The Sad Saga of Squirrel & 2 Pups

2 Boys & Their Dogs: me & Squirrel on the right and MacNaughton & Bonham on the left

2 Boys & Their Dogs: me & Squirrel on the right and MacNaughton & Bonham on the left

Last time I wrote about my dog, Squirrel, I mentioned her 11-pup litter, 9 males, 2 females. That did making the pups away much easier, but when you’re in college and all your friends are, too, few of you are really responsible enough or have the resources to really take care of a puppy. So, one by one, I heard of the pups getting run over and killed or running away or given away.

Two of them had gone back to of my former roommates, Mike Bull and Mike MacNaughton. Bull named his pup Basil and Mac went for Bonham.

When Bonham was still a growing pup, he got hit by a car. He survived — at no small expense, costing Mac several hundred dollars —but broke his leg. The vet told Mac not to let Bonham run for 2 months, so with a spare bedroom open for awhile, Mac gave that room over to Bonham, spreading newspapers all across the floor to allow him to relieve himself as needed. And there went that pup’s house-breaking.

About this time, I moved back to Thistle with Squirrel as well. Bull had moved back to Waco with Basil.

One day, he was driving on a two-lane highway in his old “Blue Death Bug,” a VW beetle so old the back seat had worn down to the straw ticking barely covering springs—but who cares, right? I mean, who gets in the back seat of an old bug, anyway, right? So he’s tooling along down a two-lane highway outside of town, when he suddenly realizes an ash from a cigarette has blown into the back seat, and the straw ticking is now smoking and starting to catch on fire.

Pulling over quickly, Bull hopped out of the bug just as a truck pulled up behind him and a guy jumped up with a fire extinguisher — turned out he’s a fire extinguisher salesman, so he’s got a sample ready and quickly extinguishes the small fire.

Meanwhile, though, Basil wandered onto the road, and a car coming down the highway saw him, swerved to avoid him, hit the parked truck instead, bounced off that, hit Basil anyway, and careened across the road into a telephone pole. No one but Basil was hurt and, of the 3 cars, only the Blue Death Bug was still drivable, so the two other drivers urged him to take his dog to the vet immediately. Of course, it was too late to save the pup, and too late to backtrack to the scene of the accident. But ya gotta admit Basil left a path of destruction in his path when he went.

Back in Austin, we had to move out of Thistle. I moved in with a co-worker from the ice cream store, Jackie, and Mac moved further north. I could not keep Squirrel at Jackie’s, so she had to stay with friends a few blocks away. This meant she tended to roam back and forth between their place and the ice cream store, where she could often find me. Up there, she always had a grand time. As a completely black dog in a black-light ice ream parlor, she was basically invisible, appearing only as a blank spot moving across the day-glo spattered walls.

Sometimes, a crowd of sorority girls would come in, all bubbly and giggly. Squirrel would run to greet them, often with a cold nose to the crotch, startling them into shrieks of panic and/or pleasure as they tried to discover the source of the intrusion.

Then, one weekend, Squirrel disappeared. Last seen running after me on my bike as I rode away, she never returned to the place she was staying or the ice ream store, or even Jackie’s place. I guess I always kinda knew she’d eventually run away, or get hit, or picked up by someone else, but I’d never really considered it — till she was gone for good.

That same weekend, Bonham disappeared from Mac’s place across town, never to be seen again. I’d like to think that the two of them — mother and son — met up somewhere in the middle, and romped off reunited forever, entertaining other people and insinuating their way into someone’s else’s life and heart.

So long, Squirrel Tooth Alice, dog of my college days — we had us some fun, huh?


About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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