When I was a kid growing up in Omaha, I hounded my parents for a dog.  We finally got a beagle pup and I was in heaven, but he died shortly thereafter from distemper; an ugly way to go.  My father bought another beagle from the same breeder (I think we call them puppy mills today) and he quickly died from the same disease.  Never one to learn from his mistakes, pop bought yet a third beagle pup from the same outfit.  You guessed it, he also died from distemper.

We took a “dog breather” after that, waiting a few years.  Then, when I was in my teens, we got a mutt that my Mom named “Loki”.  She told me that “Loki” was the Norwegian god of mischief.  She probably learned this from doing crossword puzzles.  Loki was about the size of a cocker spaniel and his hair was all white.  Even though Loki always out-smarted my Dad, he adored Loki, often telling him that he was the only member of the family that was sure to go to heaven!  Mom fed Loki, watered him, took him to the vet on occasion, and was always kind to him, despite the fact that our entire house was covered with his white hair.

Loki always got the best of my father.  Once Dad was chasing Loki around the picnic table and the dog got tired.  Loki dashed under the table to rest and Dad did two more revolutions before he realized Loki had tricked him!  To stop Loki from digging holes in the back yard, Dad buried some razor blades and broken glass.  The next day when Dad came home from work, Loki had spread the glass and razor blades all over the yard, but suffered no injury.  Dad spent the next two weeks trying to retrieve the glass and blades in the yard.  Honestly, after a while it seemed that my Dad was “Wiley the Coyote” and Loki was the roadrunner.

Loki was quite a philanderer.  In those days few animals were neutered.  Every once in a while, when the neighborhood female dogs were in heat, Loki would disappear for a few days.  When he reappeared he was tired, hungry, and beaten up; but he always seemed happy!  Our neighbor took is prize basset hound to a stud and was happy to find that she was pregnant.  During the pregnancy he constantly reminded us how much money his prime basset hound puppies would bring when he sold them.  I didn’t tell the neighbor or my parents that Loki had crawled under the fence and had an “adventure” with his basset hound just a day or so before he took her to stud.  Predictably, the basset hound had her litter; all little white Loki’s!  As Loki proudly patrolled the fence admiring his offspring and despite our neighbor’s accusations, we feigned ignorance.

Loki spent his last years with my brother’s family in Colorado.  He lived to the ripe old age of 19 (that’s 133 in dog years).  When we would visit my brother, Loki would be lying outside in the warm mountain sun.  Too old to cause mischief anymore, he still wagged his tail vigorously when petted.  I’m sure that, despite his wanderings, Dad was right when he said Loki would go to heaven.

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