Scenes from Silver Creek: The Dog Show
We had a variety of pets growing up. A black cat named Bishop. A parakeet named Maynard. Various guinea pigs and hamsters. But only one dog; a black, scruffy mutt named Caruso.
I honestly cannot recall where Caruso came from, whether we adopted him from the pound or found him as a stray; but come he did and he stayed. Caruso was one of the most ill trained dogs ever. Whenever we took him off the leash he would run away. He never learned to sit or fetch or do any of those dog tricks. But he was madly loveable and so ugly-cute that you couldn’t help but be charmed.
He had free reign of our back yard, and a long leash in the front. All the neighbors knew him and so too, luckily, did the mailman. For one time Caruso got loose and was gone for hours. I was frantic, until the mailman drove up with Caruso sitting proudly in the mail truck, tail waving, barking happily.
I suppose I was about 7 or 8 when a national dog food company sponsored a dog show in the parking lot of the supermarket. There was a cute dog category so, of course, I had to enter Caruso.
In spite of his protests I bathed and combed him until his scruffy hair was slightly less scruffy, put him on his leash, and headed downtown. There amid the purebred pups I strutted with him. Well, technically I pulled him and then he pulled me. While Mrs. Albreckson walked her annoying Pekingese like she was at Westminster, and the annoying Pekingese acted like she was one of the Queen’s corgis, I dragged poor Caruso in front of the town. Of course, being Caruso, he misbehaved. He stopped to pee. He barked at the crowd. When the judge walked by Caruso rolled over to have his tummy scratched. And he sniffed the crotch of the man next to me with a neurotic Poodle.
Since Caruso was well known in town, he had his fair share of admirers in the crowd. In fact the mailman was there, cheering him on. But, alas, he had no chance amongst his well-behaved, well-groomed brethren. But the judge, taking pity on either the clueless child or the careless dog, awarded us an Honorable Mention ribbon, which Caruso promptly tried to eat. I was so proud of that ribbon. It was the first thing I’d ever won, even if it was won by my dog.