My father loved bulldogs. I’m not sure where this love came from, perhaps one of my siblings can enlighten me, but it has influenced me. I won’t say no to any dog, I love them all, but I have a particular affinity to the sad flat-nosed breeds known for all the horrible health issues. One of my most loved dogs was a pug.
I love bulldogs, Boston terriers, boxers, Frenchies, bugs, and pugs. I feel horrible for their genetic defects due to inbreeding, but those same defects are why I love them. My father was no different. He especially loved bulldogs. Through the years, he’d express that love to both me, my mother, and various siblings, in-laws, and children or grandchildren. He wanted a bull-dog. There were two times he got one. The first was Lucky Dog, the second time I’ll talk about it at the end.
In my early teens, about a year or so after One Gallon, dad got a bulldog. This dog was the saddest, most pathetic looking creature I’d ever seen. I don’t remember where dad got him from, but dad was sure happy to have him. The dog was old. Very old. And very arthritic. He’d likely been abused and neglected. He didn’t like coming in the house all that much, though he would on cooler nights.
Dad got him in early spring. He appeared at the house one day with him, much to my mother’s chagrin. The dog was amiable, if not somewhat goofy looking. He would continuously pant, even when it was cool, and drooled even more than he panted. The defining feature of the dog was his enormous head. It looked much more prominent on his skinny, emaciated body. He was also kind of tall for a bulldog. He was not pureblood, and honestly, I think he might have been mixed with a bit of a boxer.
He was a golden color, sort of yellowish, another bizarre trait on a bulldog. But his head was all bulldog. Large, flat-nosed, dim-witted eyes that you can’t help but love. He had a reasonably sweet temperament, even though he walked with an arthritic gait and had been injured a few times, for which the reasons why would soon become evident.
We didn’t have him long before it became apparent why he was in the state he was. He would chase and bite tires. Any care that came into or out of the yard, he’d pursue and try to bite. At the time, our front yard was just one giant driveway. We had grass when I was younger, you can see it in a lot of the photos of my dad that I’ve already shared with these articles, but when I was eight or nine, we pulled up all the sod. And, yeah. For about eight years or so, it was just dirt, and my father (and when I got old enough myself) would just park there. So too would any visitors, mostly my father’s buddies and various siblings and their spouses.
But for Lucky Dog, so named because my father couldn’t believe it was still alive, because, and I cannot stress this enough, the dog didn’t look like it should be, would run out and try and grab the tires of anybody pulling into or pulling out of the yard. Tires made him irrationally angry. He’d growl and try and latch on and continue to bite the tires until the vehicle was on the road.
My father got to where he could navigate into the yard pretty quickly without the dog getting too close to the truck. Other visitors were appalled. We would have to tie him up at times if many people were coming and going. My father would laugh with disbelief every time it happened, grabbing the dog (or having somebody else hold him) to prevent it from getting to the tires and possibly run over.
The dog also hated fireworks. Not like most dogs, mind you. Lucky Dog didn’t run and hide. He ran out and tried to grab them and bite them. I’m not sure what the poor bastard went through during his life, but the poor thing had a lot of trauma. The few times we lit fireworks off after this discovery, we had to keep him inside or tied up. He particularly hated the spinning fireworks. We would light them off a few at a time, and he would go after them with rage.
I liked Lucky Dog. We only had him a short time. Not quite a year. He was old by the time we got him and so broken as to be depressing. He was run over, specifically his head, a couple of times, but it didn’t seem to phase him. I’m sure that the colossal dome and dense bone structure gave him a great advantage.
One day, however, upon coming home from school, Lucky Dog was no more. I can honestly say that I don’t remember what happened to him. My siblings may remember better than I do. I just know he was gone. I don’t know if one of my parents found him deceased or if he was finally run over and killed or injured to the point that he had to be put down. Sadly the one sibling who probably would have known for sure is no longer with us, my sister Debbie. I think she may have been living here at the time (if not, she spent a great deal of time here during that period).
The Other Bulldog
The other bulldog we had for a day. It was a couple of years after Lucky Dog, and we got him between two dogs that were my dogs, which I’ll talk about in later installments. I don’t have a name. I do remember how he looked. He was a proper full-blooded bulldog, squat, low to the ground, massive head with a painted brown and white fur pattern.
He was energetic and distraught, and my mother (yes, I’m blaming mom) didn’t want to give the poor thing the chance to acclimate to being here. It may have been for the best as he was being rehomed, and we got him from a friend of a friend of dads.
He didn’t bite anybody. He was just, well, anxious and sad because he was in a new place and without his family. Knowing what I know now, I think he would have been happy with us, but dad agreed with mom, and the family rehomed him with somebody else. It still makes me sad, even 30 years later.
I still delight in seeing bulldogs. I’ve been lucky to make the acquaintance of two during my job delivering groceries for the store. There’s a stupid enthusiasm that’s almost contagious with these dogs.
Next time I’ll write about my grandmother’s two dogs that she had while growing up. Lovely Dog, and Honky Tramp.
(Note: I do not have a picture of either dog, but Shadette is the perfect example of the poor flat-nosed, genetically deficient breed. She was awesome.)