Monday, March 30, 2020
The Dogs Of My Life ~ Post No. 4 ~ Red
I still haven't called my computer guy to see if he can help figure out how to upload pictures to this computer. The month is coming to an end and I want to post about a dog once a month so I'm going ahead without pictures. Red was a gorgeous dog and deserves pictures to accompany the narrative of his life.
Red was a very large Doberman pinscher, the alpha dog of Gypsy's litter. He was a beautiful, deep red colored dog, tall and powerful. Had his ears and tail been docked, he would have looked both majestic and dangerous. Neither Errol nor I ever thought of doing that to him.
I have many wonderful memories of Red from our trip to Washington state. In my mind, I can see him running down a long narrow field in Oregon, crossing a creek on a log with Errol in the redwood forest of California, exploring the ocean from the rocks along the Monterrey shore. What a gorgeous looking dog he was. I have pictures of all this to help me remember better.
Gypsy and Red were our first dogs together. They were there when we got married, they went on trips with us, they sailed with us, they hung out in the marina with us. We had some very happy years together with them.
Thinking back, Red was probably the most pack oriented dog of all the dogs that lived with us. And very protective of us. I know that many people are weary of Dobermans, scared even. After all, the breed was created specifically by Herr Doberman in Germany to be protective and scare away robbers. But responsible owners can through love and care make these beautiful dogs shine.
Some of them can be a bit much though, as our last Doberman, a rescue and my fifth dog proved to be.
But Red was not rescued, he was born with Errol right there.
However, because he was so protective of his pack, he didn't tolerate any intruders in our yard. If burglars had ever contemplated breaking into our house, one look at Red would for sure have changed their minds.
Animals would not be so careful. One day, Errol heard a commotion and was able to rescue, out of the mouths of both Red and Gypsy, a small gray kitten that later became our much loved cat, Sindbad, who lived with us for 18 years. Other critters were not so lucky, except for the opossums that always managed to play dead and fool him.
Gypsy was fine with our two cats once she knew they were part of her pack. Errol had to work with Red for a while, but once he understood and accepted we were all a pack, he was wonderful with them.
Red was basically Errol's dog while Gypsy was mine. It just worked out that way. Red would stay with Errol at the LA house if Errol was working on it and Gypsy would stay with me and the cats in Pasadena.
After Gypsy died, I was worried about Red. She had been with him all of his life, after all.
And it didn't go well for him. About a year after she passed, he developed an awful cancer. Somewhere in his anal area, so painful. Errol felt about Red as I did about Gypsy, and he had a very difficult time letting him go. We were both crying when we took him, for the last time, to our vet in Altadena, a small town in the hills above Pasadena.
We had been with that vet for years and he let us take Red's body back to Los Angeles so Errol could bury him in our yard. I'm pretty sure you are not supposed to bury dogs in your Los Angeles back yard, but somehow our vet understood, so we took Red with us home and buried him there.
Red was only ten years old when he died. Errol was devastated, Red was his special dog the same way Gypsy had been mine. I remember that we were both very, very sad for a long time and it would be a while before we got another dog.
Of course, each post about 10 of my 12 dogs will end with their passing. It's such a sad fact of nature that our dogs will die before we do. Then when you get to be my age and alone with two of them, will I die before them becomes your greatest and most constant worry.