This was Babar and me in the summer of ’83 during senior pictures from high school. He was the best dog friend. I graduated the next year. Babar lived about six more years before passing at 17 almost 18.
Babar was the kind of dog you couldn’t keep on a chain or in a cage. He was meant to be free. He’d be gone for a few days sometimes longer only to return smelling like a skunk or a garbage dump with injuries generally to his ears or feet. Always had a smile on his face.
I built him many dog houses over the years. He always ended laying on top of them or digging a hole hole under them. He rarely ever used the living quarters that had been lovingly filled with hay and a blanket. Only rain drove him into the living area. Snow was never a consideration. He just sat there or laid covered in snow.
Running off and ignoring his doghouses may have been his angle to get in the house. He lived inside most of the time. He slept in my room. Sometimes on the bed, sometimes on the floor. My room was a wreck so it was difficult to know where he was at times. He did always mange to find a blanket or some piece of random clothing laying on the floor to cover up with. As a teenager I just picked up the first thing I came to and put it on. (According to my wife, that hasn’t changed much for me as an adult.) It wasn’t until I was grown and looking back that I figured my mom must have given up the battle of me putting up my clothes and just threw them on the floor after she washed them. That’s just wild speculation. It doesn’t seem like anything she would do. I will say by some magical force their were always clean underwear and socks in my drawer, no matter what, when I was a teenager.
Back to Babar. We’d take rides, and he was never the type to hang is head out the window to catch wind with his jowls. He was too cool for that. He rode shotgun in classic wing man style. He was confident. He knew what he wanted. It was generally a cheeseburger from McDonald’s. The closer we got to McDonald’s the more he would look at me and then in the direction of McDonald’s.
The ladies liked Babar way more than they I ever liked me. That’s a true story. Of course, it’s probably difficult to like a guy makes you ride in the back seat because the dog called shotgun. That’s just proper protocol. He who calls it, gets it.
Due to an injury to his ear that didn’t heal properly he was able to wear a gold hoop in his ear, which he did. He was that cool and that bad ass. He also wore a yellow banana around his neck. I wore one on my head.
He spent his last days before crossing the Rainbow Bridge sitting in the shade of an elm tree watching the neighbor’s pigs go about their daily business of rooting around the barnyard area. He would cock his head to the left (always the left) listening to the pigs snort and grunt. It was like he was contemplating the meaning of their sounds or he was trying to figure what was in the dirt that kept them so interested. Babar was more of race from flower to flower sniffing each one intently.
Babar, like most of my furry friends, didn’t like the dark. I have to take the blame for that. I don’t like the dark either. I have a house full of cats now most who have never spent a minute in the dark. He runs through my dreams still. On a summertime cruise. Windows down. Cool jazz coming out of the speakers. A cheeseburger, of course. Walking through the park checking out the girls in their summer clothes. Play a little Frisbee. Yep, he was cool like that. Until we see each other again, my friend.