The Dogs I’ve Loved ~ Poochie


one cute dog

Poochie was my first four-legged friend.  He was a small dog with sandy blonde hair.  I was three years-old when I knew and loved Poochie.

Memories of my third year are short snippets of time sketched in my mind.  Poochie curled up in a little ball, basking under the sun in our front yard is an image that never faded.  My love for him is a feeling I’ve never forgotten.

I was temporarily in a wheelchair from a childhood bone disease when Poochie was my dog.  I’ve always wondered if I was confined to the little chair when Poochie met his last day on earth.

I’ve always thought it rather odd that I remember anything at all about my third year, but it makes sense now that I’m an adult, considering all that happened and the way things were.

We had plenty of love in my family, but from what I understand, my third year was much like the rest of my childhood.  Our lives were chronically hardened with strife.   On occasion and unpredictably, fear from violent emotional explosions that led to all sorts of trouble visited our family, yet we were familiar with unfortunate circumstances and that each time could have ended much worse than it did.

I had a boyfriend when Poochie was my dog.  He was also three years-old.  We spent a fair amount of time sitting on my front porch steps together.  I remember the way I felt being around him.  I know I loved him.

According to my mother, the little boy and I had deep conversations about life.  “Lord, I couldn’t believe the things the two of you talked about.  I used to stand there at the door listening and just shake my head,” she says.

A child in our neighborhood had thrown a rock that hit my head and knocked me unconscious.  Afterward, even as my mother had made it clear to everyone that nobody would ever hit me with a rock again, my boyfriend and I didn’t play on the days when the child who had thrown the rock was outside.  

Upon reflection, the accident may explain memory problems I had for the best of my childhood and maybe to this day, but I was hit in the head again during fifth grade.  I had decided to play baseball, but the boys didn’t want girls on the team. 

“Easy Out!  Easy Out!,” the boys shouted enthusiastically.  The pitcher tried hitting my head with the ball every time I approached the batter’s box.   Finally, he succeeded, and I quit playing baseball.

The brain is amazing and so is the human spirit.  I later found ways to cope with what I thought was normal, like my less than good memory and, “the bad things,” my grandmother said I had seen.  “You were too young to see what you saw,” she would later tell me.

My third year was in the late sixties.  The place was in the heart of the North Carolina Blue Ridge mountains.  We were not poor by the standards of the day and perhaps we were Middle class.  The stories I’ve heard about medical treatments I endured during those years sound like we came from a time I thought was in history books before I entered this world, which reminds me of the way I met my first boyfriend.

He and I were born minutes apart, in the same hospital room, delivered by the same doctor, separated only by a thin hospital curtain, which the doctor had left open for the laboring hours preceding our births. 

“We talked the whole time we were in labor,” my mother tells me.  “The beds were side-by-side.  Nurses came in to prep us and that’s when the doctor pulled the curtain closed, but we still went on talking.”

The boy’s mother and mine were best friends.   I was due several weeks before her child was, but as it happened, we were born on the same night.  The boy came first.  His mother, lying in her hospital bed, told them to open the curtain again, which they did. 

“What’s wrong over there?”  she asked my mother.  “Why haven’t you had that baby yet?” 

Looking over at my mother, still in labor, the woman noticed that Mother was still wearing her teeth.  “Lord God!,” the woman shouted to the doctor.  “She can’t have that baby ’til she takes out her teeth!”

The doctor ordered my mother to take her teeth out.  “You were born just as soon as I took them out,” she tells me. 

“Why did you have your teeth in?” I asked my mother, many years later as she told me the story.

“Well, I can’t remember, but I guess I didn’t want that doctor seeing me without my teeth,” she said.  “He was a good-looking doctor.”

I realized I was born in pure vanity, but I come from a long line of women who expect good-looking doctors when they get to a certain age in life.  I recently noticed that my doctor is pretty cute.  I’ve seen him for years and have never once thought about his physical appearance.  I wonder if this means I’m getting to that certain age.  Alas.   I’ve truly regressed, if that’s possible in this piece of writing.

My sweet boyfriend wasn’t there the day when I was sitting on the porch steps and saw our neighbor back her car out of the driveway, running over Poochie in the process.  I wanted to help Poochie, but I couldn’t.  I don’t know if it was because I couldn’t walk or if the accident simply happened too fast. 

Later, my mother said the woman wanted to apologize and that she had made me cookies.  I wanted nothing to do with her cookies and doubt if I understood what an apology meant.  My dog was gone.  In my three year-old mind, I fully believed it was the woman’s fault for backing out of her driveway at a speed that I was sure had been too fast.  By the time she heard me screaming, it was too late to save Poochie.

Mother said my boyfriend and I sat on the steps and talked about what happened for days afterward.  “The two of y’all came up with the idea that you would go to her house and poke her eyeballs out like she had done to Poochie’s.”  Mother says I pointed two fingers to show her what I had in mind.

My family and I did go to the woman’s house.  Apparently, I behaved well, but I didn’t like her house any more than I liked her car.  From my point of view, both were way too big for one person.

I did not eat her cookies.  I was sad for a long time. 

For years, it hurt to remember what I had seen and I did remember.  I also missed Poochie in a terrible way.  I’m glad the images of the accident finally faded and that today, my memories only include him basking in the sunshine, and how it felt to love a dog.

The next dog that came into my life was a long funny looking Wiener dog.  I’ll tell you about him, and my life when he lived with us, in an upcoming post about, “The Dogs I’ve Loved.”


12/30/12 Post updated to allow ‘Likes’ 🙂


17 responses to this post.

  1. Since your memory is changing, and you’re afraid you’ll forget the stories, would it be easier/a good idea to record them? Then, when you get the chance to write it out, you’ll have a vocal copy to guide you should you feel your memory isn’t as clear as it was?
    Wishing you all the best of 2013 — and write the book. When you’ve done your first one, then you can turn green healing into a wonderful book, too.
    Whatever you write, you should try and illustrate with your photos!

    Liked by 1 person


    • Hi Phylor!

      I didn’t have time to respond to your comment before now, but thank you for adding your thoughts here 🙂 I am so grateful to know you and have your encouragement! Thank you so much!

      The first thought I had after reading your note, was that you are the first person to acknowledge with me that my “memory is changing.” The next thought was that I hope it is not “changing.” I’ve been hoping it has instead been temporarily challenged and will get better, but having another person even respond to my remark(s) about my memory really is validating. I’ve told my physician and NP, both of whom nodded and moved on to whatever reason I had to see them on that day. I guess I’d have to go for the specific reason of memory issues, and who knows how many Interns and residents and attending physicians I would see or procedures they may come up with for me. For now, I’m going to focus on relieving stress, developing better sleep hygiene and natural ways of healing.

      I like your idea very much to vocally record the stories. I have the program (forget the name of it) where I can talk and it types, but learning it gives me anxiety. It would be easier to speak into a simple recording device, which I could do anywhere. I’ll try to follow up on this and will let you know. Thanks again Phylor. I’m glad you like my photos too. I take this as a wonderful compliment coming from you! You are a very talented photographer! I’m not sure I’ve ever told you that.

      Thank you too for your warm New Year’s wishes. Please know that I too wish you all the best in this New Year!

      Warmly, with hugs and love,



  2. Tributes to our pets are as important as tributes to our human best friends and family. Poochie would be proud…you love is so obvious.
    Your writing is wonderful.



    • Hi Marylin. Thanks so much for your comment! I very much agree with you too. I didn’t even think about what Poochie might think of my post, so thanks for bringing that up 🙂 Thanks too for your kind compliment. I enjoyed writing this post.




  3. Dear MIchelle, it’s been too long since I dropped into here. Shame on me. Your writings are so beautiful. A very Happy New Year to you. Paul



    • Thank you Paul. It is always a pleasure to hear from you, and to visit Learning From Dogs as well. I surely understand about not dropping in too often, so thanks for taking the time to comment (and read about Poochie).

      I’m writing about all the dogs I’ve loved. I have the stories in draft and it’s hard for me not to write a book. I had to take out about two thousand words from this post! Sometimes, writing is so easy. I love the process when I have the energy to write, and very much enjoy sharing the stories. I am very grateful that you came by to read this one.

      With love,



      • Michelle, write the book! Read William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well. And drop in here

        We should make a promise and commitment to each other to finish our books by this time next year!

        Happy New Year, Paul



        • Happy New Year Paul! I hope you do write your book this year. I wish very much I could also write one. I’ve wanted to for so long, and now that I have the time, so many things are taking that or filling it I should say. I guess, if I could do anything while I’m alive, it would be to write the stories I’ve always wanted to write. I get a lot of satisfaction from blogging, esp., when people like what I write and it never fails, when I write the stories of my life, that people do indeed like those best. I will check out the link you provided. I have never known where to start or how to arrange stories into one piece of work. I need a mentor or teacher for this. Perhaps if you ever have time, you could read one or two of my drafts at some point 🙂

          Thank you again for your blog, and for each time you take the time to comment on mine. I am so happy we ‘met’ in the blogosphere. I have always had a certain feeling about you. I think it is odd how some people draw you in, and maybe, like in my case, trigger a great trusting feeling. It is such a small world.

          Many wishes of Peace and Joy to you in this New Year! 2013! Wow!
          With Love, Michelle.



          • Reading your drafts would be an honour. Do you want to drop me an email so we can arrange that? Paul



            • Hi Paul! Yes, I will do that. I was working on one draft just as your comment came in. The creative energy is flowing lately, and I’m using it as much as I can. I have pressing matters to take care of over the next several days, but hopefully, I’ll be able to continue writing.

              Thanks Paul! Will be in touch with you very soon!
              Warmly, Michelle.


            • Brilliant. Do send me some of your juices down the wire! 😉


  4. Michelle, I read this enthralled at every word.. I can quiet believe what you remembered from the age of 3.. Its amazing what our childhood memory holds… You told that story so well.. as I see your mind as it saw upon its screen the replay of your childhood…

    So much sadness do we harbour in our minds, we very often do not realise just how much we retain within our hearts… Its a sad little story about your Poochie,

    I was reminded too, at 3 how you and your little boy-friend chatted putting the world no doubts to rights in your own way… Reminding me of my Granddaughter aged only 2 this December who is wiser than her years as she enlightens all our days with the things she says… Amazing …

    I will look forward to reading more of your Dog stories Michelle,

    I hope that you and Your Son have a Very Happy New Year.. wishing you bright blessings for 2013 .. May your health improve and grow ever stronger and May your life be ever rich in love and blessings..

    Hugs your friend
    Sue oxox



    • Dear Sue,

      Thank you for reading my story. It means a lot to me, esp., when I’m not able to keep up with your blog lately, which I miss.

      I can remember a lot, but my memory is surely changing lately. I wish I could write my stories before I forget them, but of course, I hope my memory improves, because remembering stories has always been something I did easily.

      There is a lot of sadness. Even in the other dog stories, it is there, but there is also always love. Like with my boyfriend. We loved each other. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to find him again, since we were born in the same room, minutes apart.

      Hoping to fulfill my goal of finishing the stories soon. I woke up in the middle of the night recently, quite tired, and not thinking of dogs at all. I had had a dream, which wasn’t so great, but when I sat down to write, the dogs I’ve loved appeared in my mind.

      Thanks for the nice New Year’s Wishes! Wishing you and your family a great New Year’s too.

      Peace and Blessings,
      Love and Hugs,



  5. Hi Laurie, Thanks for reading about Poochie! I’ve been writing and saving drafts for a long time and decided I better start publishing something.

    I wish too that we could (and hope we’ll get to one day) visit together and share our stories. As to my memory, it’s strange what I can and can’t remember, but I used to remember just about everything when it came to life and nothing in math class or automotive shop, the latter of which I took in high-school for one semester instead of homemaking. I probably should have learned how to cook and sew like my sisters did.

    Wising you a Happy New Year with lots of doggie kisses and hugs,
    Love, Michelle.



  6. Michelle, my first thought was how much I would love to sit with you and Ash and share all our stories together. You have so much inside you, the image of an onion came to me when I read this story about Poochie. Layers peeled back to a child’s view, you have an amazing memory, truly, I don’t think I could remember half that or even a quarter. I love that you refused to eat that bad lady’s cookies. It shows you how you are today. Loved this post, can’t wait for the rest of them. Love, Laurie



    • Michelle, I’m so sorry! I missed that you posted this!
      What a way of telling a story you have – I felt like I was right there with you. I’m so glad you’ve decided to do a series on the dogs you’ve loved – what a great tribute to the Love they’ve bestowed upon your life. I can’t wait to read the next one!
      Laurie, I would love to be able to sit around with you both, too, and tell stories all night! Maybe one day!
      Michelle, I’m curious as to how exactly your memory is changiing. Short term memory loss is a symptom of both Lyme & ME/CFS. I find, tho’, that when you are ill with them for years, the short term memory loss kinda becomes long term memory loss. What I mean is, everything that has happened after I became ill is much, much, fainter in my memory than things that came after my illness began, and many things aren’t there at all. Rhiannon is always talking about something we’ve done or I said, and I will have no memory of it whatsoever. It’s very disconcerting. It feels almost like everything since I became ill – when Rhia was little – is just lost in a fog. Time is a blur.

      Anyway, I hope you keep the excellent stories coming! Can’t wait for the next chapter! And I really want to hear more about Free. ❤
      Love & hugs to you both!



      • Hi Ash (and Laure) –Thanks so much for reading my post! 🙂

        About my memory, well, it’s just not good lately. Forgetting recent stuff, or what I just said, etc., as well as details from the past. Sometimes, I go blank, but so far, not for long. Stress is a big factor. Simple tasks can feel overwhelming, and often are if related to paperwork. And, I think I remember better before Lyme/RMSF/CFS/Fibromyalgia.

        I’m sorry you can’t remember things Rhia can. It’s the opposite with my son and I, so I know how it feels to wish a person could remember something. I think the memory is probably there, in our brains, but we don’t have access to it, so on one level, maybe we do remember. Intuitively.

        About dogs, I woke up around 2am one morning not feeling well emotionally. I sat down and started writing. It seemed so easy and not long afterward, I’d written about each dog I had known and what was going on in my life when I knew them. I felt much better too. I hope to finish the series of posts. Thank you for your encouragement!

        With wishes of Joy and Peace,
        Love, Michelle.
        and hugs of course 🙂



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