Being Beautiful: Heaven must surely have a special place for dogs

All dogs go to Heaven, and you will never convince me otherwise.

I have had a dog running under foot from the time I could first walk and remember. Princess, our neighbor’s dog when I was a toddler, was elegant. She would run beside me in the green grass, her champagne colored coat glistening in the sunlight, and she would sit with me for what seemed like hours under Aunt Paulette’s popcorn trees. Then there was the giant Saint Bernard, whose name escapes me, but whose personality does not. He slobbered all over me from ages 3 to 5, ran away with all my toys, and loved to sit on top of me until I surrendered my potato chips to him.

Dogs come into our lives and fill them with joy until the moment they slip away, even after. My daddy had an English Setter who kept the barnyard chickens in their proper place. Her hair was the deepest red I have ever seen and he named her Red because of it. Oh, how I loved that regal lady. She would run laps around our swimming pool, barking loudly if she thought we were in danger, and Mama felt better knowing she was our lifeguard on duty alongside her as we splashed away the summers.

I still have old photographs of our family bulldog, George, barking out his scruffy hellos. If I close my eyes, I can see him napping in the shade on the front porch. He was my brother’s dog mostly, but Tony shared him with me. George would run alongside us on our motorcycles until his little stubby legs gave out. We sneaked him into our bedrooms on cold nights, hiding him under the covers from Daddy.

Of course, I can’t remember a single time when George was with us without our Scottie. Who would have guessed a grumpy old bulldog and a charismatic Spitz would get along so well? Scottie was stunning with his bright white coat, pink nose and tail that curled up over his body. The funniest thing about him was his quirky, eccentric personality.

Yes, I believe “human” adjectives are absolutely applicable to dogs.

Scottie loved popsicles more than any of us, didn’t mind singing for treats, and when the family got into our big black Oldsmobile he would jump on top of the hood and ride down the road with us to visit the neighbors. Imagine if you will the sight of my mama driving all of us kids down that country road at about 10 miles per hour with a big ball of white fur on the hood. He loved every minute of his spoiled existence.

Through the years there was Pup Pup the toy poodle, Daisy the Shih-Tzu, and Goldie the Lab who made my childhood house a home. When we opened the door after Mama’s funeral, we found Goldie lying quietly at the threshold of that tiny country church door, come to pay her last respects, and the sight of her unconditional display of love brought tears to the eyes of grown men.

My four ladies who rule the roost now—Sophia, Lillian, Stella, and Naomi—are curled up around me as I write this column.

I only hope they know the absolute joy they bring to me, dog gone it!

Contact David at [email protected].