Jimmy had a variety of toys as a pup but his favorite was very unusual — a pink flamingo. Stephanie and I had received this large plastic bird as a gag-wedding gift a few years earlier. I presented it to Jimmy shortly after he arrived at our home, and he took to it immediately. Right away, he pounced on it, picked it up by its neck and carried it around the room, despite the fact that the three-foot-tall flamingo dwarfed Jimmy’s short, puppy frame. He often carried it around with him, occasionally stopping to chew on it. We kept the flamingo in Jimmy’s plastic toy box, its head and neck towering above the rest of his possessions. Sadly, we eventually had to throw it away because it started to break into pieces.
Jimmy as a puppy. He was SO cute and sweet. We didn’t know then that he was born with hip dysplasia and that was the most comfortable way for him to lay.
Jimmy loved going to the beach with us. He never cared much for playing in the water. Because he was part poodle, the water heavily weighed him down. At least that is how we explained his aversion to getting wet. But he did love to sit beneath the umbrella with a cold bowl of water, watching the world go by. He loved to watch people but would growl at the dogs long after they had passed by, giving him a sense of power without having to fight for it. As they disappeared into the distance it seemed that Jimmy’s growl caused them to leave. This would always make us laugh. “Tough dog,” we would say.
Jimmy also enjoyed walking down the beach with his nose in the wind. A windy day compressed all the smells and, in a sense, compressed time. At least that’s how we liked to view it. He knew the word “wind” and when hearing the word would put his nose in the air. Jimmy was a very sweet dog.
When Jimmy was around 10 years old, he had two run-ins with the police, both occurring within the same year. This was his only crime spree except for the occasional pedestrian violations that he was quietly guilty of during his walks.
The first incident occurred at a hotel. We always took Jimmy on our trips, and one weekend we traveled to Athens, Georgia, for a surprise birthday party for Stephanie’s mother. On the evening of the party, we had to leave Jimmy alone at the hotel for a few hours. Jimmy was usually well behaved, but on this night — for some reason — he howled constantly, prompting the people in the next room to call the police.
Later on that year we were staying at Stephanie’s father’s house in New Jersey. We went to New York City for an evening and had to leave Jimmy alone in the house. Somehow he tripped the security system, which automatically alerted the police. When we arrived at the house, the police were there with an automated voice repeating, “Alert: Sector A.” Jimmy greeted us at the door, unaware of the trouble he had caused. Jimmy was reluctant to cross state lines after these two encounters with the boys in blue.