default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

We badly wanted a dog, but Trusty wasn’t quite what we had in mind

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 12:00 am

Just about every kid wants a dog. I know I did. But for years, my mother wouldn’t allow it. Her excuse was the mobility of Dad’s military career. Mom finally relented when I was 10, and we moved to Long Beach during the summer of 1955.

Of course, this whole pet idea was to be on a trial basis. First of all, Mom was not going to spring for any puppy mill pedigree. We were simply going to the local pound and pick out a homeless hound.

Her approval was under the condition that my sisters and I would take full responsibility for care and feeding of our new family friend. We quickly agreed, but as with most children, our oral contract with Mom left plenty of long-term loopholes.

I remember at the shelter viewing the cages. Most of the dogs looked sad, lonely and rejected. They seemed to know their fate had been sealed on a dark and odiferous death row. But there was one canine that stood out from the crowd.

He was a curly blonde, adult cocker spaniel. The dog seemed out of place among the multi-colored, Heinz 57 breeds. His stubby tail wagged as he licked my sister’s hand. It was if we had been sent by a divine force to arrange his rescue.

On the way home, the cocker spaniel was nervous. He paced back and forth across the back seat of our yellow and white ’55 Dodge sedan. His clumsiness left a claw impression of four dots on the pleats of the pastel green door panel.

We named the dog “Trusty” after a popular Disney cartoon character at the time. But he hardly fit the image of a faithful companion.

Mom tried to give him access to our house, but the 1-year-old just couldn’t get the idea that his “business” belonged outside. Mom’s Chinese rugs took quite a beating.

For exercise, she would tie him to a thin rope attached to an outside water faucet. Probably not the smartest move because every time he chased after something, we could hear the water pipe bang inside the wall. (They must have had good lead solder on copper pipes on those days.)

He was a playful pup and liked to chase tennis balls, but Trusty was never a dog anyone could see as a “best” friend. He had no loyalties and treated everyone the same — friend or foe. If let go, he would take off and not return without an extensive search. He couldn’t be trained to do much of anything. We later figured this was why such a beautiful breed had wound up in the city pound.

Because of these issues, my sisters and I lost interest. Feeding him did not become a pleasure but a chore. My siblings and I argued over who would get stuck with the job on a given night. Other custodial activities also became undesirable. Mom often became the single-handed backup crew. This obviously gave her negative feelings toward any future ventures involving family pets.

In June 1957, Dad had his orders, and it was time to move across the country. Trusty was once again, in the back seat heading for that dreary place where we first found him. Mom assured us that someone would adopt the dog — just as we had done. However, her credibility was in doubt. We figured it was the end of the line for our blonde beauty. Strangely, my two sisters and I had mixed feelings. On one hand, it was a relief to be rid of a dog that failed to meet expectations. On the other hand, Trusty didn’t have a mean bone in his body and probably deserved a better ending than what we were about to provide.

On the way home, I noticed the claw marks on the door panel that had been imprinted there two years earlier. I shed a few tears, but didn’t know why. I suppose it had something to do with the acceptance and unconditional love our pets always seem to provide. Somehow, despite all his faults, Trusty had still done his job.

Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Recent Comments

Posted 1 hour ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

I would like to thank Brian Dockter for his kind gift to me of "A Conservative's Guide to Posting on the Internet" by B.S. Slosch…


Posted 1 hour ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

Conservatism is a mental illness.


Posted 1 hour ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

John Kinseth, can you please explain to me why conservatives hate America?


Posted 1 hour ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

Will Rainwater, as William van Amber Fields dear old dad used to say, I feel your hate.


Posted 1 hour ago by Kevin Paglia.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

Yes, because we all know Liberal leadership NEVER does anything wrong. They are the pinnacles of human evolution and far above reproach. …



Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists