We went to the dog pound and bought a miniature dachshund named Mitzy. We treated her like a child and took her with us to MacDonald’s and bought her a cheeseburger! I ordinarily would not feed our dogs people food but she was our baby. She got the best dog food, the kind that looked like hamburger and cheese and comes in plastic see through bags, toys, and sweaters. We knew a man in Elwood that bred all sorts of dogs so we paid him to breed her with another full blooded Dachshund. We missed her for the full week that he kept her and went to visit her and check on the progress. We couldn’t wait for the puppies to be born.
When she was about 3 weeks away from her due date she started acting funny. She would eat cloth and swallow it. We’d find it in her stools. We had a courtyard outside of the basement apartment. We’d let her outside and she would bark when she wanted in. One night I was having an especially hard day for some reason I can’t recall. It seemed like she was going outside every five minutes to go to the bathroom and just basically getting on my last nerve. I finally yelled at her and said, “O.K., I’ll let you out!” I got up and let her out. I continued to do whatever I was doing, watching TV when I heard a knock at the door. It was a neighbor who said, “Do you own a little Dachshund? I think your dog just got hit by a car on Tenth Street!”
I said, “Oh, no, it can’t be my dog, my dog is in the bedroom sleeping.” there was a box in the bedroom when you couldn’t find her right away that was where you would find her. So I called, “Mitzy! Come here!” When she didn’t come right away I started to panic. I ran to the bedroom and couldn’t believe she wasn’t there. I hadn’t remembered I had let her outside! She had never left the courtyard before. I ran up to Tenth Street and there was my little dog lying in the middle of the street with cars going around her, some going over her! I ran out into the street and tried to stop traffic. I was hysterical and crying a man stopped and picked her up giving her to me. I begged him to tell me she was still alive, just a broken leg or something a veterinarian could fix, but no he assured me she was indeed dead. I wrapped her in a blanket and found an old pet carrier in the wash room under the car port. I had the Volkswagen and Jenny and I drove to A&P to tell Charlie. I had depended on Charlie to fix everything but he couldn’t fix this. I was still crying and I could hardly talk when I ran down the store aisle to tell him. He was mopping the floor and knew instantly that something bad had happened. I tried to tell him the best that I could, it was like I had lost a child. He was able to get off work and come home to console us. Jenny was three years old and both of us were crying and trying to deal with the reality of the situation. He couldn’t believe it either. He knew she was acting strangely too. It was like she was trying to commit suicide. Had she been in so much pain all this time? Instead of trying to tell me she wanted out, maybe she was trying to tell me she was in pain. The thought that the last thing I did was yelling at her for bothering me so much made the pain that much harder to bear. I called a pet cemetery the next day to meet with them about the burial. They would charge us 50.00 for a little Styrofoam casket but we decided to bury her in the pet carrier instead. We had her buried in a plot there with a cement slab over it with her name on it and the date she died, June 22nd, 1976.
It was a long time before we got over the shock of losing Mitzy. I started looking in the paper for another dachshund to try to make the pain go away. There was an ad in the St Joseph Newspaper that said, “Miniature Dachshund puppies for sale, 35.00 each.” Memories flashed of the car rides, with her standing on the back seat and her front paws resting on the back of the front bucket seats. Macdonald’s and trips to Mama’s house. Her little sweater, toys, and the still uneaten plastic bags of dog food, were still sitting in the cabinet in the kitchen. I knew I had to have one of those puppies! We turned to Charlie’s sister, Della, for help. We told her the sad tale of the little red Dachshund we had loved so much like a child that we had buried in the cemetery east of town. The puppies were located at a trailer park at Lake Contrary. The puppies were so alive and frisky, so adorable! I picked a small red male and decided he looked like a little brown peanut. That was the name I gave him, Peanuts.
I was itching to get back to the country, back to my roots. Charles’ Mom and Dad lived in Denton, Ks. across from a cattle feeder lot. The smell was unbearable in the summer. We started looking for a country house and found one being renovated on highway 20, just four miles southwest of Denton.
We had to wait until the renovations were finished and were told we could move in the spring in 1977. When they were done it was the cutest little house! It had new indoor and outdoor carpeting in the kitchen, green, and my favorite color! It had new wooden cabinets in the large kitchen. It had a small bedroom off the kitchen to the west side which was Jennie’s room. The carpet in the living room was new and green too. On the west side of the living room was another small bedroom but adequate enough for a small bed.
There was a floor furnace and a large grate on the living room floor. We had to be careful to go around it in the winter time as it would be hot. We bought Propane from Davies’s Oil Company whenever it was needed. The house was insulated so well you could hardly hear any noise outside. We had been given a Red Irish Setter from a breeder in Severance Kansas. Charles always wanted a German shepherd. The German shepherd was bought by a man named Rush who said the pups were part coyote. The mother was purebred German shepherd. She had mostly black with brown markings here and there. The German shepherd had to be leashed to the dog house in the yard, she wouldn’t stay home. The farmer that lived down the hill west of our house complained he didn’t want the dogs on his property. To keep the peace we kept her chained. We named her Lady. The Irish setter was named Penny. Penny and Peanut ran free. For some reason they were best friends and wouldn’t have anything to do with Lady. Penny and Peanuts ran and played constantly.
In 1976 after Mitzy died, a month later in July we went on vacation to Branson, Missouri. We had traded the little Volkswagen for a motorcycle and the motorcycle for a Chevy Impala 1967. The front end had been aligned so many times it could not be aligned again. It had a lot of play in the steering wheel, no power steering. You had to turn the wheel halfway around just to make the slightest turn.
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