This is Sparky:
He was my very first dog. My family bought him from a pet shop in a mall in Baltimore in the early 80s. (Sigh. What we didn’t know back then.)
My parents somehow deciphered that when my younger sister, who was probably around 4 at the time, said she didn’t want a dog that “got old,” what she really meant was she didn’t want a dog that got big.
So we bought a bichon.
Sparky was a good dog, though neurotic and quirky. (Nearly 30 years later, I realize that he was probably a puppy mill dog, which explains a LOT.) He was allergic to grass. He was so picky about his food – he wouldn’t touch any people food other than jelly beans and refused to even taste anything other than one specific type of kibble. He chased airplanes. We didn’t have a fence, but Sparky never left our yard or our sides. He didn’t want to; he hated going on walks. My dad insisted on taking him periodically, though. Once, on a hike with my dad and my brother, he ran off. Six days later, our babysitter spotted him napping under a tree two towns over and brought him home, and he never even tried to explore past our yard after that.
Every single day, when my dad came home from work, Sparky ran two laps around the house then met him in the garage. When my dad sat in his chair reading the morning paper, Sparky would jump up and into the paper, startling my dad but getting his attention.
Sparky moved with us from Baltimore to Williamsport, PA, and from Williamsport to Indianapolis. That’s a lot of change for a little guy, but he handled it beautifully. Through those years, Sparky was my best friend. He let me use him as a pillow, and during the rough junior high years, he listened to and kept all of my secrets.
I learned a lot from him, and he was such a sweet boy – despite all of his neuroses. Sparky inspired my love of dogs from day one.
Tell us about your first dog! What was he or she like? What kind of dog? What was his or her name?