I hand-picked Frisky from a large litter, and did a good job, for he turned out to be an incredibly intelligent pooch. We named him Frisky--typically, and for obvious reasons.
I have lots of wonderful memories of his time with us--one of the best is sitting in the back yard with him when I was feeling down, having a can of opened dogfood and a plastic spoon--I would hand feed Frisky as if he were a baby, and he would comfort me with his unending love and faithfulness.
Frisky would dance for treats--standing on his hind legs to the coaxing of "Be a pretty boy!" he would dance around in a circle for our amusement. He was also the only dog I ever knew that could climb a ladder--a feat discovered by accident when I looked over the edge of the roof after taking something to my dad and saw his little face at the top of the ladder looking at me!!
We had no leash laws in this town at the time, so he went everywhere with my brother, Brian, and I. We rode frequently to a little neighborhood store for treats, and he always enjoyed coming along for the run.
One of these trips turned out a bit differently from all the others, though. As we rode innocently down the road, we were set upon by two very large dogs. Frisky, I haven't yet mentioned, was what I like to call a Heinz 57 dog--a combination of so many different breeds that it's hard to nail down. He had the coloration of a German shepherd, but was less than a foot tall, with a cute little upturned tail to wave about--but very husky and broad-bodied.
Also of note, he was fiercely protective of our entire family--he had dog friends that he would play with, but let one of us go outside or drive up, and every dog but Frisky was out of the yard faster than you can say shoo! He loved to run and play, but he took his job as protector of his family very seriously--it was always his primary concern.
But back to the chase. Well, Frisky usually scouted ahead of us, as he had done that day, when the two demon dogs began to chase us. My brother and I were frightened out of our little minds--pedalling fast and furiously to escape this menace, when all of a sudden this whirling dervish--our own personal Taz--showed up and attacked the pair of dogs--either of which would've easily have made 5 or 6 of him.
All I remember of what must have been no more than seconds of sheer terror was the screaming...trying to rescue our rescuer with stones...fear for our beloved mutt lending us courage to battle the dogs we'd been so frightened of moments before. We were hugely ineffective, but Frisky fought valiantly until he vanquished them. Then he laid down by the road, and didn't get back up.
Seems like I remember blood--one of us staying there, the other riding home for help, and a terrifying car ride to the vet. He was beaten up pretty badly--several bites and wounds--but the good vet patched him up, and after awhile he was right back to his old self. What a brave little friend we had--perfectly willing to lay down his life for us--and he almost did.
As I said earlier, our small town didn't have a leash law; during Frisky's life, that changed. He didn't especially care for the backyard that we were forced to contain him in, so he was released on occasion--he'd led such an unfettered life, that it was impossible to imprison him totally. Usually he stayed around the yard, but occasionally he roamed afar. This was his downfall.
One day as my Dad and I were driving across town, tragedy struck. A car from a side street pulled out into us, resulting in serious enough injuries for us that we were both hospitalized a few days. As Mom was leaving to bring us some things we needed that evening, she opened the gate to let Frisky out for a little run. This led to a car accident of his own---but he didn't survive the major highway he must've been trying to cross.
The pain of his death is not so bad as other losses I've suffered, perhaps because I was so distanced from it. The news was kept from me until a few days later when I returned home. I grieved greatly for my best friend, but was also able to recognize it for what it was--an unavoidable accident. The irony didn't escape me, though. He and I both had a car accident that day--I was lucky, he wasn't. A simple fip of the coin--life is so unpredictable.
But my little Frisky--sweet dear friend of my childhood--undoubtedly rests in doggy heaven. Perhaps he frollicks with the doggy friends he denied himself in order to provide for our defense. I like to picture him that way.