Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 23, 2014

03/23/2014 — Lee Ward: Paying tribute to loyal friend

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — More bad news at my house: My Manny died.

At 12, he lived a long life for a Carolina dog, but when it’s your pet, it’s never a long enough life.

At his healthiest, Manny was 65 pounds of machismo who didn’t like to hear the vacuum cleaner or get his feet dirty and had to carefully sniff treats before he would eat them. This led to some pretty funny behavior, which is what I would prefer to remember about the little devil.

‰When my husband brought Manny into the house, he was a puppy without a home. Even as I protested, my husband brought the puppy to me and placed him against my chest and in my arms, where he immediately snuggled up for a nap. He was officially a member of the family.

‰He worshipped Louie, our border collie who was old, ill and in no mood for a puppy. Manny begged him to play, laying down on his back to show submission and whining to get his attention.

‰Once my husband wanted to take puppy Manny to his favorite dive to show him off. I was in the kitchen and they were in the living room. My husband cleaned up, brushed him and put a hand-me-down leather collar on him. I overheard him tell Manny, “Now you look like a little gentleman.” To me, it was a precious moment.

‰Manny grew into a dog who had the weight of the world on his back. He thought it was up to him to keep away all threats to the house, and especially threats to his mommy. As a result, only a few humans were allowed in our house: one of my friends, one of my husband’s friends and my mother-in-law. He even growled at one of my friends when he approached me while I was lying down: he was bringing me medicine when I was sick and Manny, lying on the bed with me, would not allow even a friend to approach when I was in such a vulnerable position.

‰Manny broke out two windows. Both times, he had spotted squirrels outside. Barking wasn’t enough, so he charged at them, not understanding there were panes of glass between them.

‰In his world, it wasn’t macho to show you were enjoying something, so when Marcie gave Manny his daily eye and ear licking, he tried to be cool about it. He allowed her to lick but he didn’t act happy about it. However, if you paid attention, you could see him relax as he got his love from his sister. He enjoyed the attention and affection.

‰He barked like other dogs, especially when there was thunder or a UPS truck in the neighborhood, but Manny made other noises that likely were specific to his breed, which is genetically similar to the Australian dingo. One of my friends thought he was purring.

‰Not interested in traditional dog toys, Manny preferred an empty tissue box or paper towel roll. He didn’t just play with it; he stripped it apart and ate it.

‰Manny liked to greet me with a toy, which he then denied me access to. But he smiled when he did it. Literally, he showed some of his front teeth in what we humans consider a friendly gesture.

‰Here’s a food trend Manny started: He begged for ice cubes. As soon as Marcie joined the family, it caught on. She got behind him when he begged at the freezer and waited her turn to beg for ice.

In fact, Marcie imitated Manny in many ways. From him, she learned to bark at thunder, chase cats out of the yard and even protect her mommy from thunder. Neither one of us can forget him. Neither of us wants to.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.