Let me start off by saying my family has always had dogs, always loved dogs and this is a story about a dog that had a short life, but made a big impact on me. It was the first lesson on what “death” meant and the feelings associated with it, or understanding it all at the age of 10 years old. This is a story about Boots.
Boots was born in our basement in Grand Blanc, Michigan. He was in a litter of about 5-6 puppies. These pups were a cross between a Terrier and Boston Bull dog. So when they were born, within just a few days (and as barbaric as sounds today), my Dad and my older brother “cropped” or bobbed their tails…with a butcher knife. OUCH.
We eventually gave all the pups away except for Boots. Boots ended up being a medium sized black dog with white markings, somewhat similar to a Boston Terrier. I’m not exactly sure, but I think Boots was somewhere around 6 months to a year old when the incident happened. Back in the mid-1960’s kids ran around all over our neighborhood, even the little kids. And so when we were out in the neighborhood playing, Boots would just follow us, although he had an affinity for following my baby brother David more than anyone.
On the day of the incident, David and Boots were walking on the side of Hill Road, admittedly one of the more busy roads in our neighborhood. At some point, and as best as we can ascertain, Boots strayed away from the shoulder and onto Hill Road. The driver ran over Boots and kept on driving. David, who was only 6 years old at the time ran home and told Mom that Boots had been run over. Honestly I don’t remember who went and got Boots and brought him home, but when I saw him, he was lying in the driveway with his tongue hanging out and a puddle of blood. He died right there.
We all cried. I went to pieces…I assume because I was a little older than my younger brothers. I remember screaming and crying and then locking my self in the bathroom. Mom was talking through the door and said we would get another dog. I can remember telling Mom that I didn’t want another dog, I wanted BOOTS BACK. My heart, all our hearts were broken. That’s when Mom wrote this letter to the editor that you see here. I went years without seeing this clipping because it was tucked away in a family bible, but I always remembered the first line of her letter, “I just put three broken-hearted boys to bed”…
I don’t remember how much time had passed, but it wasn’t real long. One of Boot’s litter mates was given to some friends that lived in another neighborhood close to ours. They had heard what happened to Boots, and also their dog had also been ran over by a car, however he survived with only a broken leg. They decided to give him back to us. Rusty came to our home with a cast on his leg and became our dog from then on…and Rusty lived many years (and sired many, MANY pups in Blytheville) till we had to put him down due to old age.