I was a bit suspicious when the dog breeder wanted to meet me in a dark alley.  She “sort-of” had papers on the puppy, but offered to make me a deal since she couldn’t find them. She also had pocket watches for sale.

Okay, so it was an Alco parking lot instead of a dark alley, but when the dirty little red truck pulled up with trash heaped in the back, I should have driven away. Fifteen minutes later and a coin toss between the kids to see which dog they picked, we loaded up a dirty little “sort-of” Shih Tzu. Alexander named her “Amber.”

But “Muttsy” fit her better. She was as far-removed from a frou-frou Shih Tzu as Mike Tyson is from being a gentleman.  She had a variety of names: Mountain Mutts. Mutterbutts.  Usually, though, I called her the Dumblittledog – all one word.

She was the toughest little dog I ever met.  I caught her smoking cigars and shooting craps more than once and wouldn’t be surprised if she held up a few banks. She was a Bonnie looking for a Clyde and could talk her big “sister”, a Golden Retriever named Sadie, into various sorts of unlawful activity.

Muttsy was convinced that if our bathroom was sufficient for us, it was perfectly fine for her, too. Often, after spending hours outside, she would ask to come inside so she could go to the bathroom.  She never once apologized or expressed a hint of remorse.  That’s where the “Dumblittledog name started as I would walk into the bathroom and exclaim, “ You Dumb Little Dog.”  She always pointed her paw at Sadie.

Another favored activity was to rub her butt on my pillow.  She never apologized for that either.  They say that dogs and their masters are often very similar. I am a bit disturbed if this is true.

In my 52 years, I’ve only loved one other dog as much- an old lab named Chauncey.  As of last Saturday, Muttsy joined Chauncey in that wherever place that animals go that are too good for this world.

I had no idea I would miss that Dumblittledog so much. Here’s what she taught me:

  1. Never pass up a chance to have a good time– Muttsy was a good time on four legs.  Car rides, mountain hikes, and finding dead things to roll around in were times of high excitement for her.
  2. Be different– Most dogs, while watching T.V., will bark or growl at other dogs on the screen. But Muttsy hated horses. I couldn’t watch a western with her in the room. Her disparaging remarks about the equine species were prolific.
  3. Even your best friends make a mess in places you wish they wouldn’t – As irritated as I got at her daily deposits, I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to keep cleaning them up because, well, that meant she would be here.
  4. Snuggling makes the world a better place– Muttsy loved to snuggle, especially with my wife, Christine.  Muttsy frequently booked travel for me just so she could take my place in bed.
  5. God made dogs to show us unconditional love – I believe a dog’s love is the purest demonstration of God’s love we will ever know.  I am always amazed at how quickly a dog will forgive. Cats, not so much. I had a cat that once held a grudge against me for six years.

Billy Graham was once asked if we will see our animals in heaven and he replied, “If they are necessary for our happiness, then they will be there.”

Muttsy is necessary for my happiness.  So is Chauncey.

So long, Mutts.  Introduce yourself to Chauncey. He’ll take care of you.

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