Friday Firesmith – Good Loving For A Bad Little Dog

There haven’t been many dogs on this Earth who I haven’t loved in some shape, fashion, or form. I started out as a large dog person, and I’ll always love the large ones best, but I also have loved the little dogs my paternal grandmother shared her life with. Universally, each and every dog my family has shared their lives with have been loving dogs, wonderful to be around, and to some greater degree, obedient and faithful. I went most of my life without knowing a truly bad dog. Dexter changed all of that, forever.

To begin with, Dexter started out as the dog of a woman who knew my roommate’s girlfriend. This is the friend of a friend type thing, and my first meeting with Dexter was at a party at the woman’s house. Dexter proceeded to hump the leg of a Korean woman throughout the night until he was locked up in the spare bathroom, where he yapped without taking a breath the entire night. Oh, Dexter was a ten pound little white poodle. And that was my first meeting with Dex.

Without getting into any detail of anyone’s personal life, the woman who owned Dexter divorced her husband and she took Dexter with her, for some reason. She and I struck up a friendship and eventually started dating. Dating the woman meant I was also dating Dexter. I discovered that dating Dexter was to test my ability to love the woman and love the dog.

To begin with, Dex was selectively house trained. When he was out of sorts with his humans he would pee on the floor, or worse. When things got to the point I went to meet her parents we took Dexter, against my better judgment. She and I walked him for about an hour before dinner, and when we got back, he squatted and pushed out a German Shepherd sized log right there in front of the entire family. That was Dexter.

He also ran away. If he got off the leash Dexter was gone like he was fired out of a cannon, full run, usually right down the middle of a road. We spent more than a few hours trying to get him to come back. Dexter humped legs. Dexter chewed up things. Dexter attacked larger dogs. More than once, I had people, really good and decent people, suggest that while my girlfriend was at work I could take Dexter to the pound and leave him.

We broke up, she and I, and therefore Dexter and I parted ways. But she invited me to a Halloween party one night and I went. Dexter was overjoyed to see me. He wiggled and barked and jumped up in my lap as if he truly loved me and missed me, terribly. It’s hard not to return that sort of love, and I realized that I did miss the little sh!t. Dexter slipped out when someone came in, later, and I was the one who found him in the middle of the road, a pool of blood had formed from his mouth, and Dexter was dead.

I cannot tell you how heartbroken I was at that moment. That was October 31st, 1987.

Have you ever loved a bad dog?

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

15 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Good Loving For A Bad Little Dog”

  1. All my dogs have been ‘bad’ in some way, shape or form.
    Lucky found and ate the plane tickets to Panama for me and a co-worker. Bosco chewed up most of my cedar deck (all 2X4 Clear Cedar at $1.00 per linear foot). Bosco was also the one with a heart condition (Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia) and was diagnosed to not live past a year and a half. He lasted 5 (and you would never have known there was anything wrong with him) but my wife was afraid to discipline him for fear that he’d have a heart attack. Picture a very active Chocolate Lab with no boundaries and no discipline.
    I never did care for the smaller dogs (all of which seem to suffer from a Napoleanic Complex). I’ve always liked the bigger dogs more and I go against the grain as I prefer black dogs.
    My Oliver is one of the smaller dogs I’ve owned at about 55 lbs and he’s he’s one of the worst. Be, my Golden, is also bad in that he’s so food driven that he’ll literally eat anything (and enjoy it).
    Looking back though at all of the good and bad dogs that I’ve had through the years, the bad ones were actually the ones I loved the most.

    • John, the odd thing about Dexter was he was unforgettable. Beth, the woman who owned him thirty years ago, has been known to have some unusual canines. Oh, after not seeing her for twenty-nine years plus, she and I are dating again.

      • Well I wish you and Beth (and whatever unusual creature she has as a pet now) all the best.
        As for ‘unforgetable’ it’s usually the bad that you’ll remember more than the good. What you did touch on, and I glossed over the first time, was the loyalty factor. All of my BDE’s were extremely loyal.
        I live in a suburban area with plenty of other dogs and other distractions. Ben & Ollie need the leash but only in the event of rabbits, squirrels and other dogs. Whenever I took Bosco or Lucky out, their collars and leashes always stayed home.
        Makes a big difference when your dog makes it known that you are their world and the most important thing in it.
        Any dog whose only goal when you’re out with them is to find and present you with a maple leave is an absolute treasure.

  2. I think with some dogs, it’s the ‘bad’ behavior that sticks in your mind. We’ve had our share of both good and ‘bad’ dogs. Our Boxer was an exceptionally good dog, but she was so food motivated that one day she completely destroyed the party favors we were making for my mother-in-law (who did not like dogs)’s 60th birthday celebration. We were almost done creating these lovely little bouquets filled with colorful chocolate kisses, when we ran out. So off we went to grab another bag at the store. We returned no more than 10 mins later to find every single bouquet ripped to shreds and bits of chocolate all over the floor. We couldn’t believe that she would have eaten over 100 chocolate kisses, but when she went out and we found a trail of poop sprinkled with shiny, colorful foil sticking out, we knew it was time to visit the vet! Thousands of dollars and 5 sleepless nights later, we were able to bring her home. I actually think she learned her lesson LOL!
    That dog remains the dog whose passing we never got over. There were so many positive things about her, but the chocolate and tinfoil sprinkled poop created a mental picture that none of us will ever forget.

  3. I loved a dog named Doughboy. He was a fat little puppy who grew into a muscular dog. He wasn’t so much bad as he was intimidating. He looked mean, and he would charge at everything. Of course he was an AmStaff, those have a special place in my heart. He was my exes dog as well. He was just a baby when we got together. when we broke up he was a beautiful 60 pound full grown dog. But still my baby. He chewed up a couch once. He peed on my ex when he smelled another dog on him, he was a shit. But, yes I loved him.
    When my ex and I first split up he refused food, I had to go over to my exes house and get him to eat. I had to reassure him that it was ok, that I was still a part of his life. We used to have visits, so my dogs and my exes dogs could play together. I’ll never forget the day my ex called me and told me he’d been hit by a car, he had chased a someone out of my exes house who had come in through the window while he was at work. The guy ran out into the street where he got hit and drug under the car. I met them at the vet. That dog walked in and straight up to me and laid his head in my lap. He was limping and his jaw was broken, the car didn’t even stop. Doughboy was never the same. I used to go visit. Cancer finally got him. I do miss him. He was a beautiful soul. He may have started out as a shit, but he was my baby.
    My ex and I are still friends, we both still have AmStaffs. There will never be dogs like the ones we had together. Doghboy was special to us both.
    I’m glad to hear you have someone Mike! good luck to both of you.

  4. That’s tough, Chick, to have one diminished like that. I had a dog that old age finally crippled and it was very hard to watch the decline. They are so very alive when they are young or when they are healthy. Then, when something like that happens, especially when a dog gets hit, it seems like part of the Universe itself has been wrong, terribly wronged.

  5. I try to remember him as the vibrant young pup that he was, but I’ll never forget the day he came and laid his head in my lap like that as if he were asking me to fix it all, or the look on my exes friends face when he did that. That guy only knew him as the tough dog. He looked at me like I held some kind of magic. I told him, Dude, I’m his mommy.
    He did bounce back some from that, but he had lost some teeth, and of course the patch on his back where he had been dragged under the car never really had hair on it again.
    I’m not prone to physical violence, but I sure would have loved to have gotten my hands on the pos driving that car who couldn’t be bothered to stop that car that day.


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