a willing female mallard!

When there were no people around I let Rex off of his lead and he remained close to me - with two exceptions. Joggers suddenly appeared and, since they were running and appeared all of a sudden, Rex thought that they were a threat. I had to control and then quieten him.

We would continue on the paved path all the way around the amusement park and then amble back to the house. I always had a bag in order to pick up his morning deposit which I would dump into the trash bin  at the house and near the garden gate.

After a couple of years Jack and Terry sold that house and moved to Oro Valley - a suburb of Tucson, Arizona - and Ric moved in with a workmate in a new development beside the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland.

As  long as Jack and Terry were living in Concord I  would purchase a squeaky toy here (they are made in a factory in Kitchener) and take it with me. While Rex would have the squeak out by the end of the first day, the outer material was tough so those chew toys lasted quite a while.

On the day that we flew to Tucson, Terry kept telling Rex that 'Ernie is coming' so, when I arrived, he was waiting for me and expecting his new squeaky toy.

It is now July 7, 2013 and I have received the sad news that Rex passed away yesterday - July 6.  

1 comment:

  1. nice story---I especially like the bit about the squeaky toy