My Dog Spike
By Forrest W. Schultz
I got the idea of writing "my Dog Spike" from a book with a similar title I just finished reading: My Dog Skip by Willie Morris. But there the similarity ends. For one thing, my father's farm and our Pennsylvania Dutch community were very different – both sociologically and geographically – from the area in Mississippi where Morris spent his boyhood.
More importantly, Spike was a very different kind of dog from Skip. Spike could not perform any great feats, such as playing football or rescuing me from danger. But he excelled any other dog I have ever known or heard of in his friendliness. Spike was such a beloved dog because he was so friendly. I also liked him because he enjoyed taking long walks with me.
Now this brings up one thing I did not like about him – his penchant for running away, which necessitated our keeping him on a leash. Although we tried to be careful, every now and then Spike would get loose and run away. One time he was gone for so long that we thought we would never see him again. Then one day he turned up on the school playground during recess. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Rapp, was very strict but she knew when exceptions were in order: she allowed me to bring Spike into the classroom and I was permitted to use the school telephone to call my mother to come and get him.
My sisters also loved Spike. The best photograph ever taken of him was with my sister Janet.
When I went away to college in Philly, the crowded urban environment there gave me a sort of "claustrophobia" so that after five days I was about at my limit, and so I returned home each weekend of my freshman year. And the first thing I did then was to run in blessed relief through the pastures with my dog Spike.
Morris lacked one great experience with his dog that I had with mine. He was away in England when his dog Skip died. I happened to be back home when my dog Spike died. By then he was very old and spent almost all of his time lying down in the house. I happened to be sitting in a chair near him when he breathed his last. I took him out into the yard and buried him. I was 23 when he died and had had him since I was 9, when he was a puppy. So he had lived the equivalent of about a hundred years for a man.
My mother got other dogs but they were just dogs – none was memorable, as Spike was.