Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Finding a Friend in Dakota

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner (comedian)

I lived in the dorms my first three years as a student at Creighton University. During my junior year, five of my fraternity brothers and I decided we would move off campus to a large house on Cuming Street about eight blocks from campus.

This decision allowed me to buy the dog I always wanted. I pulled the trigger a bit earlier than I was supposed as I bought the dog while I was living in the Palms (now Kenefick Hall). Dakota, my six week-old English Springer Spaniel lived in the dorm with me for about two weeks before the spring semester ended.

That presented a few special challenges and a few messes on the floor. But with the help and understanding of my two roommates, we made it to the end of the semester.
Dakota laying on my waterbed in our "corner room".

We moved into the house, a three-story, six-bedroom palace, in late May. I claimed the corner bedroom on the second floor that looked out over the roof of the over the back third of the house. I had seven windows that opened up to this roof. The roof was just below the bottom of the windows.

Dakota could jump out the window onto the roof and relieve herself and then come back into my room. That particular skill became a priority as soon as we moved in.

After a few successful ventures onto the roof and some heaping praise, Dakota figured it out. Needless to say, taking a leak worked fine - no residual. The other trips, did present a bit more of an issue.

Not even Omaha's spring rain deluges were enough to wash away the "doggy-do". I thought I could ignore it until the heat and Omaha's summer moved in. Of course, the prevailing summer southeast wind was just the wrong direction.

After about two months, I finally made my way out onto the roof to remove the "residue". It wasn't a pleasant job but it had to be done.

Dakota in the backyard of our home in Omaha.
The arrangement worked out well for the duration of our stay in that house. I left the same window open for Dakota each morning when I left the house and she was able to do "her thing" when needed.

My room got a bit chilly during the day on some of those winter mornings in January and February but we managed!

Dakota was a loyal companion during that final year at Creighton, as I entered the working world, when I got married, as we moved back to Des Moines then to (South) Dakota, when we moved into a new home and as welcomed our two oldest kids into the world. She died in 1995 at the age of 14.

Dakota spent her first year in this world living with six fraternity boys. I think she knew everything would be easier after that!

Dakota meets our new baby Rachel
Alex and Dakota became great buddies!

Our last photo with Dakota - Christmas 1994

Updated February 6, 2018:

I was reminded of Dakota's best trick. When we lived in Des Moines, if I would leave my slipper in the right place, she would retrieve them for me on command. It would take two trips but she was like clockwork. Man's best friend!


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