LESLIE CRISS: Dog formerly known as Socrates gets new name, new home

Leslie Criss“He had the appeal of a very young dog of a very large breed – a kind of amiable absurdity.”
Dorothy L. Sayers

“Puppies are constantly inventing new ways to be bad. It’s fascinating. You come into a room they’ve been in and see pieces of debris and try to figure out what you had that was made from wicker or what had been stuffed with fluff.”
Julie Klam

When my father proclaimed recently he was ready, I quickly commenced my search for a new dog for Dad.

In the spring, he’d lost Max, the golden retriever my sister and I had given our parents on their 50th wedding anniversary nearly a decade ago.

I wondered if he’d want another dog. But now that Mom’s gone – and Max – I’m sure Dad gets lonesome.

The first thing we did was visit the shelter in Corinth, where I saw lots of dogs I’d have adopted if I were independently wealthy and had lots of land. Nothing seemed to interest Dad.

Back at his house he confessed he really wanted another golden. It’s the breed he and my mother had and loved for the past two decades, and he, by golly, wanted another.

I looked online for breeders and was shocked to learn golden retriever pups can cost up to $3,000. I asked around and decided to help Dad fill out the paperwork to possibly adopt a rescued golden. And I asked the local shelter folks to let me know if a golden showed up.

Two weeks ago I learned a golden-looking pup had been picked up and taken to the Tupelo-Lee Humane Shelter.

I visited the dog, fell in love, sent Dad photos and hoped the fact the pup’s pedigree might never be proven would not pose a problem.

“He looks like a golden,” Dad said when he met the pup on Aug. 7. Enough like a golden for my father to be happy. “Do you want to come live with me?” He asked the puppy twice before looking at me and saying, “I think I’ll adopt him.”

The puppy formerly known as Socrates was neutered two days later. I took him to his new home in Corinth late that afternoon.

My dad, a fervent believer in one syllable names for dogs, renamed his new friend. He’s now called Jake, a name he’s starting to recognize.

My trio of canines – Thom, George and Sally – spent last weekend getting acquainted with Jake.

My boys were tolerant, but not overly friendly.

Sally was clearly smitten, and no one could blame her.

Jake’s a handsome and healthy 5-week-old puppy. He looks like a golden retriever, and if he’s got other breeds’ blood in him, well, we’ll never know.

Besides, it matters not one whit. Not even to my golden retriever-loving dad.

He’s smart and sweet and good company for Dad.


He’s a keeper.


Click video to hear audio