by Norman Horowitz

When I was about three or four years old, my parents got a wire hair terrier that we named Daisy.

Daisy was the smartest dog I’ve ever come across, but to balance out the brilliance of the dog, she was very high strung…or just plain crazy.

My first experience of paranoia (but certainly not my last) was my being convinced that Daisy hated me. I still believe that, whenever my Mother wasn’t around, Daisy would try to bite me. When I took her for a walk, if I wanted her to go right, I needed to pretend that I wanted to go left.

In later life, my Father and I wanted a dog. We purchased a Welch terrier that we named…Daisy. This Daisy was less smart but less nuts than Daisy #1.

Years later, when our son Steve was born, he was “the second child” in our family — Daisy was the first — and he was so enchanted with the dog that he wanted to help her by removing an ear or her tail. As you can imagine, Daisy wasn’t thrilled by this activity. Ergo, Daisy had to go.

In the late ’60s, I met and fell in love with a Maltese named Chatty who belonged to Pat and Ken Page. Chatty was a tiny, bright, and pretty dog, but I was most impressed that Chatty would hump everything he possibly could.

After a begrudging approval from my wife, I went to see the breeder who had sold Chatty to the Page’s.

I fell in love with a two-pound ball of white fluff named, would you believe, Floriana Annabelle. I forgot the Florianna, and she became just Annabelle, a name that suited her — even though my children quickly renamed her Anna, or at times Annear’s.

Annabelle traveled to New York from London on Pan American Airlines sitting in the empty first class seat next to me. She was a great chick magnet. Almost all of the passengers came to pay her a visit.

Everyone loved Annabelle, and she became a major part of our family. When Eileen would go to sleep, Annabelle would jump up on her bed and sleep on her pillow, above her head. When Steve would go to sleep, Annabelle would repeat the activity.

It seemed to take only a moment or two for my children to go off to college, for my wife and I to get divorced, and for my beloved Annabelle to die.

Then one day I met and fell in love with Valerie.

Valerie had recently returned to California from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, along with her two doggies, Pearl, an eight-year-old black lab, and Jerry, a six-month-old golden doodle. Jerry was smart, playful, crazy, clever, stupid, brilliant, and incredibly, incredibly adorable.

When Valerie died two years ago, the two loves of my life went away, as Jerry moved back to Colorado.

I remain dog-less.

I’m one of the few people in the world who doesn’t have a dog and keeps two boxes of dog biscuits in the cupboard and one box in my car.

I have a wonderful five-year-old granddaughter, Josie, in New York. Josie’s family has two cats. She and I have developed the following routine:

GRANDPA: Josie, what is grandpa going to get for you?


GRANDPA: Josie, what will the ENOURMOUS doggie have?

JOSIE: Gigantic sharp teeth.

GRANDPA: And what will this ENOURMOUS doggie with the gigantic sharp teeth do?

JOSIE: Eat the kitties.

I know, I know, what a terrible thing for me to do, but we all know it’s all in fun, and Josie and I laugh when we do the routine.

We also laugh because I hardly ever use the word “dog” or “dogs.” I’ve chosen to call them “doggies.”