Phoebe 1

The first half of a school report Dana wrote about Phoebe 1 and Phoebe 2.  The second half can be found in the Dogs Menu pulldown for Phoebe 2.

Dana Edwards 10/06/06

English 10-Mr. Robins


Historically, humans and dogs have had a unique relationship. Dogs have been called, “a man’s best friend”, and for good reason. An amazing friendship exists between the two species. Some have attributed this to our long existence together. Since humans and dogs have lived with one another for millions of years, we have evolved together, forming a mutual symbiotic relationship. 

I am no doubt subject to this special relationship, because I truly enjoy dogs, as do my father and sister. Unfortunately for us, my mother is not as much of a dog lover. We have always begged her to allow us to have one, but she would never comply. Not owning a dog, in fact, only increased my love for them, and I treasured the occasional encounters with friends’ dogs. Yet we always wanted to have our own pet dog, although the possibility of that happening seemed slim.

However, to the great happiness of Rachael and me, my dad loves dogs possibly even more than we do. He decided to take it upon himself to let my sister and me experience one, just as he had throughout his childhood. This important decision took place in the summer of 2004.

It was nearing late July, the time of my birthday, and my mother was away sailing our boat from Hawaii to San Francisco. My father is known to make rash decisions when being the only parent present. He told us one day that we were quickly going to get a dog while our mother was still gone. We were unbelievably happy. Years we had spent waiting for that day, and even after living so for so long on our sailboat, the prospect of getting a dog had not faded from our minds.

We decided to adopt from a pound, because there were so many unwanted puppies there, and we felt it was the best thing to do. We didn’t spend long looking through the mass of imprisoned dogs, barking and howling, because one caught our eye early one. She was a brilliant brindle color, a pit-mix, like the majority of the dogs there. Instead of participating in the maudlin display of vocal expression the other dogs were so deep into, she simply put her paws up against the fence, wagged her tail, and gave a big smile, panting heavily. She was friendly, happy, beautiful, and playful; and after a short session in a room, acquainting ourselves with her, we decided she was the one.

Her given name was Brandy, but we didn’t think the name suited her, so we rechristened her Phoebe. The first few weeks living with Phoebe were amazing and hectic. She turned out to be much more unruly than we had suspected when we met her in the pound. Un-house-trained, and badly mannered, she spent her time living by her own rules. Secretly, I loved her untrained manner, because I was able to play rough games with her, such as tug-o-war. She had such a strong jaw that if I were to lift the piece of rope while it was in the grasp of her teeth, I would lift up her entire body. Another favorite game of ours was sort of like tackle football. I would have some friends over, and inside our large living room with many big couches, we would give Phoebe a tennis ball. Despite being outnumbered, she was incredibly fast and nimble, and would dodge all of us, and jump great heights over the couches. In the rare occurrence that one of my friends or I got the ball from her, it was a different story. We simply played hot potato, quickly passing the ball to one another, to avoid getting mauled. 

Phoebe was, in fact, so strong and fast that I couldn’t run fast enough to keep up with her when we went for walks, resulting in my being vigorously pulled along with her. I began going on bike rides with her, during which I was able to go at a pace fast enough to satisfy her running needs. She soon learned that bolting in front of the tire after a squirrel was a bad idea. Overall, Phoebe and I had a lot of fun together.

However, my mother was not quite as happy with the new addition to the family as we were. When she returned to find a relatively large dog jumping on her as she walked through the door, she was very upset. After a long serious conversation with my father, they came to a conclusion. We could keep Phoebe, but only if we responsibly took care of her, house-trained her, and taught her to sit, stay, heel, and not jump on people. That was the end of my vigorous games with Phoebe. We would do anything to keep her, and after weeks of failed attempts at training her, we brought her to a class, with other rebellious dogs learning their manners. This also proved to be unsuccessful. Our final option was to hire a private trainer. We called a guy who claimed to be able to train any dog in one day.

The trainer was amazing. Using his big black lab as the example, he taught Phoebe to sit, stay, lie down, and not pull on the leash while on walks. Our problems were cured; all we had to do was train her a little bit every day so she didn’t lose her newfound skills. 

Eventually, though, Phoebe did go back to her original rowdy state, and my mother began to get upset again. She warned us that if Phoebe didn’t behave better, we weren’t allowed to keep her. The situation became pretty bad; if you were to so much as open the front door, she would run away not to be found all day. Often, I biked around my town searching for her. The climax of the unfortunate situation came when Phoebe escaped from our house one day. We had been looking for hours, but Phoebe was not to be found. We sullenly laid back on our couch, hoping she would return soon, since nightfall was approaching. Soon after, we received a phone call from a neighbor frantically telling us he had our dog. We zoomed down the street to the man’s house, to find a horrible sight. Phoebe had attacked a baby deer, and it lay bleeding in the man’s backyard. He had a stick in his hand and was attempting to get a hold of Phoebe. We knew that was it. Phoebe had to go.

The dog police even showed up at our house, warning us that if Phoebe had another incident, she would have to be put down. We were extremely sad; we loved her so much we couldn’t stand the idea of leaving her. We luckily found a good new owner for her, our veterinarian. I am very grateful to that kind woman who decided to save Phoebe and keep her, when no one else would.