She looked like a teddy bear. All golden fur. There was an instant attraction. She bit Johnner and I didn’t like Johnner all that much. He clattered her and threw her on the ground. Next she bit Easer. He kicked her. They all started kicking her. I picked her up, patted her on the head. She bit me. I slapped her head. She licked my hand. We were smitten.
I brought her home hoping my family would let me keep her. Ma didn’t like puppies but this one was a beauty. Half german shepherd, half golden labrador with the alsation black mouth and tail and the labradors golden body. When she moved it was like music. My Ma saw that I loved her and let me keep her. The minute I got home I gave her a bowl of cornflakes with milk. She gobbled down the whole bowl. I could see she was starving so I gave her some more. Three and a half bowls later she fell asleep. When she woke up that evening she did a big shite on the floor so my Dad kicked her out the back garden.
I reckoned she was only about eight weeks old and wondered how she ended up wandering the streets of Finglas. She had this habit of trying to get on buses so I figured someone had taken her up here on a bus and dumped her. Their loss and my gain. She was like a big baby dog and her beauty and teddy bear fur gained her popularity with my friends.
Practically everyone on my block had a dog and we took training them very seriously. She trained almost fully in a day and a half and was very obedient. We used to hang out on some wasteland at the back of the houses and we’d play hide and seek with the dogs. I’d make her sit with her back to us and tell her to stay. Then we’d run off and hide. Sometimes she’d cheat and turn her head to look. She hated me being out of her sight, but she eventually got into the spirit of the game and let us hide. I’d whistle and she, with her keen sense of smell, would find us straight away.
She grew big and strong, and with her viscous streak, became my protector. If anyone walked too close behind us she’d turn and growl. Word spread and soon I could walk in any area of the neighbourhood without being attacked. This gave me a great sense of freedom and security. A sense of confidence fell over me.
A year later we had to go on holidays and we couldn’t bring her. We had to put her in a kennel. When we came home she was like a skeleton. Her spine stood up high on her back and all her ribs were visible. The owner said she pined so much she wouldn’t eat anything for the two weeks. I took her home and made her a bowl of soup. She lapped it up. I only gave her small amounts of food for the first day. Little and often and built her back up over the next month. The next time we went away was the same. She ate nothing. I offered to stay home alone with her after that but my Dad said I was too young. So we tied her up on a very long rope in a huge shed we had down the back garden and a neighbour, Mrs. Fox, brought her in her food every day. When we came home she was as fat as a fool. Mrs. Fox had fed her very well. As usual she was delighted to see us, jumping on me and licking me for at least ten minutes.
A few days later Mrs fox heard a knock on her door. She answered it and there was no-one there. Then she looked down and saw the dog. The dog went into the hall , licked her legs for a couple of minutes and then went on her merry way. It was if she had said thanks for looking after me and returning my family. Did I mention she could knock on doors.
Naming her was a strange affair. I had a friend who’s old family dog was called Roscoe. For some unexplained reason I loved that name and called my dog Roscoe too. A couple of years later, when still very young. I got a job in a bar and had a boss I didn’t like nicknamed Roscoe on account of the fact he was born in county Roscommon. So when my workmates found out my dog was called Roscoe they thought I had named her after him as some type of revenge and disrespect. When the boss found out he didn’t see the funny side and was a little hurt. He shouldn’t have felt that way though ‘cause I held the dog in very high esteem.
The years flew in and I grew to my early twenties, meanwhile Roscoe grew old, and like other german shepherds her hips gave in. She used to drag them around. Although she was in discomfort she seemed very happy and the vet was giving me pills for her. By this time I was a mobile mechanic and was working out of an old van. She came with me every day. Once, when I was in a hurry and not going to bring her, she dragged herself down to the passenger side and put her two front paws up on the seat so I couldn’t leave without her. I smiled at the love, lifted her in and off we went. One evening we came home and while I was taking the tools from the van she lay down on the lawn in the front garden. I called her in for her feed but nothing, No response. I lifted her up but she just fell over and gave a little whimper. I knew there was something seriously wrong.
I lifted her into the van and went straight to the vet. He said she’d had a stroke and that there was nothing he could do. After all she was fourteen. I had to make the decision. I held her as he pressed the syringe and stayed with her till she went stiff. I felt like I’d betrayed her but there was nothing else I could do. That night I had a dream. In it she was young and agile and running ‘round the football pitches, chasing wood pidgeons up by the dump. If there is a doggy heaven, and I believe there is, then she is there. See you someday Roscoe.