“Rescuing a dog or cat from your local animal shelter is the loving thing to do. I’d suggest going there first.”

Simon on one of our trips

“How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail.
How much is that doggie in the window?

I do hope that doggie’s for sale.”

As a child, the song, “(How Much is That) Doggie in the Window” by Patti Page was one of my favorites. Never did I imagine the simplistic tune would someday hit close to home.

When my wife developed Lymphoma cancer in 2005, one thing she wanted most was a dog of her own. We already had a Pekingese named Carly, yet Carly took to me more than her. Checking with local animal shelters, no Pekingese were available. That was the breed Joleen explicitly wanted.

On a trip to Arizona in 2008, we stopped by a large shopping mall in Las Vegas. Inside the sprawling metropolis was a pet store. A large storefront window showcased a golden-haired Pekingese, and a brown Dachshund. Both were young puppies. We watched with laughter, as the Peke bossed his wiener-dog-pal around by yanking on it’s tail, and pulling him backwards around the enclosure. For Joleen, it was love at first sight.

A Visa credit card enabled Simon to fly home with us to Alaska. Simon is the name my wife immediately began calling him. That’s because Carly Simon is one of her favorite singers. A stuffed warthog toy, ‘Hedgy’, came along free of charge. Pet store employees said that Hedgy was Simon’s favorite play thing. Carly and Simon became our two ‘fur babies’ as pet owners like to say.

One of the first things asked by a friend upon our return was,

“Is Simon a rescue dog?”

“Yes, he’s a rescue dog.”, I informed them. “We rescued him from The Boulevard Mall in Vegas!”

Since that time, Joleen and Simon have been inseparable. He’s been with her during numerous chemo-treatment-sessions and throughout her remission.

Joleen and Simon

Carly and Simon flew places with us, including driving back and forth to Arizona and Alaska multiple times.

When Carly passed away in 2014, Simon was heart broken. We have a large photo of her on our fireplace and Simon visits it quite often. He recognizes the image.

One of his favorite activities is going for a ride in our car or truck. He’ll sit on Joleen’s lap and at each stoplight, tap on the window with a paw, asking her to let the window down. It doesn’t matter what the outside temperature is.

When we venture on long trips Simon looks forward to each evening when we stop for the night. A new motel or hotel room is a place to sniff and investigate what other animals left behind. Not once has he elected to ‘mark his turf’ on a dresser or wall. He prefers to do that outside, sometimes getting up at one o’clock in the morning to do so. I make sure to carry a flashlight in my pocket for those impromptu potty breaks.

We’ve trained him to drink water from a baby syringe which helps keep vital organs hydrated on long journeys. A special diet made up of of dry nuggets, mixed with hamburger & rice is generally brought along in a cooler. He has a special place in back of our car complete with soft comforter to snooze on.

This past year Simon started moving slower due to arthritis in both rear legs. We make sure to not let him jump from furniture and also avoid steps and stairs. Simon gets carried around much more these days in our arms. The special attention will hopefully keep him with us longer.

A good friend once told me that he’ll never own a pet, because there’ll always come a day when they pass. Joleen and I know this all too well. Before Carly and Simon came into our lives, we basically thought the same.

Yes, there will come a time when Simon leaves us. I pray each day that this event stays light years away.

When Joleen and I saw Simon in that mall there was no way we could leave him behind. I truly believe we would’ve maxed out a credit card to accomplish such. Thankfully we didn’t have to.

It’s been many wonderful years now and I can’t think of a time when we regretted our decision, although on some of those 1:00 a.m. bathroom breaks I did question my sanity.

Rescuing a dog or cat from your local animal shelter is the loving thing to do. I’d suggest going there first.

I’m sure if Simon could speak, he’d thank us greatly on saving him from that Las Vegas pet store window, 12 years ago.

Most likely, should we ever bump into the Dachshund wiener dog, and he too could speak, the tube-shaped pooch would say to us,

“Danke schoen!”

Those two words mean thank you very much in German.

I’m sure this little fellow was more than happy to see Simon and his sidekick ‘Hedgy’ leave the building!

‘Hedgy’ Hedgehog

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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