Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Challenge-Childhood

I've written a lot about my childhood and how utterly dismal it was. The only bright spot was my first dog, a beagle I named Cocoa. He was a gift from my father who had unknowingly given me something that would remain forever in my heart: the unconditional love of a dog. The term "dog" almost seems beneath these loyal, devoted beings. I'd rather think of it as God spelled backwards.
Cocoa was more than a dog to me. He loved me and SHOWED it every single time I went outside. My mother was a clean freak and didn't allow animals in the house, so Cocoa was an outside dog. Being an energetic child, I wanted to be outside all the time anyway, so it was a great partnership. Cocoa was always very protective of me, barking, growling, and snapping at anyone who came near, even my parents. My mother used to wear a belt around her neck before going outside to smack him if he tried to bite her. You can even see in the photo that he is trying to snap at her while she takes the picture. Unfortunately, he bit our neighbor on the leg one day as he was giving me a ride on his new motor scooter. My parents had separated by that time, but my dad came over to take Cocoa away shortly after. I have never forgotten that day, sitting at the edge of my bed, weeping hysterically after watching the look of confusion on Cocoa's face as they drove away.

From that day on, I vowed to always have a dog in my life. And I have.

This was submitted for Jillsy Girl's Childhood Challenge. Go check it out if you have time!

25 comments:

Jillsy Girl said...

My heart sunk while I read this. What a traumatic experience for you to have gone through to him taken away from you. Did you have any siblings? I know the heartwarming feeling of coming home to our pets who live for us and show it when we walk through the door. My heart melts every time. Thank you for this lovely, yet heart wrenching memory.

hootnonny said...

What a sad experience! No wonder you have Gods spelled backwards. We always had dogs and cats as I grew up and when my children were at home But since I'm retired now, I choose not to have them so I'll be free...but then I'm not because I'm always keeping my daughter's animals.

Nadine, Chewy and Lilibell said...

What a sad story Gail, the ending brought tears to my eyes.

I'm like you, I hate calling Chewy & Lilibell "dogs," I'd rather call them pups (sounds so much better!) or kids!

Barbara Shallue said...

My heart is aching - I can just picture you sitting there and feel your anguish because you sensed Cocoa's fear and confusion. Our four-legged family members are always a part of us, aren't they?
I love the photo - an echo of your profile pic!

septembermom said...

So sad, Gail. Thank you for sharing this part of your heart with us. I love the name Cocoa by the way.

Hula Girl at Heart said...

How sad. I know to some people a dog is a dog. In our house, he's a member of the family. Call us silly, but that's just the way it is. If only everyone loved each other unconditionally as dogs do, the world would be such a beautiful place.

Shug said...

This touched my heart and I am so sorry for this experience in your life.. thank goodness that you have been able to move forward. Thank you for sharing..
Shug

charlottes web said...

Gail,
My heart breaks to hear of this sad story of your childhood. I am so sorry that you had to live through such a horrendous time.
I think that because of it, you have become more empathetic of others, like your friend at work, Jim.
Dogs do love us unconditionally. God is so good that he created them for us.

Hugs

lisa said...

This is so sad Gail. We (my brother and I) went through a similar experience at about that age. All these years later, we both still tear up when we talk about it.

Pat said...

Gail, your story really touched me! Cocoa will always be in your heart as your best friend.

A Rosy Note said...

Oh what a sad story! How tramatic that must have been for you, it would be a difficult experience as an adult, I can't imagine it as a child. There has never been a time in my life when I haven't had pets, they can be a lot of work sometimes, but they make life so much sweeter too :)

~tricia

La Vie Quotidienne said...

I had a similiar experience to this as a child and I have never forgotten it. It was very, very traumatic.

Rosemary Aubut said...

Wonderful but sad story Gail! I can see why you love photographing nature so much. Your love comes thru in every photo!

Michelle said...

Man, Gail, I hadn't read that older post on when you got Cocoa and the circumstances around it. You made it through a hard childhood, but maybe this is where you developed an eye for seeing good qualities in things and people. You recognized devotion in a dog- I don't think kids usually think about things like that. And you worried for him after he was gone. I noticed the picture of you hugging Cocoa looks so similar to your avatar on the blog sidebar with Sparky. All these years later, but the love is still there.
Your eye for the good in things comes out in what you notice and take the time to express to other people about their photos or posts, and obviously, in the way you find beauty in little sparrows on a fence or even nutria rats (lol).

GYPSYWOMAN said...

OMGosh - i think we may be sisters! a sad story reminding me of my own childhood and our mother - thanks for sharing such a painful memory!

*Honest Abe said...

I had a dog from the age of one or two and up until 2006 when we had to have Autumn Eve put to sleep at an advanced age. We also had Cuddles for 23 human years and had to have her put down.

I would have a dog now but my wife of 56 years doesn't want to go through the training routine and we got a cat when our daughter fell on hard times and had to move back in.

I will get one. I agree there is nothing but love and devotion between dogs and people. They are extremely social animals and for that reason I hate to see any dog tied outside. They need to be in with people or a pack of dogs.

Rosie said...

What a sad experience, Gail! I'm feeling with you while reading your post.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Lynette Killam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynette Killam said...

Oh, Gail...this piece made me cry, having experienced a similar trauma. Like you, I have since always shared my life with a dog or two. When we lost our beloved Yorkie a few years ago, I swore never to have my heart broken again..but I soon found a girl who needed me as dearly as I needed her. A home just isn't a home without the loving presence of a dog, after all.

I'm so pleased to have discovered your page beautiful and will come back again soon...:)

Laura Delegal - Leroy Photography said...

Oh, so sad. So sorry.

Attila The Mom said...

What a wonderful tribute to your friend. I'm so sorry you had to lose him. :-(

Kamana said...

how sad. i have never been an animal person, but stories like these touch my heart.

Janet said...

I feel the same way you do about dogs. In fact, the more I get to know some people ...the more I love my dog. I decided a long time ago that I would also have a dog and just as soon as I had a place that allowed pets ...yep, I got my first dog.

lissa said...

sad but you still have the memories of Cocoa so it's not so bad.

thank you for sharing.

Mary Elizabeth said...

I had a good cry after reading your post...reminded me of the loss of my dachshund Archie.
It's amazing how attached we are to our dogs. They bring us loads of love, and heartache too.
May you have a furry friend 'til the end of your days!!

M.E.