TIM WILDMON: About a woman, dogs and empty nests

By Tim Wildmon

When I was growing up we had a couple of dogs. One was mostly beagle with a little dachshund mixed in. We named him King Tut due to the fact that comedian Steve Martin had a song out by the same name at the time.
The other dog was a stray we took in we named Rosco – a Heinz 57, as they say. After a few days we discovered that Rosco was, in fact, a female. So we renamed her Roscette. Being an older dog, she mostly just hung around the house. But King Tut was young and energetic. After the family went to bed is when he would hit the town. He would come dragging up to the house about the time we were leaving for school looking exhausted. We suspected he had a lot of lady friends who also liked to party.
After I left home for college and then got married to my lovely and talented wife Alison, I forgot about dogs. Then we had three children so we never wanted a dog. With three kids who needed another creature to care for? Besides, you get emotionally attached to a dog then it gets hit by a car and dies, everybody cries for a month and then you have to talk to your kids about whether dogs go to heaven or not. Who needs that added stress to life, is the way we looked at it.
Then about 12 years ago we decided to give the idea of a family dog a try. We bought a Yorkshire Terrier from a lady in Louisville. Named him Max. Max was a cute dog. But Max yapped a lot, which is very annoying. Max also refused to control his bowels while inside the house. He had no conscience about this activity at all. Sometimes he would look us right in the face and do his business. Honestly. This didn’t work for us so after a month at our house we found a new home for Max in Prentiss County where he still lives today. It was best for all involved.
Fast forward nine years later and with two of our three kids off at college, our youngest, Walker, 16 at the time, talked us into getting a silver lab from Iowa. When I was a kid we got dogs from the Johnson’s down the street. Nowadays that is not good enough. It sounds better when you say you bought your dog on the Internet from another state and had in flown in. Which we did. Alison went and picked Russ up at the Memphis airport where she was joined by a farmer who was waiting in his overhauls for his pig which was flown in from Iowa as well, I suppose. That must have been one important pig.
Maybe this why the barbeque in Memphis is so fresh …
A couple of years came and went with Russ the lab. We all bonded with him, including me, which I said I was not going to do. But you can’t help it. Dogs just have that effect on people. Then Walker took Russ off to Mississippi State, and it hit Alison hard. No children to nurture at home and now Walker had taken Russ away. Empty nest and empty dog pen. It was a bad combination for someone used to taking care of people for 20 years. So,, one day while we were in Destin over Thanksgiving week, I got back to the condo from an afternoon golfing to find out Alison had ordered herself a dog. A Maltese. Which she found on the Internet. In Fort Lauderdale.
Much more on this canine to come…
Community columnist TIM WILDMON is a Lee County resident. He is president of the American Family Association, but the column represents his personal opinion unless otherwise noted. Contact him at twildmon@afa.net.