Earlier this spring, the Haglund family bid adieu to a longtime member of our family, Wolfy.
Wolfy, a rat dog, a mutt, a smelly little fellow low on looks and high on personality, was put to sleep at a veterinarian’s office. He was mostly blind and deaf, had a lot of tumors, and was suffering from dementia.
Worst of all, Wolfy had a voice, one which we Haglunds used to speak as Wolfy, a swarthy voice that sounded tinged with equal parts fake mexican and french accents, which we would use to explain why certain people places or things would be humped or barked at.
Wolfy was originally my cousin Leonor’s dog. Unfortunately, my Uncle David, Leonor’s dad, can’t really be described as a fan of any dog, and even less so Wolfy. Wolfy once took a nice large bite out of Uncle David’s arse, and honestly, from that day forth, I think he kind of had a taste for it. So their relationship could only be described as contentious.
Leonor got Wolfy some time in the early to mid ’90s. We had our first family dog, Henry a year or two before she got Wolfy. Eventually though, they were told (apparently) that they needed to have Wolfy out of the place they were renting or they’d be evicted. Wolfy was bound for Arizona to live with Grandma, with a short stop at our house in Oak Park before she could pick him up.
For some reason, Wolfy gelled with us Haglunds. He took to being Henry’s sidekick and little buddy. By the time Grandma was ready to bring him home, we decided that he already was home– with us.
This strange, gross dog, was our strange gross dog. He learned to bark from Henry, and learned that if someone passed in front of THEIR bay window, THEIR territory, barking at them, incessantly would cause the intruder to run away in mortal fear (or, you know, they were just walking by and the sidewalk and passed out of the dogs’ field of view.
Wolfy liked to escape, though how he managed to slip through the gates with his considerable girth was a mystery. HE would head for the park, or down the block, but most of all, he would cross the street to our neighbors, the Simons’ house. That was where Keesha, a purebred female of some showy and fluffy breed lived. I think Wolfy may have sort of had a thing for her.
Not that Wolfy swung just one way though- another time, Tyler returned home from the University of Colorado with his dog, Cash, a pitbull mix, as well as his roommate and his roommate’s dog, Escobar, a 75-pound white-and-tan un-neutered pure-blooded pitbull who was used to being dominant.
Anyway, Henry, the Alpha dog of our house, did not take kindly to Escobar using his backyard to pee. Henry gnashed and thrashed and barked and slobbered at the rear window so that he could get out there, and kill Escobar. What would have happened is that Henry would have been thrashed and maybe killed by Esco.
That never happened though. Wolfy wasn’t alpha and never wanted to be. He gave Henry a look through the glass that said, “Don’t worry Henry….I’ve got this. I think that I’m going to hump it.”
And hump it he did. I have never seen a dog look so confused as a giant majestic pitbull being humped in the middle of the yard by a diminutive rat dog who could barely even reach the site of the business that was being conducted. As a side note, yes they were both males, as if that matters in the slightest. I like to think that Wolfy spent the rest of the day bragging about the deed to Henry, who was probably a little grossed out.
Life was good with Wolfy as a Haglund The years passed, punctuated only by the sound of incessant barking and by us Haglund boys growing into Haglund men. We all loved Wolfy, but Wolfy probably was closest to Willy, the middle brother, who shared a special bond with the Wolf.
See what I mean? Look at that photo and tell me if you have ever seen a dog so happy to be near a person and an assault rifle.
Eventually, Henry would pass on, leaving the title of lead barker to Wolfy, who had long since taken up the mantle anyways. One morning, I awoke to a long fit of barking only to discover that Wolfy had “cornered” an opossum atop a six foot fence. Long story short, I poked it off of there and into the neighbor’s yard with a stick, but as far as Wolfy knew, he killed it.
As Wolfy aged, he lived a more and more isolated life, as his senses largely left him and no kids lived at the house anymore. Still returning home always would have some visiting with Wolfy.
As of 2014, Wolfy was around 18-22 years old. He was no longer the dog he once was, but he wasn’t dead yet either. Opinions varied on what to do. One camp suggested that Wolfy should be euthanized as his quality of life was simply not what it once was. The opposing view wondered, “could Wolfy live to be 30?” That was not to be though. After he was put to sleep, pleas to “Slice him open and count the rings” were cruelly ignored.
In the end, what we have left of Wolfy are several dogs worth of fur shed at the Oak Park house over the decades and a lot of very fond, if slightly gross, memories.