This past Friday we lost Verne.
I was never a dog person but our family growing up had a menagerie of dogs. We lost dogs in a myriad of ways. We never kept a dog for more than a few weeks, much less a few months. They were just never was part of our family.
Several years ago we had a dog join our already growing dog family. We had added Breesy and then Drew. It was something my wife always wanted and was something we felt would be good for our family. Our dogs are classy. Breesy came from a flea market and Drew was given to us.
One of our boys moved close to us and was moving into an apartment complex that didn’t allow dogs and we adopted LaVerne. As in Laverne and Shirley. She was a twin at one time, but Shirley passed away many years ago.
I wasn’t happy about Verne joining our family.
For those dog lovers out there, I’m crying as I write this. No lie.
I wasn’t sure about Verne when we first got her. She was a surprise and she was an outside dog. She had killed chickens, snakes, ducks, and many other forms of life. She jumped in ponds and raced around acres of land. Now she was going to be in a yard that was small and didn’t have the wildlife to amuse her.
We moved passed that and one cold night we allowed Verne to come inside and sleep during the night. After that, she moved into sleeping in the bedroom and enjoying not only heat, but also air conditioning.
My wife, Deborah, and Jeremy still laugh about the time I crawled into Verne’s dog house to replace the light bulb for warmth for her by crawling inside her doghouse instead of taking the top off. Man, it stunk.
I think Verne laughed too. By the way, I’m still crying.
This dog meant more to me than anyone will know. She was a Grand-Dog. She wasn’t going to fit in and it was going to be a tough transition from wide open spaces to a lot inside a city.
Verne excelled and everyone fell in love with her.
She didn’t like people jumping in the pool, she thought they were drowning. She actually pulled one of our nieces out of the pool by the hair when she dove in one time. Verne wanted everyone to be safe. She had a great heart.
She also loved Alabama and New Orleans Saints games because she liked treats when they scored touchdowns. She got a lot when Alabama played, maybe not so much when the Saints played. I say she loved it. I think she did.
She saw Alabama win the National Championship a few weeks ago and got the treats to match. She also had to endure the Saints losing, but she still got treats. I was cooking several things this past weekend and she was watching me. She loved watching me cook because she knew I would give her something during the process. It was our little secret.
From killing chickens, to getting pork and steak. From not wanting her to bringing her inside and making her an inside dog until not knowing what we will do without her, I’m not sure how to process everything.
How a dog that you didn’t want got into your heart and has you crying as you write about her is something.
Verne enjoyed her last days with us and will be a part of our life for forever.
God, I loved that dog.
If you’re not crying, you’re missing the party. Go love your pets.
I can’t use my usual line at the end of my column.
Dee McLelland is the Publisher of the Coastal Courier and Bryan County News.