A Dog of a Tale
It was 1966. My older brother SO wanted a dog! He had been researching breeds, planning how he’d take care of a puppy, and talking to my Dad about a pen that would be able to accommodate it. So one Saturday morning, when my brother had arranged to pick up the new pup—a Westie (I think, but I’m not sure)—my father and I (I was about 14) got all of our tools and materials together, carried everything out to the side of our house next to the porch, and started to build a proper pen. (Actually, my Dad did all of it; I was just along for the ride). We worked for about 4 hours, and voila—there it was—a brand new pen suitable for a new addition to our family! My brother returned with his new charge around noon, proud as could be. We all met the pup, and my brother set him down so he could acquaint himself with his new digs. But things didn’t go exactly as planned. Right off the bat, he ran over to the new flowers my brother had planted the day before and dug them up. My brother scooped him up, disapprovingly, and brought him in the porch. Next, he relieved himself on the porch rug. That didn’t go over well either. My brother was becoming increasingly exasperated and put the pup in the kitchen, whereupon he vomited all over my brothers new shoes that he had placed there until he could take them up to his bedroom. By now, my brother was beside himself, and my parents and I—well, we couldn’t help but be amused by the radical turn of events—were trying not to laugh but were dying with laughter inside. My brother tried to collect himself, scooped the pup up, and put him in his Buick Riviera. They pulled out of the driveway—it turned out, to return the pup to the breeder—and that was the last of my brother’s forays into puppy ownership. But at least I had learned how to build a pen.