Saturday, August 30, 2008
My grandson was born just a month ago, and is beginning to make his presence known in the family. But I never had a son, so for a long time the only other male in the immediate family was a boy named 'Petey'. He alternates between long hair, when we sometimes refer to him as the 'puffy dog' and his shaved-down look. I am talking, of course, about our family dog: the one and only Petey Veasey. Pete came to us in the fall of 1999, just about five months after we moved into our new home in the Somerton section of Philly. It was a bit of a coincidence that brought us together. Our new home with a spacious back yard came at the same time that Pete was being evicted from his previous residence. It seems that as a puppy living in a cramped row home in Fishtown, young puppy Pete escaped from his cage one day while his owners were at work and quickly went about the task of tearing a new leather sofa apart. His owner, a young man named Jeff, was engaged to a young woman who promptly told him "that dog is outta here, and you ain't getting back in with him!" This broke Jeff's heart, as he had taken to loving Petey, but he chose his fiancee and put Petey up for adoption at a Bensalem shelter. My wife, Debbie Veasey, worked with and was good friends with Jeff's mom, and heard about the story. We had been discussing the possibility of getting a dog, and when Deb brought up the idea of adopting Petey it sounded good to me. We went to the shelter to meet him, and the first impression was a bit jarring. The dog was a wild child, having not gotten very much discipline in his short 1-year life. We took him anyway, eventually took him to a trainer (who trained us, as much as him), and Petey quickly became a member of the family. He has brought a great deal to our home, basically a fixture here over the past decade. Among his varied interests are chasing his 'ball' in the back yard, taking rides in the car to either the vet or the groomer, and hanging out with his mom and dad (me and Deb). He also has an affinity for knocking cups of coffee all over our daughter Kelly, barking at passing dogs, chasing squirrels, walks around the Somerton Woods, and rolling onto his back for a good scratch. He is a longtime connoisseur of both wet and dry Pedigree brand dog food, and enjoys a variety of treats, most especially pizza crusts. And he is a Philadelphia Eagles fan who hates the Dallas Cowboys. When he was about 2-years old, he was attacked by a loose pit bull while walking in the woods behind our home. The pit bull charged from the woods quickly and suddenly, seemingly from out of nowhere, and aggressively sniffed around Pete before taking a chomp at his neck. Fortunately, part of Pete's training regimen was the wearing of a metal 'cinch' collar for walks, and this combined with his usual leather collar saved him. Pete overcame that trauma to enjoy many more walks, and many more good times. Though we have both been around family dogs in our lives, Pete is the first dog that Deb and I have owned ourselves, and he is a part of our home if not our family. We celebrate his birthday on November 1st, and this year Petey will turn 10 years old, which means that he is an old dog now, and in all likelihood he only has about another two good years with us. But we are gonna enjoy the old boy for as long as we can, and will remember him long after he is gone. When I first got him it would have been hard to convince me that a pet could ever become so much a part of my life, but there it is. My good boy, Petey Veasey, is one of the family, and we are happy to have him.