Dog in the Manger (and some personal memoirs)



Here’s a collection of heartbreaking personal experiences I want to share (trust me, there’s a tie-in):

In 2003 my beloved dog Peppy died of old age. He’d come to my door in 1990 and proudly trotted inside as if only to visit, but he stayed, and was an absolute gem of a little dog, a charming character that will never be forgotten. He’d saunter up to strangers in parks and introduce himself, always eliciting smiles, and he loved to be “worn” on your head, wrapped around your neck and so forth, had absolute trust in human hands. This is him close to the end, about age 13:

peppyThen in 2006 my dear dog Heidi died after years of tumor growth and 3 surgeries; she also died (euthanized) at about age 14. I’d spotted her in a hospital parking lot, guessed her person may have had a heart attack while driving and that’s how she ended up there? She’d been nibbling on bird bones and such like a little feral dog. It took two days to catch her, but once picked up, she melted into my arms and we were together for 11 years, many happy memories with all of them. A great hugger dear little Heidi was, cautious, affectionate, bit naughty at times, and proud of possessing her two little men, “husband” Corky below, and “boyfriend” Peppy above. She’d had another beau named Charlie from 1995-1997 as well. (Of course they were all spayed/neutered.) Here’s my beloved Heidi:Heidi

Then only a few months later, near the end of 2006, my dearly loved mother died from congestive heart failure at 80. So much trouble and failures we had overcome, and words here cannot do her justice, nor can words describe the grief at losing her. She suffered psychological problems and overcame them entirely without “help,” as professionals never really helped the situation, only masked it with “treatments.” She’s who first got me interested in vegetarian eating in the 1970s, as she dabbled in it off and on. She and all my other family…human and animal…are loved forever. Here she is at about age 20:Mom icon

Then in late 2007 my sweet little guy Corky died at about age 18 of heart failure (euthanized), another unique and cherished little treasure found wandering a busy boulevard in 1994, with a gang of kids chasing him throwing sticks. I saved him from the little brats, held him in my arms, and fell in love. And he was a runner, an independent spirit, so would at times say “screw you I’m off for an adventure!” and take off, only to be found with my screaming his name at the top of my lungs as he came trotting back, contrite but happy. Here’s Corky on his favorite chair:Corky

Then a few months later in February 2008 my dad died at 83 after suffering for years with heart disease and CHF. He’d adopted a new family and been with them for many years, but we always loved each other, he was never gone from our lives, even if pretty estranged, as divorce families can be. He was basically a good man despite his flaws…the ladies loved him and he quite enjoyed that, making him a pretty terrible husband for our fragile mom. Still we have many happy memories with our dad. Any financial security we have now, we owe largely to him, as he was quite the businessman and hard worker. Despite some hard times, in the long run he provided for his kids. Here’s dad in his 20s:Dad

There it is, five deaths suffered in five years…

Needless to say, quite enough devastation and grief. Yet it gets worse.

A couple of weeks after my father died, his second wife also died very unexpectedly due to pneumonia. Her large family including three grown children, several grandchildren, and various cousins, nieces, nephews, all of course were devastated. For both extended families, two funerals within a few weeks. I don’t know how people get through life with all of this, but here we are.

Now to the point of this article and the title, Dog in the Manger:

My father had a little dog he adopted as a puppy, a Jack Russell type named Piccolina, totally adorable even if obsessively attached to him and fiercely protective…a one-person dog pretty much, except my dad’s wife was her secondary loved one. Her dog was a fat friendly boy chihuahua named Güero, sweet and feisty. And dad’s step-son and daughter-in-law had two black chihuahuas, one was Penny and I don’t remember the other’s name. Very sweet, cautious, loyal to their loved ones. They lived in a house next-door to my dad and his wife.

Piccolina type dog, she had shorter hair

So now both heads of my dad’s household were deceased, and the dogs were without their loved caretakers, an indescribably sad situation. All four dogs would mostly hang out at my dad’s place with the run of the house and large yard. But now there was no more dad, no more mom. Only dad’s step-son and family next door, with work and school activities to occupy much of their time. So I immediately sought to arrange for my cousin-in-law who lives not far from there to give Piccolina and Güero an excellent home with her, as she’s a kind, generous, smart woman, so of course loves dogs. She agreed and was looking forward to welcoming them to her home. I believe she’d just had an elderly dog who had passed, so was missing the company of dogs. I already had two dogs, the legal limit at my complex, and my brother had four at the time, so we had our hands full or would have at least taken my dad’s dog. But thankfully there was our cousin who would take the two, and she was close-by while we were a 1–2 hour drive away.

But when my cousin called my dad’s elder step-daughter shortly after the funeral to say she’d take the two dogs, the daughter said, “Oh no, we want to keep them, our mom loved them, we’ll take good care of them,” or something along those lines. Bewildered by this, my cousin agreed after trying to convince her otherwise, and told me about it.

And here’s the part I’ll never forgive myself for, nor will I forgive my father’s 2nd family:

I took dad’s 2nd family at their word and figured that with so many people to look out for them…as they do have a lot of family and friends, all supposedly dog lovers and God-fearing Christians…the dogs must be in good hands. So I naively set my mind at ease and pictured the dogs getting used to living without their beloved “mom & dad” and settling in to their new lives.

Then several months later, my brother talked to dad’s step-daughter and asked her about the dogs. In essence she replied, “Oh, three of them died, we think they got into rat poison or something, but Güero survived and he’s with my brother and his family.”

Beyond_griefThey’d already been gone for months before we found out. Needless to say, I, my brother, and our cousins were sickened, horrified…no words really describe the feelings here, which persist to this day for me, six years later. No other explanation can be gotten from the family about how those three dogs, Piccolina and the two black chihuahuas, met their ends. They could have starved to death for all we know, since the plump one was the only survivor. Hopefully he didn’t meet any awful fate too, as his family moved to Oregon and we don’t keep in touch…never really did except in necessity. With Güero being their mother’s personal beloved dog, I believe they had incentive to actually care for him.

So when I looked up “dog in the manger” today, I was stricken and saddened, again remembering those three sweet little dogs. The spiteful keeping of something…rather someones…that you don’t really want, just to keep someone else from having them, someone who deserves them and who will care for them well.

Dog in the manger, you know who you are…

And I wonder what any God really thinks of you and all the others who knowingly, willfully betrayed those innocents and caused them such suffering. My own betrayal of them was due to ignorance, and faith in your love for at least your mother…but my guilt for leaving them in your hands is unbearable. Where’s your guilt, and what have you all done about it? Jesus will save you? So much for Christianity in this case.

Beware, people, never trust others you don’t really know with something so precious. Don’t suffer this guilt and unending heartbreak. And most importantly, watch out for the animals, see to them, protect them. Hard lessons learned.

In memory of “Picky” and her two pals. I hope you (and others I’ve failed) understand everything now, and forgive me for my mistakes. You are all loved and cried for.

9 thoughts on “Dog in the Manger (and some personal memoirs)

  1. They seemed very nonchalant about the dog’s death. So they probably did not care at all for the poor dogs and let them perish. Reminds me of a woman who wanted one of my cats because I have plenty of them and she wanted a free one. I was appalled. I said of course I am not going to toss you one of the cats. They are my children. She said Oh you! I had a feeling she would throw that cat away as soon as she was tired of the cat.

    • Thanks Denderah, your cats are very fortunate to have you, and you them. And that woman reminds me of another incident in 2002, a dog I’d taken from his abusers who lived several blocks away from me who kept him illegally tethered in their patio and let their small boy abuse him. They treated him like garbage, he was so bewildered and scared. I asked to take him and they said a firm NO. So I came back one COLD rainy night and saw him still tethered to a patio chair out there which also was his “shelter.” Called the police…they did nothing. (Found out later the cops were “good friends” of these people…if snakes in the grass can really befriend each other.) So next day I went in through their gate and “stole” the dog. Three months later, after having Elmo neutered and him loving his new life with my other 3, those people came with their cop friends and demanded him back, or I would be arrested. (They’d been searching for him and investigating me for awhile…should have been prosecuting the dog abusers instead, of course.) Poor little Elmo was nervous but happy to see them…dogs are SO loyal and loving! So they took him back, had him living off the tether at least, in and out of the house; he seemed happy enough, but who knows what was going on in there, and about a year later he was GONE. Probably had escaped and run away, and I can only hope he was found and kept by good people. It’s next to impossible to get a straight answer from those mean “dog in the manger” types about what happened, so asking them anything would have been futile. They may have even killed Elmo, but their cop friends I’m sure would have covered up for them and let them off. They’ll all not enjoy their Karma, to be mild about it. And I wish I’d not taken it for granted that they were happy to be rid of him, should have realized they were spiteful “dogs in the manger” and kept him safe from them, elsewhere. These regrets are awful.

  2. Your parents are quite pretty. And all those adorable dogs were lucky to cross paths with you. It is so hard to have our friends pass on.

  3. Oh you are brave to rescue that dog. This story reflects conditions for many dogs here and my sorrow every time I see a dog on a chain. and without adequate shelter from the elements. There is one down the street from me. The “owner” is a mean desperado and that poor animal is in the same condition every time I drive by. Calling animal control officers has proved futile here because the people who show up with badges are not much more aware than the abusers neglecters. Police I cannot trust at all to have compassion. Not surprising they would hunt you down-you challenged their view and their” property” rights. Police and animal control officers are of the same breed of human as animal haters generally. They have no problem dispatching an animal. Someone called animal control on me and my property was raided of eight cats which were promptly carted off to the kill shelter. I was over quota and one of the officers said that they could fine me nearly one thousand dollars per cat if I didn’t show rabies papers. I was in a fix. The feral habitat is wild and I do not have papers on all the cats. The cats are healthy but not spayed or neutered until I trap them and get them to a vet. Oh it is a terrible thing to deal with people you know are despicable but they are hiding behind their badges and the power of the county. I have trapped as many ferals as I can and brought them into my house. The outside habitat is inconspicuous now and I hope it stays that way. Karma is due on the human race of animal abusers.

  4. Do not think I am a animal hoarder. It could sound that way. But over a twenty three year period I have taken in cats-usually five or six housecats on average and for some reason people have been dropping cats off at intervals. It’s got around the neighborhood that I am a cat lady. So people must be dropping a cat or two off at night. I get up in the morning and there is a lovely cat from somewhere and I know the cat is not a stray. The last cat arrived in August and she is a beauty. She now lives in the house as if she owns it. I have enemies in this hood and the person who called animal control a few years back was calling about wild peacocks that I was feeding. That’s how the officers found out about the cats when they came onto the property they saw feeding stations. Bad to the bone me. The wild peacock slaughter compliments of a neighbor with a pellet gun and the animal control officers was a heartbreak that I will never get over.

    • Treated like criminals for doing the right thing, while actual abusers/criminals are rewarded. W..T..F..?!?
      I’m glad you’re not a hoarder, didn’t think so. Hoarders are collectors with mental issues, no ability to properly care for animals, and people should watch out for them. Puppy mill operators are the worst of all hoarders, with the commodifying and greed aspects added on for ultimate vileness. That they’re legal is beyond infuriating.
      Feeding cats can be a dilemma; they probably must have meat, at least fish or eggs, unless you want to spend a fortune on carefully supplemented vegan cat food. Hopefully you can get fish or eggs for them on your land, although it would be a terrible task to have to kill fish.
      That heartbreak you mentioned may be with us forever for a reason…in some other realm we may be called on to testify, or something. Maybe our suffering in this way somehow atones for our own wrongs in this life?
      Almost all of our religions boil down to a battle between good & evil, so the whole purpose for life may be to weed out evil and get free of it. Imagine some unimaginably huge consciousness tormented by parts of itself that are caustic, causing terrible pain and self-doubts, and wanting to be free of them, but they have to be identified first. How better to do that than by dividing up into all these billions of lives on Earth with the most likely suspects being born human, able to develop moral judgment and special knowledge, with animals and other innocents at the mercy of such possible evil. Identify the evil scumbag through his/her life’s deeds and boom, out he/she goes, to compensate the victims then be dead forever (Hell). Before long they’re 100% gone and Heaven becomes real. But evil fights back in its way, doesn’t want to be cast out, so has cleverly fouled up the works so far through deceit/confusion in a variety of ways including bibles, continual reincarnations and memory erasures, etc.
      I believe Armageddon is real even if not the biblical version of things, and that if people don’t get strong & tough in rejecting & condemning what’s wrong with our species…our crimes against animals, etc. …then evil will win in the end. And that would be a tragedy we’d ALL suffer under and regret forever…the sadistic scumbags would regret it too, those IDIOTS…it’d be like a never-ending existence of crocodiles devouring each other. The fight is real, evil is real, and people have got to stop all this “everything is beautiful as long as I see it that way” narcissistic, blissed-out BS. That’s horribly untrue, a product of brainwashing by evil entities who thrive on it.
      Anyhow, thanks for your sharing, Denderah. Seems like we’ve written more articles here, especially me; I always get carried away, but am preoccupied by these topics and a writer by nature, even if not so great. And yeah I sound nuts, but people like me may someday be able to affectionately (or sadly) say “I told you so” to people who called us nut cases.


      • Feeding the cats is a dilemma. The vegan food is prohibitive by cost and needs to be shipped. I am sorry that humans have tamed animals and then made them dependent on us. May I one day be free of this and the cats rest in peace. As a vegan I abhor buying pet food but I have no other choice. It would be fairly easy if I had just one cat to have a small shipment but I go through big bags one a day. I have tried the eggs which come from my chicken friends but the cats won’t touch them. I am paying for my wrongs.

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