My dad really loved my dogs and the feeling was mutual. When he was feeling well he would come over numerous times a day to see the ‘beauties of the house’ (I played no part in this group, I’d like to add). One of my dogs had a special bark to notify us that he was in the hallway. He often would open the door and ask her why she was barking. He questioned how she knew it was him versus someone else.
He would sit with them on the couch and pet them and often would talk to them. Depending on whether I was home and how I was feeling, I’d either greet my dad and sit with them. Or I’d sit in the bedroom and eavesdrop on the puppy play session. Regardless of where I was in relation to this love fest, it was always really cute.
He would talk to Foxy, who is the bigger of my two dogs and the one who would tell us he was arriving, and tell her that she was getting chubby or that she was losing weight. She’d put her head down and would allow him to pet her head. Occasionally she’s raise up with her front paws on his shoulders and would lick him. When she did this my dad would allow her to until it got out of control and he would say something like “I already washed my face today, Flexie’ or “I don’t need to shave so stop softening my facial hair.” If we yelled at her to get down, he’s say “Leave her alone.” Occasionally he would ask her if she was going to give him her paw. But most of the time she’d surrender it to him. He often asked the dogs what he was going to do with them.
Bonnette, my older and smaller dog, loved to sit and sleep with my dad – either while watching television together or just to pass a lazy afternoon. She would also shower my dad with licks. He would often clean the goop that was collecting in her eyelids. She would only allow him or my husband to do this. She wouldn’t complain at all but seemed to enjoy it even if he was sticking his nail in the corner of her eye. He would tell her “I’m going to kill you!” (He said this to Foxy too) or he would threaten to eat them.
Despite the number of times I instructed my dad that my dogs’ names were Bonnette and Foxy, he insisted on calling them Bonnie and Flexie. One time while we were in the car, my dad kept saying “Flexie! Flexie! Come here!” to which she never responded. My dad said under his breath “Another one that never listens to me!” I laughed at this because it wasn’t that she wasn’t listening to him, it was that she didn’t know her name to be Flexie but Foxy. Occasionally he’d give the dogs his own special names such as “tempest” for Bonnette because he thought she was a troublemaker. But she was only as bad as he was. There were times I would look at them together and say they looked and acted like twins. Bonnette would bark if she didn’t like something and my dad would raise his voice in his special way and tell us we were doing something wrong or that someone was full of it.
There are days when I keep expecting to hear that bark and/or the door bell ring. The hardest part is knowing that I won’t hear that progression of events any more. This is one of the things I miss most about my dad.