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Sunday, May 25, 2008

The tale of Caspian

     I thought I would tell a little story about a dog named Caspian.  Really, Prince Caspian, but if you had know him, you would realize that title was a bit formal for him.  I just called him Caspian--though, it was my brothers, I believe, who christened him Pee Dog.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  When I was about ten years old, all I wanted for my birthday was a dog. Specifically, a dachschund (affectionately know as a weiner dog). My mom had thrilled me with stories of her dog when she was growing up, CeCe (she had a much longer name that I can phonetically pronounce, but could not even begin to spell...well, maybe I could begin the spelling--I mean, I know it starts with an M, but after that, I'm at a loss).  And CeCe was a dachshund.  My mom even has a picture of herself dressed up for halloween one year as Little Bo Peep, her hair in long brown curls and her little girl-self holding a shepherd's staff--and who do you think is dressed up in cotton balls as her lost little sheep?  Yep, Cece.  Anyway, I really wanted a little dachshund to dress up. And take outside.  And sleep with in my bed.  So, my birthday rolled around and I stubbornly would not ask for anything else.  I knew my pop was a hard sell and didn't want to get me a dog, but if I wasn't gonna get a dog for my birthday, then I wasn't gonna get anything.  So be it.  However, since I've already told you the name of the dog, then you probably can figure out that my pop relented.  I was summoned one morning to speak with him, and was told the happy news that they had located a dachshund dealer--or er, breeder--and mom was going to take me very soon to pick out a puppy.  Happy birthday, indeed! 

         So, I picked out Caspian.  He was originally called Cowboy, but it didn't take long for me to change that.  He had white fur with brown spots and lots of freckles on his pink belly.  He had very snaggly teeth and an underbite, making it so that he never would have won a dog show, but I didn't care.  I loved him.  He had the softest, silkiest red-brown ears you'll ever find.  They were so silky, in fact, that my dear friend Erin always said that she wanted to make them into a fur bra for herself.  This was not because she was into animal cruelty, it was just because she was into very soft things.  Caspian would sit at my feet, just near the pedals when I played the piano.  He slept in my bed at night, creating a wonderfully warm little spot at my feet where he curled up in sleep.  He licked my tears when I cried.  He loved me desperately and was content to just be with me.  
       However, Caspian was not perfect.  Considering his nickname of Pee Dog, I am sure you can imagine one of his struggles.  He was very bad at holding his pee.  He would get excited, or scared, or maybe just breathe, and would suddenly start to pee.  In the house, on my parent's carpet.  He would also poop in the house a good deal.  This was because he was very small and the outdoors was very big and he hated going out there.  It might also have been because I was not the best at walking him...Nah--couldn't be. It was probably just that he was scared of outside...One time, my pop excitedly found me and I detected a hint of pride in his voice as he told me that Caspian was, at that moment, wrestling a snake in our garden.  I was so happy because my pop had never been proud of Caspian before.  We tip-toed up to the conquering hero, and couldn't help but notice that the snake was just a sock.  Caspian had wrestled a sock to the ground. Whoop-de-doo.  So, maybe he wasn't ever gonna be Caspian-the-Snake-Wrestler, but I loved him anyway.   
       Then there was Caspian's love-life.  He was fixed, but that didn't seem to quell his desire for a girlfriend.  In fact, there was one stuffed animal that he particularly liked.  It was my Pink Raccoon.  She was striped and had a little baby raccoon that was sewn permanently into her arms. So, maybe it was nice of Caspian to be interested in a single mother--maybe he helped out with her baby and was a father-figure to him.  But, what he mostly did with her is unmentionable in this blog.  And it really grossed me out.  I would often try to hide the Pink Raccoon high up on a shelf.  But Caspian would know she was there and would bark repeatedly.  It got so bad that he would loose his voice and this horrible, raspy sound would come from him--raw with desire for the Pink Raccoon.  Anyway, I would finally relent and would go into the room quickly, get her down, and shut the door behind me...It made me feel like a pimp.  But despite even that, I loved Caspian.
       However, I got older and eventually went to school in Philadelphia.  I didn't really have the time to take care of Caspian, and my parents didn't enjoy his...habits in the house.  So, arrangements were made for him to temporarily stay with Neil (one of the pastors in my church) and his family.  He left and I started to get reports back that Caspian was having a wonderful time.  Neil's wife, Katy, is a clown and had incorporated Caspian into her act.  He was riding around on a wagon, dressed up and paraded before many adoring fans--and apparently his stage name was Pork N Beans (this most definitely did NOT make me happy--but what could I do?).  Caspian had hit stardom, and who was I to hold him back? He was happy, taken care of--with people a lot--whereas, I couldn't give him that much time and attention. And I certainly wasn't able to make him famous! So, his move became permanent--with the understanding that Neil would give me reports on how my dog was doing (and that he would never call him Pork N Beans around me).  
       After a few months, the reports stopped coming and I was so busy, I forgot to ask for them.  Finally, after another few months, I found myself driving in the car with my mom.  Caspian popped into my mind and I asked my mom if she had heard how he was doing.  Well, my mom is terrible at lying and her face does this tightening thing that is unnatural when she even tries to.  When I saw her face do that, I knew something was up.  My family also has a horrible habit of laughing at bad news...My mom then burst into a torrent of laughter--and was crying a little , too. Simultaneously.  She only got three words out, but they were enough: He's dead, honey.
      Neil had accidentally run Caspian over with his car.  He had been dead for a few months and everybody had kept it from me, thinking that I would just never ask about him again...Not the best plan, I gotta say.  Neil felt terrible, and I know he took very good care of Caspian up until that point--the point when he ran Caspian over with his car.  Since then, I have forgiven him, though. Really.
      So, that is the tale of Caspian, may he rest in peace.  
       
      
       

16 comments:

Mom said...

Oh, no....my nightmare has happened: the telling of Caspian's demise on the internet. How does one explain laughing at a favored dog's death? Several Latshaws have this problem of laughing during horrible times--we've named it a laughing disorder. Hopefully there will be therapy for it once it has been discovered by the APA.

My dog I had throughout my childhood was Ma Petite Saucisse. CiCi. Sadly, another Pee Dog.

Jason said...

That was hilarious. (Not the death, the parts up until the death). Good times. Oh that pink racoon... Caspian needed a support group or something.

My favorite Caspian moment was when I had friends over and he was so excited that he rushed into the middle of the room, flipped over on his back and started spinning around breakdance style WHILE PEEING. He was like a demonized water sprinkler! I didn't even know what to say to explain. I guess it retrospect, you have to respect the effort, Caspian wasn't going to settle for your old mundane peeing, he was an innovator. An artiste.

Jessica Latshaw said...

lol--ok, I just knew that mom let us know the full name of her dog, which is why I didn't even try--thank you, mom! And Jase, that story about Caspian explains a little how he finally got into showbusiness...

Kathiek said...

I remember Caspian. He was an oddly endearing little dog...endearing enough that you would say, "Oh!", when you saw him...odd enough that you would rapidly walk away so as not to be the unwitting victim of his nervous habit. Still, a childhood pet is a sacred thing. I have fond memories of the last 2 cats I had before I became allergic to cats (come to think of it, they were probably the ones that sensitized me and made me allergic), Sundance and Cleo. Sundance nursed on my earlobe and Cleo slept in my bed and would not let anyone but me near her when she had her babies. Now Lynn has to put her poor cats out of the house whenever I come over so I don't get blisters on my eyeballs, or have an asthma attack. And if they happen to find their way into the house while I am visiting, who do you think they make a beeline for...that's right, me!

peaj said...

Man, when I started reading this blog, I never thought I'd get the inside dirt on Ben Barnes. The things you learn...

Lady Leth said...

Oh caspian, I really loved that little smelly dog! Remember how I would roll him on the ground? He was special in many ways.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Yes, Elizabeth--i know Caspian had a very special place in your heart--and vice versa!

Susan Marie said...

Jess- you really are a terrific story teller. I feel like I knew Caspian, even though I've really only ever heard stories. That's a hallmark of a great writer.

Ruth said...

I haven't thought of your dear Caspian in years! A flood of memories came flooding back to me of him, of you and of that time!

I didn't know what became of him and laughed in horror of what happened and how everyone with held it from you! aren't your parents counselors? JK!
Well...good old Caspian and the pink raccoon!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Hey Ruth!! Yeah--they didn't handle this as well as they could have, that's for sure...I think it's funny that they thought/hoped I would just completely forget about my special childhood pet...Oh well, you live and learn, I guess:-)

jason j said...

Jess, those stories made me laugh out loud. (well at least I did my best to contain it since I should be filling prescriptions now)

We're currently replacing all the carpet in our house because of our dogs similar bladder problems, so I feel your pain.

My favorite Latshaw dog was Aragorn. When I first came around he was really old and just laid around all the time. I used to think he was dead, but every time I came back he was in a new spot sleeping, so I was relieved. I also loved that the first time I asked someone what his name was, I thought they said "Airborne" which was hilarious, because all he ever did was sleep.

jonathan said...

Jess,

Wow, how to begin commenting on this little unique overgrown rat-dog? The poor guy had very bad teeth and that made his breathe horrible! You knew when Caspian entered the room.

The main problem was that Caspian's weaknesses with his bladder and your weakness in keeping a clean room created the perfect storm. I remember many times coming into your room with dread in my heart hoping to not step in one of Caspian's gifts...many times there were at least 8-9 little gifts in different sections of your room or on different articles of clothing (remember you never really could see the floor in your room b/c of all the clothes scattered about). Each little gift was at a different stage of decay, creating an almost living history of Caspian's bowel movements.

And although you have made the memory of Caspian very beautiful, I remember that even you would get fed up with that little dog from time to time.

But, he was a piece of this families history, one that help shape who we are today (and you notice that not ONE of the kids have a dog, hmmm, I wonder why?)

Jessica Latshaw said...

Well, Jonathan, I am sorry that not EVERY kid can live like a monk in his perfectly ordered room with nothing but a candle in the corner and a few shirts hanging in the closet...:-) I think the 8-9 Caspian gifts are an exaggeration, though--just for the record.

And I seem to remember the decomposed body of a certain unfortunate axelotle (sp?) was found in your closet. So, i wasn't the only one with animal problems.

jonathan said...

Yeah but did you have the a skeleton of a frog in YOUR closet?

erin said...

Ok Jess. I have been so thoroughly entertained by your blogs this evening. But this one had me laughing like a hyena, causing my roommates to wonder what the heck has been going on in the other room! Also, I snotted on myself. That's what comes from real, uncontrollable laughter. Well, that and other things.... (Caspian and I have that in common. Pee can be an expression of Joy!)
Now, I remember wanting his ears for a fur COAT, not a bra. But now I remember there was some discussion on the matter....:) And you know, I never think of Caspian without thinking of the pink raccoon. The two go hand in hand in my memory. What a pair...
I love that you loved him so much. You may not have made him famous as Katy did, you may not have made him a man as the pink raccoon did, (wow I'm gross!)but(and this must be said cheesily) you made him a legacy... I'm sure, if he is reading this in heaven, you have brought a tear to his little brown puppy dog eyes!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Erin--you make me laugh!!!!!!!! I think the ears would have made just a very very tiny fur coat for you--a bra would have probably been the way to go:-)

Jonathan--that frog has always been a regret of mine! I should have listened when you told me to let him stay in the stream! To this day, his untimely death does not sit well with me. Poor frog.