During my childhood I had an awesome dog that was likely a combination of a yellow Lab and Golden Retriever. My dad named him Blanco (which means “white” in Spanish) because Blanco had a white-ish coat when he was a puppy. Never mind that Blanco’s coat ended up turning to a nice golden shade (nothing near white) shortly after puppyhood, but that’s okay. If you had asked my mom what the dog’s name was, she’d tell you “Damn Dog!” anyway.
Anyway, Blanco was totally untrained and a complete goober and I loved him more than anything. I even loved his black spots on his tongue (my dad always said he ate a Sharpie marker) down to the large growth dangling from one of his eyes that my dad wouldn’t pay to have removed. (Side note: the attached picture is of Blanco’s good side; the other eye has the extra appendage.)
Make no mistake about it, Blanco may have been sweet, but he was a total moron. He stole my underwear from my laundry basket and ate them. He ate bricks and rocks and shrubs in the backyard. He gnawed on our leather couches like they were rawhide bones. But the strangest thing of all was his weird affliction for ice cubes. He came running from the other side of the house when he heard us getting ice so he could eat a piece. However, every time he ate an ice cube, he violently vomited. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Most dogs would pick up on this fact and would stop eating ice cubes. Not Blanco. When one of us would accidentally drop an ice cube, the whole street could probably hear us screaming, “QUICK, PICK UP THE ICE CUBE BEFORE BLANCO GETS IT!!!!”
My parents did not share the same love for Blanco as I did. My mom still refers to him as “Damn Dog!” twenty five years later. I don’t blame her, as I have vivid memories of her trying to get Blanco inside from the backyard so he didn’t wake the neighbors with his incessant barking. My mom chased him with a rolled up newspaper (while in her robe) trying to get him inside, but he thought she was hilarious. Instead of coming inside, he ran in circles in the backyard barking at her. That royally pissed my mom off.
My dad constantly threatened that if Blanco did “one more thing” that we would have to get rid of him. I begged and pleaded with my dad because I loved that goofy patio furniture-eating dog, even if he did eat my underwear. He was such a good pal, regardless of what he ate. I even wished I could be a dog as a young kid so I could just stay home with him all day and play.
We ended up keeping Blanco despite everything he ate and/or damaged. I think my parents secretly loved him despite his “Damn Dog!” nickname. When I left for college, Blanco even slept in my parents’ room in the chair next to my mom’s side of the bed. I think he was kissing up to my mom for all of the previous years of torture.
When I got the call in college that my parents had to put Blanco down, I was crushed. That dog was with me from my young elementary years through college. He had been by my side through it all, good and bad. I knew that when I got older and had kids, I wanted to get another “Damn Dog!” so my kids could experience the same kind of love.
So, after much begging and pleading with my husband, we added Murphy (“Damn Dog II”) to our already-insane household. When we brought Murphy home in March, he was an 8 week old fluffy Golden Retriever puppy. Now that he’s almost 7 months old, I have had some time to reflect on some of the similarities of the two dogs.
In the last 5 months, Murphy’s ruined two pairs of flip flops, eaten multiple wooden train track pieces (and trains), gnawed on two couch pillows, somehow eaten a hole in our kitchen wall (the logistics of that one are still baffling to me), punctured a hole in another wall in our house, chewed on baseboards, and eaten a sizable corner off of our large area rug. I don’t even want to count how many Lego pieces he’s probably consumed. He also steals clean socks from the laundry pile and digs holes in the backyard.
What is most baffling, however, is that he has the same love for ice that Blanco did. The bonus is that he doesn’t projectile vomit after eating them.
I can also see how much the kids love him which makes it all worthwhile. They try to dress him up like Darth Vader and throw tennis balls for him and encourage him to chase the cat. When Murphy’s scared while I’m vacuuming, he jumps up on the couch to snuggle with the kids. It’s exactly the same kind of love that I remember sharing with Blanco when I was a kid.
(A picture of Blanco taken from his good side. The other eye has the large growth.)
As I stared at the hole in the kitchen wall today, I regretted getting a puppy for a split second. Then I swear Murphy walked by and winked at me. WTH?!?!? I’ve never seen a dog wink before, but this was definitely a wink. A sign from Blanco perhaps?
Either way, we’re keeping this “Damn Dog!” no matter what, even if I am losing my mind.