A Dog Named Eric Neil
When we got a Dog as a kid my dad named him Eric Neil – that was supposed to be my name – but my mom named me Eugene Nelson instead. So in a manner of speaking the dog got my name.
Now back in the 70's leash laws were much more relaxed. Eric Neil was allowed to roam free through our suburban neighborhood; although there was lots of open country around and kids and dogs tended to spend a lot of time wondering through fields and forest.
Eric was a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Cockapoo (which is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a poodle). As it was said that meant he had more cock and less poo.
Generally he was a very friendly dog and left the cats alone; although the cats would sometimes pick on him. Eric's favorite hobby was chasing motorcycles. He never did catch one and am not sure what he would have done if he did.
But I will always remember the one day I had finished cleaning the patio sliding glass door; and then the sound of a motorcycle was heard coming down the street. Eric leaped up from his spot in the living room, ran into the kitchen and hit the door at full speed. (I will always remember the way he ran; his hind legs would actually get in front of his front legs.) Well after that Eric always skidded to a stop in front of the patio door and would stick a paw out to make sure it was open.
The dogs in our neighborhood where just like the kids. They had friends up and down the block and ran in packs. Eric used to hang out with a little terrier named Barney (a spade female) and Barney's son (before the spaying) named Ferd. Ferd was a big dog so I am not sure who the pop was.
Eric was a goofy dog. He would try and follow us places and we would have to lock him up if we were going somewhere a long way off.
One day when I was 13 us kids took off into some nearby woods to work on one of our latest projects – a tree fort. Now you have to understand – tree houses are for sissies, but tree forts are cool. Not really sure of what the difference was between the two. Eric followed along.
Well our Tree “fort” was really no more than a bunch of boards nailed into the branches of a big Eucalyptus tree that allowed us to climb around better, set down, and have fun. We were busy putting in more boards when three big doberman's from a few blocks over came and started barking at us – chased us high up the tree.
Well Eric Neil came flying out of the brush from what ever he had been doing and laid into these big dogs. He growled and snarled and snapped. They surrounded him, but he did not run off and actually started to tangle with them. Then they ran off.
I came down and found Eric with a huge gash in his side and picked him up and carried him home; his blood was running down my t-shirt and I was crying because I thought he would die.
My grandfather had been a vet so my dad did all the animal care based on what he had learned with his dad. He disinfected the cut – and Eric did not fight him. It was a few weeks before Eric got moving again but he did survive.
There is no link to Eric Neil except the memories I carry around of him; and I could not find a picture. But I can still see him in my head like it was yesterday.
There was no better dog than Eric Neil.