Saturday, September 22, 2012
Herman and Hoover
Good grief. Someone teach that child some spelling and grammar! Yes, that's me, writing in my childhood diary on the day my brother and I got our dogs, Herman and Hoover.
I've always believed this occurred in 1976, but to the left of the date at the top of this page, it seems to say 1975 in reverse (from the preceding page). So maybe it was 1975, when I was 8 years old. I'm not sure.
Anyway, the back story is, Herman and Hoover were given to us by neighbors. They were part of a litter of four born to parents named Puppy (whom my mom called "the ugliest dog in the world") and Wagglebee. The neighbors named the puppies -- despite what I wrote above, "we" did not choose the names.
After we medicated them for their worm problems, Hoover and Herman became the source of a million family stories. They spent their years running free and trailing my brother and me all over our neighborhood, sometimes at the cost of being picked up by the dog catcher. We repeatedly had to drive down to the county pound and bail them out. But did we put a leash on them? No.
Herman, especially, got in some close scrapes -- she was attacked multiple times by bigger dogs, got her leg caught in someone's bicycle spokes, and I think she was even hit by a car. She was made of steel but dumb as a post, and she cost my parents hundreds in vet bills. Hoover was smarter, or at least more agile, and managed to more or less stay out of trouble.
We didn't try very hard to control those dogs. I suppose we should have, but things were different in those days in the palmettoed wilds of rural Florida. Fortunately they weren't biters.
They were also perpetually infested with fleas -- which for two outdoor dogs in Florida was hard to avoid. Now we have Advantage, where you put a few drops on the animal's neck and that's that. Back then, all we had were those terrible, smelly, poisonous, ineffective plastic flea collars. (Ineffective against vicious subtropical Florida fleas, anyway.)
Both dogs lived to a ripe old age -- I think Hoover died in 1991 and Herman the following year. (I could probably figure out exactly when if I were motivated to root around in more of my obsessive life documentation, but I'm not.) You can see Herman (with me) in her old age here, and Hoover (with my brother) here. Yes, those dogs really are sisters. Mind-blowing, right?
By the way -- that bit about moving was pretty much my imagination. My mom my have idly talked about it, but we never seriously considered moving anywhere, and I spent my entire childhood in the house where my mom still lives. Herman and Hoover are buried somewhere in the side yard.