We were talking recently about our first home here in Forsyth County, a smallish three-bedroom, two-bath home near the Ducktown community.
We moved in with not too many home furnishings, less money and our 6-month-old black Labrador, Wolfgang. Yes, his middle name was Amadeus.
We had never raised a dog before, so not unlike a first child, Wolfgang endured our trials and many errors when it came to training him.
A beautiful dog, Wolfie was as strong as an ox and could jump straight up from all four legs — we called it “boinging.”
Our yard was not fenced in, so Paul built a large pen of sorts that backed up to the pasture next to it.
Wolfgang loved barking at the cows in the pasture and would run back and forth in his pen telling them not to come too close to our property.
As he grew, so did his “boinging” abilities. Soon he realized he could jump so high he could escape his pen.
One day, when I was holding a baby on my hip, the hand of a toddler and was pregnant with our third child, I went outside to go somewhere.
I saw one of those sights that you are not quite sure you are actually seeing. Wolfgang was hanging upside down, his back leg hung in the wire of the fence. His head was probably 6 inches off the ground, so he was hanging completely upside down.
I screamed, of course. Then, the baby began to cry. I saw his leg caught in the fence, but try as I might couldn’t free it.
Wolfgang seemed to sense I was trying and never once winced or cried out in pain. There I was, kind of out in the middle of nowhere, with nobody to help free our dog.
So I did what any young wife would do, I paged my husband, who worked in Atlanta. I didn’t just page him though; I needed to make sure he called me right away. So when I punched in our phone number, I added our agreed upon distress signal, 911.
Within minutes Paul called. Remember, this was when cell phones were few and far between.
We did have one, which he bought for me when I was pregnant with our first child, but it was a “bag phone.” Big, bulky and expensive, it was only for real emergencies, such as if I was in the car and needed help.
He had been in a car with his boss, and had to ask him to immediately find a pay phone. They pulled into a gas station and he called me.
I told him, through frantic tears what was happening and he said he would be home as soon as possible. I sat outside with Wolfgang and told him to hang on, no pun intended.
When Paul arrived and approached Wolfgang with some wire cutters, Wolfie greeted his master with a wagging tail. How loyal are those four-legged friends?
Paul cut him down and that crazy dog ran off, without so much as a scratch.
Paul then turned to me, put his hands on my shoulders and said in his most serious voice, “From now on, animal problems are 811. For you or baby issues, use 911.”
We have laughed about that many times since. So funny to think how we used to go all day without necessarily speaking to our spouses and children. Compare that to today, with our smart phones, when we have the ability for constant communication.
As for Wolfgang, well he died before his fifth birthday. Paul found him one morning way up in our woods.
We were heartbroken and even had an autopsy performed to find out how such a thing could have happened. They said at some point he had an infection and it spread to his heart.
He brought us some great memories and I’m glad we still have those to remind us of him.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.