We researched book after book about different dogs. Finally, we agreed on the breed and found a breeder in a nearby town. Mr. King explained that he had a litter of puppies that were three weeks old and that they wouldn't be ready for another three weeks.
When we went to the kennel, Mr. King opened the gate and five little puppies came frolicking out, four went to Mr. King and one came running and stumbling towards us. He lunged towards Cole and Drew knocking them down giving them puppy dog kisses. It was a magical moment and the hunt was over. HE CHOSE US. He was a beautiful, fawn colored "Boxer". He had four white tipped paws and a white star on his chest. We didn't even look at the other four little puppies.
That was the beginning of all the new adventures of this little puppy and his new family.
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The Quests of Bruno
By MeMe Craycraft, Dwain Esper
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 MeMe Craycraft
All rights reserved.
We Want a Puppy
It seems most families have and enjoy pets. Ours was no exception. Every day the boys, six and three, where tugging at my heart strings saying they would do anything we asked if we would only let them have a puppy. You see, we had just lost our beloved Cocker Spaniel Bristle Face. We were all missing the click of little paws, the cold nose and the constant nudging hoping that we would want to play ball with him.
Brissy was my companion before my husband and I married in 1970. Everywhere I went Brissy would tag along. My "Brissy" got his name from a Disney TV Series which ran in the 60's, and was adapted from the book "Bristle Face" written in 1939 by Zachary Ball.
When I was expecting our first child the family insisted that we would have to find Brissy a new home. They voiced their concern about having a six-year old dog, that was so attached to me, around a newborn. However, that was not an option that was comfortable for me.
To their horror, before the grandparents got to hold our newborn, I sat down in my rocker with the baby and called Brissy to my side. I took off Cole's booties and Brissy smelled and licked his little feet. Next Brissy sniffed Cole's little hand, looked up at me and wagged his little stub of a tail. At that moment I knew that Brissy had accepted this child into our home. I put Cole in his bassinet and Brissy immediately went under the skirt of the bassinet. This way when visitors came to visit he could sniff and wag his tail of approval or give them a little growl.
Three years later Cole's little brother Drew arrived and the family again was voicing their concern. But this companion of ours had so much love in his big heart that he became the playmate of both boys.
Brissy and the boys learned to share everything. He would sit between the boys and help them eat their ice cream cones right down to the end of the soggy cone. He would eat the creamy white filling of an Oreo Cookie leaving them with the soggy brown cookie. When this happened the boys would come running to me crying "Brissy ate the best part" and I would always reply, "why did you let him do it?"
The boys would get tired and would fall asleep wherever they could find Brissy, using him as a pillow. Even at thirteen Brissy never complained about this arrangement as he was truly a loving companion.
As Brissy aged it became difficult for him to climb the stairs in our home. Many times Cole would just pick him up and carry him up the stairs. It was hard for us to watch him as he would struggle to keep up with all of us. One day in May, 1978 at the age of fourteen we lost this beloved member of our family to "Doggie Heaven".
We all missed him so much, but I knew that we just weren't ready for another puppy. A family meeting was called and we all agreed, Brissy would let us know when it was time for a new puppy adventure.
That August as we were driving home from the county fair we heard screams from the back seat of the car. Both boys were screaming at the same time, "Mommy it's time, Brissy is letting us know". I looked in the direction of their pointing fingers and I could not believe what I was seeing. I looked up and in the clouds, I saw the most beautiful silhouette of a Cocker Spaniel's head. What could we say? "Doggie Heaven" had just given us a sign. My husband looked at me with a puzzled look and said, "Go to the library and check out a few books about dogs. Then we will pick one that will be a 'Perfect Pet' for our family".CHAPTER 2
The Hunt Begins
After reading many books and looking at several breeds we, as a family, finally agreed on the puppy that we needed to complete our family circle. Why not another dog? After all, we had hamsters, gerbils, fish and two parakeets. I drew the line when it came to snakes and those little white mice. No way were they coming in my home. We made a few calls and found a breeder in a neighboring county. He explained that it would be a few weeks before we could go meet the puppies as they were just three weeks old.
Finally, we had an appointment to meet with the breeder. We were so excited we could hardly breathe. It took forever to get to that farm. Every few seconds the boys would ask, "are we there yet". When we arrived at our destination it was the most magical moment ever.
We met with Mr. King the breeder and he took us all to the kennel. We could hear the puppies yelping as we got closer to their pens. Mr. King opened the door and let the puppies out. We didn't even get a chance to look at all the puppies. HE CHOSE US. He was all over us. His bobbed tail was wagging and his eyes were so big and bright. He jumped on the boys knocking them down. Next they were showered with slobbery puppy dog kisses and the hunt was all over. It was love at first site for the boys and puppy. I, myself, was even captivated with this little ball of energy.
Mr. King said that was the quickest sale of a puppy that he had ever encountered. We went to his office, promised that we would love and care for this puppy, signed on the dotted line, wrote him a check and the family became the owner of a six-week old puppy.
My husband just stood there with his hands in his pockets and a smile on his face. The smile meant that he was happy the boys and I were having so much fun. The hands in his pockets meant that he was not going to embrace this puppy, at least not yet.
The ride home was very exciting. The puppy would not leave the boys alone and the boys would not leave the puppy alone. Puppy was snipping, scratching, sniffing and kissing on the boys all the time. The boys were constantly arguing over who was going to hold the puppy. I was trying to maintain order, but, it was a long ride home.CHAPTER 3
Meeting the Extended Family
Before we went home we stopped at the grandparents so the boys could introduce them to the new addition of our family. We went through their garage into the basement. The concrete floor was so smooth and slick that the puppy was slipping and sliding all over the place. The boys thinking it was funny, began chasing the puppy and then they were slipping and sliding. Everyone was laughing and having so much fun.
My mother was enjoying watching the puppy and boys, but before we even knew what had happened the puppy was chasing her. Mother went this way and then she went that way, finally she sat down holding her feet up off the floor. We were all laughing so hard that we had tears in our eyes. You see, he had spotted her pink fuzzy slippers and he wanted to play.
My father tried to be attentive but all my father could do was look at the puppy's feet. Finally, he said to me, "Have you looked closely at those feet?"
Panic stricken, I began looking at the feet. I was sure something was wrong, my father would never have used that tone if there wasn't something wrong with the feet. As I saw no imperfections I finally asked my father what he meant. This time laughing out loud he said, "You do know that he has to grow into those feet don't you?" We explained that his mother's feet weren't big. My father smiled, patted my shoulder, and said; "Time will tell about the feet".
Next we stopped by to see my husband's mother. As the boys had nicknamed her CeeCee they were calling for her to come quickly and look at the new addition to our family. CeeCee did not see anything at all exciting or cute about this little puppy. She explained that she emphatically did not like big dogs. Again we tried to tell her that this puppy was not going to be a big dog. She tried to be excited about this puppy for her grandsons, but it just wasn't going to happen. You could tell that she absolutely did not like big dogs and she; like my father could see that this puppy was not going to be small.
Before I go any further with this story, I need to let you know what kind of breed this puppy was. He was a beautiful, fawn colored "Boxer". He had four white tipped paws and a white chest. Yes, a Boxer, a nice family pet. Now you understand why my father was concerned; this 'Perfect Pet' was going to be big.
We had to come up with a name for the newest member of our family and it took days. We wanted his name to reflect the magnificent character that he would display, after all he was a hunting dog and was used to pursue bears and deer. Since the origin of a boxer was in Germany and he liked to use his front paws like a boxer to play, we registered him as "Bruno von Schmidt".CHAPTER 4
First Visit to the Animal Clinic
In the 70's it was common to dock the tails and crop the ears of boxer puppies. However, today some people disagree with this procedure and in some countries it is illegal. When we got Bruno his tail had been docked, but the ears had not been cropped.
We scheduled an appointment with Dr. George, a local veterinarian, for the procedure and we were to be at the clinic at 8:00 AM on a Monday morning. I dropped the boys off at school and they both hugged the puppy and told him that everything was going to be just fine. As they closed the door I could see the tears in their eyes and I began crying, actually sobbing uncontrollably.
I pulled into the clinic parking lot and the puppy panicked. Even at this young age he knew that he didn't want anything to do with that place and he wanted to go home. He shook and shivered and dug his sharp puppy toenails into my body and arms. The fear of the unknown was in his eyes. He sensed that something bad was going to happen.
It didn't get any better. You see I did not have him on a leash and he got away from me. He darted under a table. He knocked everything off the table breaking the lamp and scattering magazines all over the floor. Cats were hissing and dogs were barking. I truly did not know what to do. Finally, one of the staff members came to help me and this actually made things worse. This pup darted by both of us and made a running jump into the arms of an elderly gentleman who was sitting in the waiting room. I was horrified. The gentleman, in a soft voice whispered something in Bruno's ears that calmed him down. I couldn't believe it. Dr. George took the pup out of the man's arms and ask me to follow. Dr. George was frowning and I thought for sure that he was going to ask me and the puppy to leave the premises. However, he just laughed and said that was the most excitement that they had had in that place for a long time.
Once we were in the examination room he explained the procedure in detail and that it would require the puppy to stay overnight. I had not been told about the overnight stay and I almost changed my mind. However, I gave the puppy a kiss on the head and left.
The clinic called me at three in the afternoon and told me that the surgery was over and that everything went as scheduled. They invited us to come by the clinic to see our puppy at 7:00 PM. I had not prepared the family for the overnight stay so this was going to work out in my favor. When everyone got home I explained that Bruno was staying overnight and that we were going to the clinic to see our puppy before calling it a night.
When we arrived at the clinic the boys reacted just like Bruno! They didn't like the place either. They sniffed and whispered "mommy, this place stinks". Then Cole looked at me with tears running down his cheeks and said "how could you"? Drew looked at me with piercing eyes and didn't say a word.
The nurse came and escorted us to the recovery area. When I saw the puppy I knew that I had just earned "The Most Terrible Mother" of the year award. His ears were taped with white tape and he had a big white cone around his neck. The cone prevented him from digging at his ears and he looked so pitiful. I looked at the boys and knew that coming to the clinic had been a big mistake. I began crying and explaining that I was so, so sorry.
The next day I brought Bruno home and within a week we had all forgotten about the clinic.CHAPTER 5
Winter and Spring
It was now winter and everything was predictable. Take puppy out, bring puppy in; puddle here, puddle there, just a typical day training a puppy. This endeavor was not a family affair. I was the one to feed, water, walk, bathe and clean up his messes. I always had pooper scooper duty. Our home was becoming a "dog house".
Bruno loved the snow and the cold winter nights. We always let him out around eleven o'clock at night so that he could do some sniffing and running as the children in the neighborhood were all snuggled in their beds. However, the neighbors across the street would do the same thing with their big German Shepherd named Jill. These two dogs had a blast. They would run and play just like a couple of kids.
One particular evening comes to mind. Snow was on the ground, heavy icicles where hanging from the downspouts, and there was a full moon. My husband and I were watching the eleven o'clock news when we heard a loud noise. He said there goes the downspouts. I went out on the porch to check, everything looked fine to me. I went back in the house, turned around to close the door and then I saw it.
We had just replaced our old paint chipped, bent and battered storm door with a new one not more than two months before. It was a white cross buck storm door. I thought that it added curb appeal to our home. Not anymore! Paw prints don't lie. Bruno and Jill had gone through the cross buck panel. It was so damaged that there was no fixing. Next door was break resistant glass and we still have the same door to this day.
Finally, spring was here and we could take Bruno out to play. You notice that I didn't say puppy anymore. He looked so clumsy, he had grown a lot, but the legs and feet still didn't fit the body. How much more would he grow? The only consolation that I had was the boys and all their friends seemed to enjoy him.
This was the end of our docile domain, let the games begin. Bruno was no longer a puppy, he had become a monster and he was untrainable.
If you opened the front door; Bruno came from nowhere and he was gone. We would chase him for hours trying to get him back in the house. He became so big, so fast that the boys and I could not catch him. If you went for a walk, he would pull and tug you everywhere you didn't want to go.
It became a nightmare. ...CHAPTER 6
I was told Bruno and the family could learn a lot if we would take him to a "Dog Obedience" class. The Parks and Recreation was conducting a six week course at the park and we registered for the class.
Mrs. Martin a neighbor of ours was the instructor. We explained to her that we wanted this to be a family affair so that we all could learn to train Bruno the same way. As the boys were seven and four, Mrs. Martin explained to us that this could not be a family affair as it would be too confusing for Bruno. She said that we had to choose one person to train Bruno. My husband and two sons decided unanimously that I was the best choice.
I was told to purchase a choker collar and a short lead leash. Bruno hated the choker collar. He was use to his halter that allowed him to wiggle and squirm all he wanted. He twisted, turned and jumped trying to get that collar off. With practice, I finally was able to have a little control. However, he sat when he was to heel, laid down when he was to sit and stayed when he was to come. He did nothing right and soon I would lose control. Bruno and I were always disrupting the class. We were never going to get this right.
By the fourth week things was getting a little better. He knew when I tugged on the collar that I meant business. He was starting to understand the commands of sit, stay, heel and come. I thought, maybe, this class was working after all.
Every week after class I would go over the new instructions with the boys and my husband. They really tried but Bruno was just getting to big and too strong for the boys to handle and my husband would just throw up his hands in defeat, because Bruno just would not obey.
Finally, it was the last night of the class. To receive a Certification of Obedience we had to perform the commands that we had learned in class. First, we were told to sit our dogs and instruct them to stay. No problem. Second, we were told to have our dogs lie down. No problem. Third, we were to remove the lead and walk away. No problem. Fourth, we were to turn around and face our dogs. Big mistake. When I turned, Bruno and I made eye contact and it was all over. He darted towards me along with three other dogs. Mass confusion, dogs barking and owners screaming. I was the last person to get control of my dog.
I knew that everyone wanted us to just leave. Even the fancy poodle with pink ribbons in her hair wanted us out of that class. However, we persevered, and finished the class, but we didn't get that Certificate of Obedience, we FAILED.
As we were driving home I rubbed Bruno's ears and explained that it had been a great adventure and that I loved him just the way he was. After all, he was a boy's dog. What would this family do with a snooty poodle?
If was as though he understood everything I said. He laid his head on my lap and let out a sigh of relief.
Excerpted from The Quests of Bruno by MeMe Craycraft, Dwain Esper. Copyright © 2016 MeMe Craycraft. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Contents1 We Want a Puppy, 1,
2 The Hunt Begins, 5,
3 Meeting the Extended Family, 7,
4 First Visit to the Animal Clinic, 11,
5 Winter and Spring, 15,
6 Dog Obedience, 17,
7 Baseball Season, 21,
8 Fish Eater, 25,
9 Mr. Brown, 29,
10 Doggie Dreams, 33,
11 Tobacco Chewing, 35,
12 Bath Time, 39,
13 Iceberg in February, 41,
14 Lemon Pie, 45,
15 Scaredy-Cat, 47,
16 Bessie, 51,
17 County Hospital, 53,
18 Family Night, 55,
19 Separation Anxiety, 57,
20 Epilogue, 61,