Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Jacque and the cocker spaniel

There once was a dog named Jacque. Jacque, the poodle. The French Poodle, to be exact. Hence the name. Jacque. Get it?

I always wondered how my parents came up with that name. We watched a lot of Jacques Cousteau when I was growing up; maybe that's it.

Anyway, Jacque belonged to my parents before they were parents but Jacque made the transition to shared-love extremely well since I thought he was a fabulous dog.

But then he developed a bladder control problem. And you know what happens to older dogs with bladder control problems...

They go to that great dog park in the sky.

I begged and begged for another dog. One year for Christmas I decided to ask for nothing but a dog so that my parents would have to get me one. It didn't work.  They did, however, promise me that if we ever moved out of town, into a larger home with more acreage, then I could get a dog.

They thought I would forget.

I didn't forget. And in those long years of waiting my great aunt gave me a dog book. It had a hardcover (a rarity), and was big (I suppose it's what you'd call a coffee table book but since I didn't drink coffee nor did I have a table for such drinks, I don't know for certain), and was filled with photos of every kind of dog imaginable. I looked through that book over and over and over again. I read every description. And I figured out what kind of dog I was going to get when we finally moved into that larger house with an expansive dog-friendly yard, a cocker spaniel.

And then I was introduced to Annie. It must have been the musical because I don't think the movie had been invented yet. And I fell in love with Sandy.

I had my breed. I had my name. I just needed the house.

And if you've been doing your holiday blog reading, you know that the house finally came when I was a sophomore in high school. But since we had to build it, I had plenty of time to save my money for Sandy the cocker spaniel. Because I didn't forget. I never forget.

Not long after we moved in, I found a breeder and I found a dog. But since she had papers, Sandy was just not going to do for a name. No, she would have to be Lady Cassandra of Souderton. Except that the litter didn't contain a buff colored female so I had to settle for Lord Sanford of Souderton. No difference since fairly soon there wasn't going to be any he or she about it.

Sandy was the perfect dog.

If it was raining and my dad didn't want to go to the end of the driveway for the paper, all he had to do was say, "Get the paper," and off Sandy would go to fetch it. Slightly soggy, but all in one piece.

Sandy also knew what to do when the neighbor's sheep got out of their pen and into our yard, a regular occurrence. You only had to say, "Sic the sheep," once and he'd go running out the door, over the bridge, and he'd chase those sheep right back home.

Then he'd come prancing back with head held high, knowing it was a job well done. This particular trick was a crowd pleaser and there didn't even have to be sheep out. To Sandy, "Sic the sheep" turned him into the finest sheep dog with or without sheep present.

My brother found that Sandy was the perfect soccer partner.


Sandy didn't allow many balls past him. And if there were unattended gifts, you'd return to find a pile of tiny pieces of wrapping paper that Sandy has dutifully torn off in his quest to find the gifts he wanted. He was kept busy on Christmas day, "unwrapping" all of the paper we had torn off our gifts and wadded into a ball for his holiday pleasure.

If you asked him if he wanted peanut butter he immediately started licking his lips. He never noticed that his daily vitamin was hiding inside.

Sandy was there when you needed a shoulder to cry on and he was there to keep the bed warm at night.

The Good Doctor was not so fond of dogs and the two didn't get off to a good start when my husband-to-be very quickly learned that Sandy believed all food to be his. The Good Doctor took his hoagie (something new for this midwestern boy) to the basement, set it down, went back upstairs for a drink and returned to find a very happy dog but no hoagie.

After we were married, our first home was in an apartment. No dogs. Our second home was house sitting for a couple from church. No dogs. Our third home was a trailer. No dogs. Finally, we had a home of our own but by then Sandy was pretty old. We heard that it's not good to move an old dog so we didn't. He survived a few more years after that until one day The Good Doctor came to tell me that Sandy was no more. He had joined Jacque in the great dog park in the school.

I suppose he was trying to teach a certain French Poodle how to sic the sheep.

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