Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rebel Van Tanglefoot

Two nights ago I started reading the book Rescuing Sprite about a family's experience with their dogs. I'm sure the dog will die and it will be sad, just like Marley & Me. What's interesting so far is that it takes place in my neighborhood! I know the pet store they got the dog at because I often walk by same window they did and look at the puppies. All this got me thinking about the dog I had as a kid. Rebel Van Tanglefoot was his name. He came from a line of show dogs, but genetics went wrong with him and his colors were all wrong so he was not show worthy. My mom really didn't want a dog, but this was her friend's dog and it turned out someone in their family was allergic so Rebel came to live with us when he was nine months old. I was only 5 at the time and was frightened of dogs. I was even scared to wear my Morris the cat shirt around him. My dad taught me to hold out my hand and let Rebel smell it before petting him. I quickly lost my fear of him and he was a great family dog...once he got past the chewing phase. He seemed to think anything left out was fair game for him to chew. Shoes were his favorite. Rebel made everyone feel special. To me, he was my protector since I was the smallest in the house. He would be really friendly to anyone who came to the door, unless I was home alone and then he'd bark his really mean bark (I wasn't allowed to open the door when I was home alone). One night when my parents were out and my two brothers and I were playing hide and seek in the house in the dark I got tagged and screamed...and when the lights were turned on, Rebel's jaw was around my brother's arm, even though he adored my brother. He wasn't hurt though. Rebel also had a way of knowing when I was upset. I had a hard time socially in high school for a while and when I was sad, Rebel would just sit next to me and be there for me like he understood. Rebel was great fun to play with. We had a back yard big enough to throw the ball for him and he loved to chase it and bring it back. Sometimes we'd pretend the throw it one direction and really throw it the other way and he'd get so confused. He also had the ability to hold two balls in his mouth at once. Rebel eventually became old and sick and a night I will never forget is the night he died. He was in my room and I knew something was wrong. He didn't sleep and just had a blank stare on his face. I eventually went to my parents' room and my mom told my dad to get the dog out of my room so he carried Rebel downstairs. A little while later I heard my dad say, "Oh no..." and I knew it was over.

4 comments:

Beakie said...

Oh Patrice- I can't be crying at work!! So sweet, and sad.

Scooter said...

Wow.. That was a tough read. Thank you for sharing that! It's amazing how something so simple and so easily taken for granted can turn out to be one of the best and safest relationships you've ever had.

Patrice said...

I didn't mean for it to be sad! I was happy while writing it and remembering Rebel dog. It's really amazing to me though how special pets can be. I know the two of you especially agree. Manny agrees too...he's sitting right next to me...I got an extra large desk so there would always be room for him too. =)

Jennifer said...

I had a dog who looked a lot like Rebel while growing up. He was a wonderful, friendly dog too. I know that animal blank stare all too well... *sigh*