My Life as a Dog: John R Cooper

John Cooper

Foreword

This is a story of fiction, although the characters and most of the events are based on personalities and happenings that I have known.

In my personal life I do not follow any particular religious doctrine or creed, but try to live my life adopting the good things from most religions and beliefs.

This story comes from my imagination, it is not an attempt to promote the theory of reincarnation.

Which is described in Wikipedia as:

“Rebirth or transmigration, is the philosophical or religious concept that the non-physical essence of a living being begins a new life in a different physical form or body after biological death”.

I trust that the Reader enjoys ‘My Life as a Dog’.  

 

Dedicated To Samson

 

My Life as a Dog

I was in a nice place, not too hot, not too cold. It wasn’t dark, and it wasn’t really bright, it was very comfortable. There was no loud noise, just a sort of soft music, but it wasn’t music it was something else. I had no body like I had previously known, just a spirit, that was me.

There was no pain, I knew that there had been pain, but now, it was all serene.

Around me there were other spirits, I sensed that I knew them, they were familiar, but I did not know how I knew them. These spirits gave me a sense of comfort and ease.

In the beginning I had memories of my past life. Over a period, the memories faded completely. After a while I would get flashbacks with no memory of names, personalities or places. There were boys who grew into men, and then those men with children. There were two little girls who remained little girls. Others who I knew were close to me, but as time passed, they were just faded images.

I sensed that I could leave this nice place and go on a new adventure at any time; however, something told me to wait.

And so, I waited, it must have been about eighteen months, as humans measure time, and then I knew I had to go and leave the nice place.

Then, there I was, wet, but warm. There was a rough tongue licking me all over, rolling me around. Although I could not see, because my eyes were closed and I could not open them. I sensed that there were others like me there as well.

After a little while I found this little nipple thing that was warm and moist. Instinct made me put my mouth on the nipple and suck. A nice warm liquid came, and so I drank until I could drink no more.

For the next twelve days I slept, found the nipple and drank, rolled around with the other warm little bodies that were there with me. Occasionally I would feel the rough tongue licking me.

And then my eyes opened and I could see my birth mother, and found that I had four sisters. One by one, my sisters’ eyes opened and we all rolled and crawled around having a great time. Our birth mother was there with her nipples with plenty of milk to feed us as we got hungry.

There was a big lady who would come several times a day to make sure we were all ok and bring our mother food to eat. After a few weeks the big lady started to bring my sisters and I food as well. At this time our mother started to leave us on our own for longer and longer periods, but she was always there when it got dark to keep us warm.

After a while my sisters and I were drinking less and less from our mother and eating more and more of the food brought by the big lady.

One day, instead of the food the big lady brought a cardboard box and put my sisters and I into it. It was too tall for any of us to jump out of, so we had to stay there. We all looked for our birth mother but she was not there. The big lady put the box with the five of us in it on to the back seat of her car and we went for a long drive. We were all wondering where our birth mother was, but as we had each other it was alright.

When the car stopped the big lady picked up the box and carried it into a large shop, which I later found out was a Pet Store. She spoke to a man there and they took us to the back of the store where I could hear all sorts of strange noises and smells.

The five of us were put into a cage with newspaper on the floor and some small soft toys. It was all very strange. I could see that the cage on one side of us had six puppies all a little bit larger that my sisters and I, and of a different colour. Some of them were asleep, some were whimpering, and one was playing with his soft toy.

In a cage on the other side there were kittens. I soon learnt that cats and dogs do not communicate together very well. At times the pups next to us were very noise and did a lot of yelping.

From time-to-time different people came and looked at the pups and kittens. Some of them had small children with them. The children would poke their fingers through the wires of our cage and we would lick their fingers. The children would giggle and occasionally over the next few days I would hear them say, “Mum, I want this one”.

Over the days three of my sisters were taken one at a time from the cage, and they never came back.

There were only the two of us left. A boy and his mother came and were looking at the puppy cages when he looked at me and said, “Mum I would like that little fellow”.

His mum looked at me and replied, “No son, we won’t have that one, he is a boy dog. Boy dogs piddle everywhere. You can have his sister if you like her”. And so, my last sister was taken from the cage and I was on my own.

I thought about what the lady had said about boy dogs piddling everywhere, so I thought, “I must remember that”. From then on, I only piddled on the newspaper in the corner of the cage.

Over the next couple of days, a number of people came past my cage and looked at me, but nobody picked me up. It was so lonely without my sisters.

Then one afternoon a lady and man came and looked at me. It was then I had one of those flashbacks that I had had in the nice place, but I could not remember. This couple were different, older that those who came with children, and the lady seemed to be sad. When she saw me, a big smile came over her face. She picked me up and held me near her face, which I licked and licked, and the lady laughed and laughed. So I licked some more.

I got the impression from the man’s look that the lady had not laughed like that for a long time.

After a while the man said, “Look Vic, he is a very nice little fellow, let’s go home and think about it overnight, and then we will decide in the morning”.

I was put back in the cage to be by myself for another dark night. I went to sleep that night wondering if I might ever see the lady who laughed again.

The next morning the shop man came and cleaned my cage and put food in the bowl and fresh water for me to drink. I was getting used to the noise in the store, puppies yelping, kittens crying, all sorts of birds chirping, whistling and calling out.

After eating some of the food from my bowl I was about to have a little sleep when all of a sudden, they were there. The man and the lady who laughed. Both smiling.

The lady picked me up and took me to the shop man at the counter and said, “We’ll have this fellow”. The man paid the shop man some money and we left the pet store. 

The lady carried me and when she got into their car, she sat me on her lap. I jumped up and licked her face and the lady laughed again.

It was then that I realised that I had a new mum and dad, and I was so happy that I thought my tail might fall off with all its wagging.

When the car got going my new dad said, “I suppose we should go and introduce our new boy to Lynda”.

“OK”, said my new mum, “Let’s do that”.

We drove for a little while, then stopped in the driveway of a house. Dad got out of the car, as did mum who was carrying me. They walked to the front door where there was a tall thin lady waiting.

“What have you got there, Mother?” Asked the tall lady who I later found to be my new mum’s daughter, Lynda.

Mum said, “This is our new boy, here hold him while I go to the toilet”.

Lynda held me close to her chest, and there was another of those momentary flashbacks. I tried to reach up and lick her face, but she would not let me. I could tell Lynda liked me, and I could also tell that licking her face was not going to happen.

My new dad said to Lynda, “Your mum has been grieving over the loss of Phillip for the past eighteen months, let’s hope that this little fellow cheers her up and gives her something new to love”.

When he said the name Phillip I thought, “I know the name Phillip from back before I was at the nice place, but now I have no memory of anything before that time”.

My mum came back from the toilet and after a short visit we were all back in the car heading for what I was about to find would be my home for the next fourteen years.

After my mum had carried me up the steps and into the unit, she put a small collar around my neck. The collar had a string tied to it; the other end was attached to a table leg. On the floor near the table leg newspaper was spread on the floor. There was a plastic tray or box with a section cut of the front with newspaper lining the bottom of it.

My mum put me on the floor, I wanted her to pick me up again because I liked being near her. I pulled against the string to get nearer my mum but I could not get away from the table leg.

After a little while and with all the excitement of the morning I reckoned it was time to have a piddle. I started to squat when my mum picked me up and put me in the box. It was then I remembered what the lady with the small boy had said about boy doge piddling everywhere. So, I piddled in the box and my mum was very pleased and said what a good boy I was. 

From that time on whenever I was inside and wanted to have a piddle I would go to the box; I soon learnt to use the box for number twos as well. Whenever mum or dad would see me using the box, they would tell me what a good boy I was. However, when I was outside it was a different matter, I was allowed to piddle and number two on the grass and that was OK.

My mum asked dad, “What are we going to call this fellow?”

My dad said, “He is so small, let’s give him a big name. What about Samson, he was very strong man and a warrior in the bible?”

And that is how I became known as Samson, but most often I was called Sam.

It was not too long before I was not tied to the table leg and could rum around the unit, following mum where ever she went and sitting on her lap when she was watching TV. Mun put a small bell on my collar so that she could hear me coming and so that she did not step on me.

I would sometimes sit on my dad’s lap and each night when the news came on the TV, he would give me a special treat. I soon realised that when particular music came from the TV that it was time for my treat, so I would sit at his feet and look up and give a bark to remind him that it was time. This happened every night when dad was at home for over 14 years.

There was always plenty to eat with a bowl of little biscuits in a corner of the kitchen next to my water bowl. At dinner time I would be given another bowl with a special dinner in it.

At the back of the unit there was a verandah which was very high off the ground. Dad put some bird wire along it so that I could no fall over, as I was so small, I could fit through the bars. Very often people would walk along the walking track with their dogs. When I saw them, I would bark and tell them to go away, which they all did.

Sometimes we would go for a ride in the car, I would either sit on mum’s lap, or on the floor at her feet. I liked the car rides. One morning when I went into the kitchen the biscuits were not there and shortly after we went in the car. After a little while we came to a big building and as soon as we got there, I could smell other dog smells and even cats.

 I soon learnt that this was the Vet’s place. I did not like it. My mum carried me inside and handed me to a young lady who assured mum and dad that I would be all right and to come back later that afternoon.

The young lady took me into a small room and put me on a table where she clipped some hair of one of my front legs. Then the Vet came in and stuck a needle in my leg where the hair had been clipped, and that’s all I remember until later that day when I woke up in a small cage. I cried because I wanted my mum. Eventually the young lady came and took me from the cage and back to the small room where my mum and dad were. I was so happy to see them even though I was a bit sore at my back end.

Over the years I was taken to the Vet on a number of occasions, either to have a needle or the have my toe nails clipped. I did not like the Vet. The first time he cut my toe nails I bit him, after that he would always put a muzzle on me so as to prevent me biting him.

The Vet’s name was Gavin, and we had a love hate relationship, he loved me and I hated him. Whenever we were in the car and turned that corner, I would start to shake and cry, I did not want to go to the Vet.

When Gavin put the muzzle on me, I had to get my own back at him, I would piddle all over his table and sometimes I would even piddle on Gavin.

The only time my mum really raised her voice to me was one day I found a paper tissue on the floor, and I had a great time tearing it up into little pieces, there was tissue all over the place. Although I had a great time doing this my mum was not happy, so I learnt that I was not to destroy anything again. 

When I was very small my mum gave me a soft toy in the shape of a brown cow. I had ‘Brown Cow’ all my life and would often take it to bed with me at night, and it was always packed with my things whenever I went on holidays.

Over the years mum and dad would go for a holiday. Sometimes they would take me with them. These were good times as we often visit mum’s sister and she had a little white dog named Blossom. Blossom and I were good friends and I enjoyed visiting her. 

We might then go to see Butch; he was one of mum and dad’s sons, I would sometimes get a flashback when I saw Butch, but had no memory of where I might have known him from. Butch lived on a property where there were chickens, that I would sometimes chase, although they did not want to play with me. There were rabbits, who I thought were a bit stupid, so I did not bother with them, and there were kangaroos, these were too big and fast for me to play with.

There were other times when mum and dad would go on holidays and they would take me to Lynda’s to stay. Although I did not want to be away from mum and dad I did enjoy going to Lynda’s.

The first time I went to her then little house, there was this fellow Dean who was there as well. Dean would throw a ball for me to chase. At dinner time I would pretend to not want to eat my dinner, so Dean would get down on the floor on his hands and knees and act as if he was going to eat it before me. I would run to the bowl and eat it all up, it was a good game.

Lynda and Dean moved to a bigger house where she had guinea pigs. One of her favourites was sometimes allowed inside and one day it got into my bed, I was not impressed.

There were also two chickens who were no fun at all, I think like the one’s at Butch’s they were also a bit stupid. 

When I was starting to get old Lynda got a pup called Bindi. Now this pup wanted to play all the time, and although she was much bigger than myself, I had to show her who was boss. So, I would snap and snarl at her till she understood that I would only play when it suited me.

Each day and very often, three times a day mum would take me for a walk around the village where we lived down to the walking track which I really liked because there were always new smells to sniff out. And there were lots and lot of grass, bushes and trees to piddle on.

If I met any of those dogs that I used to bark at from the balcony, I might bark at them just to let them know who was the boss, the bigger the dog, the louder I barked. I did become good friends with some of those dogs on the walking track. 

In the beginning mum would have me on a lead, but as I got older, she very often would let me just run in front of her. At the start I was flat out keeping up with her, but after a couple of years mum slowed down and then she got a mobility scooter, which she called her ‘gofer’.

I would be put in a basket at the front of the gofer and off we would go. When we got down to the walking track near the lake mum would lift me down and the I could do my own thing. As I got older mum would let me sit on her lap while she drove the gofer, it was great fun.

In the village I had a lot of friends, both dog and human. There was Robyn and her dog Jas. I really liked Robyn and when I got the opportunity, I would take off without mum and go and visit Robyn. I would jump up on her lap and then lick her face. She would get so excited. However, Jas was a bit standoffish.

Charlie was also a little white dog who lived with Barbara, if ever we were both off the leash and we saw each other we would run and play together and have a great time.

Just down the road lived a big Golden Retriever named Sally who lived with Fran, Sally was very overweight and was a slow walker. She and I were friends but did not play very much. Every afternoon after mum had taken me for my walk, instead of going home I would run down to the back of Fran’s unit where the back door would always be open, and in I would go. Fran would usually be in the kitchen and I would wait till she gave me a treat and then off I would go.

Sometimes I would then visit Ian and Ros who did not have a dog, but they would let me in and I would have a look around. Ian would always talk to me and rub my neck and behind my ears. That was good. 

Then in later years Snoopy and Winston arrived. Snoopy was a black boy dog whose dad Jim always had him on a lead. He was very well behaved and friendly, a nice fellow.

Winston was only a little Jack Russell pup who was very active and barked a lot. He wanted to play all the time but by the time he arrived I was too old to be playing with a young pup, so I had to growl and let him know who was the boss.

One day I was coming home from Fran’s when I smelt something that was most delicious, the odor was coming from an upstairs unit. Up I went and the stairs and found the front door open, so I went in. Iris was there in the kitchen cutting up a liver. Now of all the food I ever ate, liver would have to be my favourite. I sat and looked up and smiled at Iris, she knew what I was after so she gave me a piece of liver, oh, it was so good.

I had a lot of good friends in the village. 

I always liked it when visitors came, I think because most of them made a fuss over me. Sometimes when visitors were leaving, I would grab on to their pants or skirts and try and get them to stay.

It was great when mum and dad’s great grandchildren came around. There were so many that I can’t remember all of their names. They would all play with me by throwing a ball, carrying me around, or just stroking my neck and ears. They were good times.

As the years went by, when I was fourteen years old and I had many aches and pains. My back leg joints often pop out and that really hurt, I had always had problems with my throat, in particular larynx which sometimes make it hard to breath. Gavin even operated on it, but it did not make a lot of difference. 

I have heard it said that fourteen dog years is equal to ninety-eight human years, so I reckoned that I don’t have long to live.

On the 1st November, I was not feeling well and just stayed in my bed, I did not want to go for a walk, so mum didn’t make me. I noticed that mum was a bit sad and heard her mention to dad that it was sixteen years to the day since Phillip had died. At the sound of that name again, something stirred in me I don’t know what it was.

I did not eat any dinner, unusually, I had no appetite.

That evening dad was dressed in his white shirt and black bow tie, he was going to his lodge, whatever that is, I don’t know, but he often went. He kissed mum goodbye and said ‘hooroo’ to me, and said that he would not be late.

While dad was away my breathing was labouring and my joints hurt. Mum was sitting in here lounge chair, she had not gone to bed as she normally did, but had me on her lap.

When dad came home, he was surprised that mum was still up and how ill I had become. Dad decided to phone the emergency vet, which he did. Now although it was now 11.00 pm the vet told him to bring me right in.

As we drove towards the vet’s surgery my mum held me on her lap and was stroking my neck and rubbing my ears. I knew that mum and dad were both sad because they both had tears running down their cheeks. But I felt at peace, I had had a great life and appreciated every minute of it. Then I just went to sleep.

In no time at all I was back in that nice place, just like it was before, no body, just a spirit.

Again, there were other spirits there which gave me a feeling of comfort. I knew that I could again leave at any time and go on another adventure, but again some instinct told me to stay.

I stayed in the nice place for the next six months, and then all of a sudden there was a new spirit near me. It was my mum.

I was so happy to find her there and I know that she was pleased to be there with me. Because she now had no pain and she was at peace.

Although I could not remember everything that I had experienced in my life as a dog, it was all fading, just as it did before I became a dog. I knew that the spirit near me was my mum and that she might go off on a new adventure of her own, she didn’t, but communicated to me that she was going to stay and wait for dad to come and join her and me in this nice place.


1 comment :

  1. I love this, My life as a Dog 👏👏 well written John Cooper.

    ReplyDelete

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