August 3, 2009

Pet Stories – Garbo Part 1

By Jim Graham

As I said in last month’s newspaper, my wife Eloise and I usually had big or medium-sized dogs after we were married. The first change to that was when we added a smaller dog. She was a Beagle. One of my sister’s was living in Texas and got a puppy. She named her Garbo after the famous actress.

I don’t remember why, but my sister moved back to Kansas and stayed for a while in our parent’s home. Then she went to Alaska where they were building the oil pipeline. She couldn’t take her dog with her, so she left Garbo with Mom and Dad. (It kind of reminds me our children and pets.)

On one of our summer trips back to Kansas to visit our parents, our son, James, then six years old, saw Garbo. He fell in love with her, and she with him. They ran and played with each other running all over the small yard. He was six years old. It was obvious that we needed to take her home with us to Michigan, where we had two acres in which to run around.

James loved this dog. He grew up with her. She was a small Beagle, but was a giant in her mind. One of our friends lived across the street from us and had a German Shepard named Susie. At first, she would tolerate Garbo. Then one day, Garbo ran over there to be with James as he played with Chris, the neighbor boy and owner of Susie. Susie didn’t like it and attacked Garbo. We brought her home from the vets with more than 100 stitches in her.

Thus began the feud of the two dogs. Our neighbor was very good about keeping Susie at home. We lived out in the country without leash laws. Pets were allowed out and to roam. However, in this case we had to keep these two dogs separated. Our neighbor and we set up a time schedule for when our respective dogs would be out.

Garbo would bark and taunt Susie if I were right there beside her to protect her. She thought she was a big dog and could take Susie on. She’d run towards Susie yipping, then look back to me to see if I was still there. She’d be closer to Susie than to me. Within in three years, She had been sewn up three or four more times. Each time 25 to 50 more stitches than the time before.

During this time, Susie had had pups. The father was definitely a black lab. James wanted a big dog, so he got one of the pups and named it Beasley. (Another story). All of the pups had been taken except for one little female that they called Carley. She had not been played with too much as a tiny pup and was on the mean side.

One day, Carley and Susie saw Garbo out in our yard and ran over, Carley in the lead, and each grabbed a hind leg, then ran in opposite directions. They were trying to rip her apart. When I saw what was going on I ran over and hit these dogs with a tree limb to get them off. Garbo was ripped open. I was afraid she wouldn’t live. I took her to the vet and he couldn’t believe she was still alive.

The vet told us he wasn’t sure he could get the skin sewn back together. We told him to try. He had to cut away a lot of ripped skin to get to healthy skin that he could stitch through. We had spent so much money on Garbo in the past that we couldn’t let her die if he could save her. He had to shave all of her hair off to work on her and when the hair was gone you could see all of the scars she had. In addition to all of those scars, you could she where she had been shot with a 22 rifle. (Another story) Garbo lived. She walked a little stiffer after that but still loved to run and play.

Information about Beagles.
Country of Origin: England; Life Span: 15 years; Height: 13-16 inches; Weight: 26-33 pounds; Energy: Energetic; Intelligence: Genius; Friendliness: Affectionate; Playfulness: Very Playful; Disposition: Calm; Watch Dog: Very High; Indoor Activity: Very High; Guard Dog: Too Small; Medium Learning Rate: Stubborn; High Activity: Very High; Obedience: Moderate; Problem Solving: Very High.

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