This morning, as I stumbled out the door, I almost tripped over the dogs lying leisurely directly in front of the door – all three of them. My dog Sydney, the littlest in the “pile,” along with Kamala, the mid-sized dog with the dark red hair, and Floyd-the-Dog, whom I’ve known since he was a puppy and he’s nine years old now.
Where had the years gone? It seems like just yesterday Jeremy had picked Floyd out of a litter of eight fat puppies – the people who owned the Chow mom didn’t even realize she was pregnant with puppies until she lay down on the dirt in front of their house and the teenage girl who lived at the house yelled, “I think my dog is dying!” Her dog wasn’t dying, she was popping out puppies. She had no idea what to do with the puppy when it came out and she began attempting to bury it, but the small Daschund saved the day by running over and pulling the puppy over to the porch – the puppy was almost as big as she was. The Mom Chow had eight puppies that day of all different colors, golden brown to deep black. They lived directly in front of the tiny house my exboyfriend Gary lived at, so that’s how I even knew these people, but if you asked me their names I couldn’t remember. I only remember the animals. They also had a cat named Princess who loved my exboyfriend Gary and they let him keep Princess whom he renamed Shishu. Who would have known that a couple of years later, Gary would take off and leave for Colorado and we’d end up with Shishu and one of those puppies – the one Jeremy picked out – whom he immediately named Floyd.
That was back in 2000, nine years ago, when I’d just visit that weird, dusty town called Porterville, tucked in the Sierra Nevada mountains someplace between Fresno and Bakersfield, yet further east. I would never have even known that the town of Porterville existed if it wasn’t for Gary, whom I met on the Internet – not through one of those dating sites, but through a site where people talked about music. He was like a classic rock music guru and had been a drummer for rock bands for over 30 years, traveling all over the U.S. and Canada. Now he was just a washed-up guy living in Porterville, where he’d grown up. I didn’t know at first that he had beat a bad heroin addiction, which was good but it had played havoc on his health.
I loved Gary for some strange reason I couldn’t even figure out. He was so good to my daughter Megan, who loved him and laughed at all of his silly jokes. He didn’t have any money and lived off of Social Security disability, but he loved the music and wrote beautiful poetry.
As I almost tripped over Floyd-the-Dog this morning walking out the door, I remembered…