Meet Bodie

Bob Pryor with new puppy Bodie | Photo by Nathan Sparks

The puppy has arrived at the Pryor residence. The clothes and furniture are in trouble.

Against the advice of everyone who knows us, my wife and I have adopted an eight-week-old Golden Retriever puppy. We are not new to dogs, especially Golden Retrievers, but it’s been many years since we had a puppy to raise. To be perfectly frank, she’s now only three months old and she’s killing us.

We named our new baby “Bodine Brown” (cause she’s fun to be around), but everyone calls her Bodie. When our kids were young, we had a travel cassette that included novelty songs and one about a girl named Bodine Brown, who likes to go to parties and put her hands under her armpits to make that squishy sound. The kids loved the song and our boys began calling their younger sister “Bodine Brown,” so the name has long been part of our family tradition. It seemed natural to name the puppy Bodie after the girl in the song who was “fun to be around.”

Well, now, Bodine Brown she’s a friend of mine
But she’s about as feminine as Frankenstein
She’s just a little bit funky
And she’s put on a few pounds
But she’s fun to be around.
— R. J. Powell, 1982

At the risk of upsetting my cat-loving friends, I am an unadulterated, born again, dog lover of the first order. I’ve been the proud owner of many dogs over my lifetime, but now have a true preference for Golden Retrievers. I don’t have anything against cats except I’ve never met a cat that cared about or needed me. Dogs have always loved me and they are so needy. All of our children are now dog owners and Bodie has two Golden nieces to play with.

Bodie looks cute and harmless, but she has sharp nails and the teeth of a young wolf. I took her to PetSmart to have her claws trimmed and told the girl that I would gladly give her $100 to also pull her teeth. She declined. I’ve lost a lot of blood since Bodie came to live with us. My bathroom looks like a trauma center, and we can’t seem to keep enough Band-Aids. My hands and arms are covered with scars and scratches and, as I write this article, I am sporting ten Band-Aids, including some with cartoon characters.

It’s been a long time since we’ve house- and crate-trained a puppy, but we seem to be holding our own. I get up three times during the night, and I’ve lost a lot of sleep. I’d like to say I’m spending a lot time in the middle of the night standing around in the yard in my pajamas, but I haven’t worn pajamas in years. I tried to teach her to ring a strap of bells hanging on the door knob to signal her need to go outside and potty. So far, the only thing my training has accomplished is she regularly and vigorously rings the bells when she comes back in.

I’m not exaggerating when I say it is total chaos at our house. Everything we buy for Bodie must say “long-lasting.” She needs chew sticks and bones that will keep her occupied a long time so we can get on with life. We buy lots of big chew sticks to keep her from chewing on our furniture, but they are so expensive I think we could save money by letting her go on and eat the furniture. Toys must be indestructible. For the most part, she ignores her expensive “puppy playpen” in favor of a cardboard box. For no apparent reason, Bodie goes crazy at least twice a day and zooms through the house (at least that part without temporary barricades). We pulled up all of our area rugs to protect them from the Queen of Destruction, and now she can’t get good traction and slides into furniture and walls like Pete Rose in his heyday.

We’re learning lots of new stuff with this pup. Did you know they now sell dog “calming treats” with marijuana as an ingredient? I bought some at PetSmart and since she’s so young I break the treats and only give her one-half and I eat a whole one. They are remarkably effective for both of us. (That’s the second time I’ve referenced my new favorite store, PetSmart—do you think they will give me a discount for the free advertising?) We have also discovered that Bodie sleeps best to the tinkling piano and recorded announcements when placed on hold by Walgreen’s. It’s hypnotizing to her. Anytime we want her to relax and go to sleep, we simply put our cell phone on speaker and call Walgreen’s and ask to speak to a pharmacist. We find that’s always good for a two-hour nap. Of course, it will all be worth it after Bodie receives $3,000 in intensive training after which she will probably still pull me down the street when she takes me for a walk. For now, I’m condemned to a life of chasing after my shoes and my socks and regularly cleaning up after a toilet paper parade where she runs through the house streaming toilet tissue like a cheap homecoming float.

Please understand that we are in all of this mess for just one thing—puppy love. She has the most beautiful face and the sweetest personality. Her mother and father live in Andersonville on Golden Acres Farm, and from all indications she’s going to make a great companion for two dedicated dog lovers. The great thing about Bodie is she already knows I’m her best friend and she loves me.

Our last two Golden Retrievers were wonderful and loyal dogs. I remember sitting in the floor with each as the vet lovingly assisted them to go to their forever sleep. It’s truly amazing how much you can come to love a pet like our Molly (2003 – 2014) and our Maggie (2012 – 2023) and how it hurts when they leave the comfort and protection that you build for them.

Her love is unconditional and that just makes me stronger. So the greatest wish I want to come true. I want my dog to live longer.
— Curtis Salgado

My dog history is long, but not all is memorable. It all started when a mutt followed me home from elementary school. My mother let me keep it, and that experience led me to a Cocker Spaniel, a Boxer, a Shih Tzu, a Peekapoo, a Labrador Retriever, and now three Golden Retrievers. I’m still trying to forget the melodrama associated with two or three (we’re still not sure) St. Bernards. You see, I bought a beautiful St. Bernard puppy when our kids were quite young, and he became the mascot of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, that puppy, Wally I, disappeared so I bought a second St. Bernard puppy (Wally II). One Sunday morning, a man called and said that our St. Bernard had come onto his property in a thunderstorm the previous day and would I please come and get him. I returned with what I thought was Wally II and a Dachshund that was his traveling companion at the time of the storm. My family insisted that the refugee St. Bernard was not Wally II, and no one knew anything about the wiener dog. My wife argued that the refugee was actually Wally I rather than Wally III. In any event, it didn’t matter because both the refugee and the wiener dog disappeared within a matter of weeks causing me to be dogless for several years just trying to cope with the conundrum.

One December the Shih Tzu and the Peekapoo, acting together in a conspiratorial manner, ate two whole country hams delivered to our front porch as a Christmas gift. They drank water continuously for a week. The black Lab ate two sport coats and a pinstriped suit delivered to our porch from an Atlanta Big-and-Tall shop. I would have looked great in that suit. The black Lab loved the swimming pool, but would shed so much fur that anybody who followed him into the water came out looking like Chewbacca, the Wookiee.

Our all-time favorites were Molly and Maggie, two beautiful British cream Golden Retrievers. Molly was 9 years old when we adopted Maggie to be her friend and protégé in her older years. They were inseparable. Molly taught Maggie how to climb the stairs and how to calm down when she got too rowdy. Molly always had a calming effect on Maggie, who regularly used her as a pillow. We traveled a lot with Molly and Maggie, and Molly would quietly ride and sleep in the car. Maggie would stand up most of the way like a kid wanting to know “Are we there yet?” It was wonderful owning two dogs because they were not only such great companions for us and our family, but also for each other.

Like proud parents, it’s great to be back in the baby business. Bodie is going to be a great addition to our dog-loving family. I’ll keep you posted on our grand adventure.

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