Tales of Hoffman

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As you know Chad and I adopted a puppy from a shelter. Having grown up in Arizona, Chad had dogs throughout his life. I did not. Correction, we had dogs but  they would mysteriously disappear in the night as if abducted by an evil dog collector. I recall one particular time when my father brought home a beagle we appropriately named Snoopy. Being a hound, he howled most of that evening. I heard his wining even all the way upstairs in my room, three floors above. The next morning when I woke up, I raced downstairs to see my new pet and low and behold, Snoopy was gone. I was five.

When I was seven a neighbor’s dog had a litter of a mixed breed of puppies. I begged my mother and reluctantly she gave him. My sisters and I picked out the smallest pup and named her Fifi. This time I tried my best to keep Fifi’s wining down to a minimum, but it wasn’t her barking that annoyed my mother. It was something else far worse – incontinence. Fifi couldn’t negotiate the whole wee wee pad thing. She peed on the floor. She peed on the couch and then finally, she did the worst thing of all; she peed on my mother’s wall to wall orange shag rug (It was the 70’s).

The next morning my mother took Fifi to “the vet”. When she returned I asked her how Fifi did. “Very good,” she replied and then she said she left Fifi outside on the front porch. When I went to congratulate her, I was unable to find my dog. Fifi was gone. Devastated, I decided to control my emotions, and so I rallied all the children on my block to help me find Fifi. Hours later, after combing the entire neighborhood, we were unable to locate her. As the sun set, I realized my worst nightmare was becoming a reality and Fifi was not coming back. How could my mother leave such a young puppy alone without being tethered to a lease? For years I harbored deep resentment toward my mother. Many, many years later, when my sisters and I became adults, we recounted these stories of our previous pets to whomever dared to ask, “Did you guys ever have a dog when you were kids?” Then without a second, I would tell my story of woe and how my mother lost my Fifi.

Then one year when I was thirty,  my mother, without any provocation declared that she did not lose Fifi. But in fact it was a calculated plan. She never took her to the vet. In reality she went to a nearby park and tied Fifi to a bench with a sign that said, “Adopt me.” You can imagine how her elegy infuriated me. Even my sisters agreed that my mother’s heart was as black as onyx and as pungent as sulfuric acid. How could anyone steal away her child’s puppy and abandon it, alone in some park, just waiting for it to be abducted by some psychopath?

I never forgave my mother.

Of course we laugh about it now, but whenever we sit around the dining room table, and I tell this story to guests who have not heard it (And I tell this story A LOT!), I look over at my mother. As she laughs with tears running down her eyes, I can’t help but wonder who this woman is that could have done such a thing.

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Now don’t get me wrong. I love my mother. And this was not the only pet we had that suffered a mysterious disappearance. My pet rabbit Fluffy was later found skinned in a pot of water in the basement and later served as chicken that evening. My sister’s rooster, George, met with a similar ending (I must say I didn’t really care about his early morning crowing anyway). Needless to say, we never had any other pets, dog, cat or rooster, again.

My mother met Hoffman this weekend. Her voice, like anyone else who meets a cute animal, rose ten octaves as she pet him. But as I sat there quietly watching her, I wasn’t taken in for one second by my sweet old mother who disposed of my Fifi when I was seven. Right then and there I promised Hoffman that he would never stay at grandma’s house unattended as long as I lived and all appointments with vets would be handled exclusively by me.

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2 Comments

  1. Stephen
    Posted July 26, 2009 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Never Let Hoffman out of your site around her! I was raised with 7 dogs. They are family… Cheers on the new baby 🙂

  2. Larry Flick
    Posted July 28, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh my gosh, your Mom sounds like both of my parents. They were horrible with our pets. I think that’s why I lavish my cats with love and treats. It’s like I’m trying to pay off a karmic debt that my parents ran up!

    Hoffman is absolutely gorgeous. He looks EXACTLY like the kind of pooch I pictured you having, too. He’s a lucky pup to have you and Chad as his parents. Enjoy this cute baby time. Before you know it, his little poopies will turn into the big logs that Robert Plant once sung about! Hehehe…


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