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Our first dog, Shopping for a goldfish, we bought a puppy

Updated on April 26, 2014

When Hubby and I married at Christmas 1972 I was not keen on owning a dog. In fact I was a little scared of dogs. My husband soon began to make plans for buying a dog and he wanted a German Shepherd or Alsatian dog. Now to someone who is frightened of dogs such a prospect is daunting.

The local Fair had been and gone for another year and we had acquired two goldfish.

Back then a win on a darts stall at the fair could see you carrying home a poor little goldfish in a small plastic bag filled with water. Many of these fish were then kept in small bowls until they quickly passed away.

We had won two fish and splashed out on a decent sized fish tank for them. With all the trimmings it had cost more than we could afford. Dennis and Fred had enjoyed a brief but seemingly happy coexistence for a few months and then Dennis quietly passed away.

Poor Fred would swim around looking more soulful than ever and so it was decided he needed a friend.

If you are wondering where our first dog comes into the story, well it is now.

Benny on the left may look cute but it was Drupi on the right who was a sweetheart. Their doggie body language says it all
Benny on the left may look cute but it was Drupi on the right who was a sweetheart. Their doggie body language says it all

In 1973 pet shops in England often had puppies for sale in their windows. These were a sad sight to see and one was left wondering just who might buy them. There were less regulations at that time.

As we arrived at our city centre pet shop, in January 1973, to purchase a new goldfish, a young woman was talking to the assistant. She was handing over a cute looking puppy. He was not a tiny puppy and it turned out he was around 12 weeks old.

This liver coloured cross Labrador was very cute. Of course, nowadays, I realise all puppies are very cute. His dark fur showed his pale pink lips and nose in all their glory. He had a gleaming white chest and huge feet.

As the assistant popped the dog into the window, the two women noticed our curiosity. I still am not quite sure how the following happened. He was taken back out of the window for us to inspect. He was affectionate and I thought he was so sweet and small rthat I could easily handle him.

I had not noticed his huge paws.

At the time money was in very short supply for us. The woman explained that this dog had been an unwanted and unexpected Christmas gift. With three small children to contend with he was proving hard work. She told us he was almost trained and he seemed very affectionate. She charged us the princely sum of £1.50 which included the collar and lead.

By the time we left the pet shop we had spent a small fortune on a basket, toys and food.

I carried him through the city centre and was stopped by passers by over and over again. Each person remarked how cute the dog was, gave him a pet, wished him well and smiled happily. I was amazed at the attention the dog brought. He trotted the last few streets home on his lead. He walked well and looked adorable.

We considered all the usual dog names and in the end settled for Drupi. This was as Hubby's favourite song at the time, Vadi Via, was sung by an Italian guy called Drupi. That name was a little bit odd. In some ways it proved prophetic. Drupi's mouth hung down at the sides. If he was looking at food or the like he would slobber much like Hooch in the film Turner and Hooch. The name Drupi though was a pain when you had to try and call him. It got a mixed response from passers by.

Drupi was partially trained and very clean. He still needed paper and a tray down at night though. I caught him one night stood with his feet in the tray as he pee-ed all over the floor. I could not scold him and had to laugh.

Drupi was one of those naturally healthy dogs. He was always a little lean but never ill. His one trip to the vet was after chewing a wasp or other stinging insect. With a huge lop sided mouth, that looked as if he had swallowed a football, we had to run to the vets. An antihistamine injection and all was well.

Drupi suffered a strange illness one day and could not raise his back legs. We were at a loss as to what was wrong and prepared to visit the vets. I nipped to the bathroom and saw that a full bar of Shield soap had been demolished. No wonder Droops felt ill. He did not usually destory things but that was set to change.

After owning him a year Hubby brought home a stray dog. This dog joined us all for ten years but chewed anything and everything. He tormented Drupi and wanted to be top dog. He was a bad influence I guess and eventually we had a pair of chewing dogs.

When he had gone Drupi got a new lease of life although he was about 11 by then, plus his behaviour reverted to exemplary. He went almost everywhere with me.

As he entered old age Drupi became a little deaf. He knew he was not allowed on the furniture but I guess he had always jumped clear before we entered our home. Now I would walk in to find Drupi curled up on the best armchair fast asleep. I would tickle his ears with my gloves and he would wake up looking as if to say "damn she's caught me again".

Drupi gave us love, affection, loyalty, protection, entertainment, exercise and so much more over the years.

After years of chasing upstairs after us he had a couple of falls. It had been impossible to stop him running up the stairs and he paid the price. He started to have strange turns when he could not stand up or would fall over. We could not let him suffer. He was almost 19 by then and a great age.

Once he began to look at us with pleading eyes the decision was made. The vet said that he doubted that Drupi would simply drift off but that we would sooner or later have to euthanize him.

It was very hard and broke my husband's heart. So much so that he vowed he could never go through that again. He had accompanied Drupi to the vets with his friend. Successive pets have had both of us stay with them until the end.

After around five years Hubby felt it was time to look for another dog. We took a cross Alsation adult dog from our local RSPCA. He was such a sweet dog, but that's another story.

The question in Hubpages forum asked for pictures but sadly I only have a few of Drupi. Cameras were not cheap in 1973. I have such wonderful memories though and he will always keep a special place in my heart.


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    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Hi Maria. Letting them go is the hardest part. You will know when it is the right time. Drupi was our only dog to live so long. They have all been special in their own ways though :)

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Ethel, 19 years hope my Peso will reach that age of even older, he is 11 years old and still not showing signs of oldness in spite of his 6 perineal hernia surgeries.... I am afraid to see that day when I will need to bring my dog to vet because he needed to sleep forever but can I really see it in my dog's eyes if it is time... wish our dogs can stay with us as long as we live and just die as the same day as us....

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Habee :) From one dog lover to another

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Wonderful story! Drupi was awesome, as is your hub!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Steve , Jen and Lily thanks for the visit. We all seem to be easily moved by our four legged friends :)

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Beautiful! Thank you for sharing the life of your companion.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Drupi, what a great name for a great dog! Beautiful story to read, ethel.

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Ahhhhh, so sweet. I get a little choked up thinking about Drupi. Nothing so loved, and so missed. My son's dog is 14 and she is showing signs of deterioration. I am holding my breath and my heart is breaking, she is so damned wonderful and has been his constant companion for many years....shucks!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all. It was bittersweet writing this Hub

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thanks for share your experience. That's become a good memory. Very beautiful story.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      19 years! How wonderful to have a pet for so long. Drupi sounds just great, and I love the name. Must say I haven't heard of the singer though.

      Ethel, I went to pay for a fish tank and came home with Sassie. The fish tank has now been sold and Sassie is nearly 4 years old. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story.

    • profile image

      trevor 7 years ago

      You are right Ethel losing Drupi did break my heart,and i still think of him.

    • equinelover909 profile image

      equinelover909 7 years ago

      beautiful story! thanks for the great read.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      That was a lovely story. Thank you, ethel, for sharing. I never knew that dogs could or would get that old.

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 7 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up & beautiful! This was a true tribute to a life time friend. So long Drupi...