Cody with one of his happy owners
By Kathy P. Behan
Once upon a time there was a hyperactive, adorable, ball of fur who was in a pet store with his sister and two brothers. He was known by the staff as “Mr. Energy.” A woman named Kathy happened to come by who was continuing her search to try to find which, if any, type of dog she wouldn’t be allergic to. After observing a number of different dogs, she spotted Mr. Energy and his litter mates, and noticed that they were purported to be a hypo-allergenic breed. She asked the clerk if she could be “introduced.”
This woman was no casual dog shopper. She had done a lot of research about types of dogs and the best ways to select a puppy. After noticing that she wasn’t breaking out in hives or having any other sort of allergic reaction, she ran the puppies through a number of different tests and made her selection – one of Mr. Energy’s brothers.
Kathy returned home extremely excited. She had finally found what she hoped would become her family’s pet. She had been keeping her puppy research hidden from her three children because she didn’t want them to have their hearts broken if it turned out she wasn’t able to find a dog that didn’t make her itch. She confided in her husband though, and the two set out to meet what they hoped would be their perfect pet.
The woman took her husband to the schnoodle kennel and happily showed him her selection. The man turned to her and said, “No. I want that one.”
He was pointing at “Mr. Energy” who was wildly hopping up and down in his pen. Kathy was so thrilled at the prospect of finally being able to have a dog, that she immediately agreed. The couple arranged to pick up the puppy later that week.
When they returned home, she decided it would be best to “fib” to her children about the dog. What if it turned out that she couldn’t tolerate the pet’s dander? The children would be devastated. So she came up with a plan. She would tell her kids that she was baby-sitting a puppy for a friend.
On the day that they were to pick up Cody, the woman’s mother happened to be visiting. Grammy had initially been upset that her daughter had used the money she had so carefully “stolen” from her husband to give to her daughter, for the purchase of a dog. But upon meeting Cody, she was immediately smitten. This five-pound energetic furball was so tiny that the pet store owner gave them a cat’s collar and leash to take the dog home. He also promised the women that they could return the pet if he caused Kathy’s allergies to flare up.
The women left the pet store with their adorable purchase. Grammy rode in the middle of the back seat with Cody in her arms. She carefully explained to him that he needed to be very well-behaved in the car because she wasn’t sure she’d be able to properly restrain him if he wiggled too much. Grammy had seen his antics in the pet store and was a bit worried about trying to keep him under control. Cody responded like the perfect gentleman. He snuggled into her lap and barely moved on the ride to his new home.
They set up baby gates around the kitchen to keep the puppy contained but he also had freedom to romp. Kathy spent a lot of time with the dog, petting him and letting him lick her waiting for an allergic reaction that never came. She was optimistic they’d be able to keep this furry treasure.
When the kids came home from school, Kathy told them the prearranged story, and as expected, they were delighted by the puppy. However, Cullen was upset that someone would ask his Mom to dog-sit.
“Doesn’t that lady know you’re allergic?” he demanded.
Kathy reassured him that so far, she was feeling fine.
When it became clear to her later that day, that she was remarkably allergy free, she couldn’t wait any longer and gathered the kids together to tell them the good news – that Cody was theirs.
That was the beginning of what would be a 15-and-a-half-year love affair.
Kathy bought a dog crate and set it up in the kitchen with a check-patterned pad. Cody started off unsure of the contraption but after Kathy put treats and other goodies inside, he was able to make peace with it. At bedtime though, he was resistant to his confinement – especially when he was still located in the kitchen and his family was nowhere to be seen. After a long period of howling, barking and crying, the couple partially relented and had Cody’s crate set up in their bedroom. Almost immediately, he went to sleep.
Cody was just shy of three months old when they got him and he was able to sleep through the night right from the start. Of course, he rose at the crack of dawn needing to relieve himself. The couple would trade off early-morning bathroom duty.
Kathy also set up yarn with sleigh bells on the kitchen’s sliding glass door hoping to teach Cody to “ring the bell” when he needed to go outside. She had heard about this trick from a friend. After quickly learning paper training, Cody also was fast on mastering the art of “doing his business” outside. To get out there, he did indeed learn to ring those bells. Sometimes though, he just rang them cause it was time to play in the backyard.
The one thing that Cody was never really able to master was the art of “walking.” Instead, he would prance, bound, run, frolic, and romp. He would also tug and strain against the leash, not being able to contain his joy and enthusiasm with the wide world waiting to be explored.
Of course, because he was still a puppy, he spent a lot of time sleeping. But when he was awake, he more than made up for his periods of inactivity. He was a whirling dervish of movement and mischief. Ignoring his many chew toys, he chose instead to gnaw the molding off the walls. He would also play fetch with himself, hurling his cloth bone into the air and then attacking it. Tug of war was another of his favorite amusements. He would hang on so tightly that he could actually be lifted off the ground by the object clutched between his jaws.
As much as the family took pride in Cody’s achievements and quick learning, he was actually training all the members of his household as well. He was a noble schnoodle after all, and terriers only do what they choose to do. For instance, another of his favorite games was “keep away.” He would lie in wait for dirty underwear or socks to come his way and then he would pounce. He would grab the object and tear through the house. If he wasn’t chased though, the game wasn’t nearly as fun. Cody would then set out to find the nearest person and taunt him/her with his treasure. He’d be in a crouch with the object clenched between his teeth, tail wagging frantically, as he expectantly watched for signs that a human would race after him and try to take his prize. Hardly anything was as much fun for him as the chase that was likely to ensue because he had trained his family to pursue him.
Cody also adored being walked. As stated earlier, he pranced through the neighborhood greeting every animal and person that he could. And trying to mark his territory as often as allowed. He made many friends on these walks.
One such walk led him to his lifelong friend and companion, Jaspar. Cody was walking with Kathy one day when Cody was about three. They spotted a tiny puppy frantically pawing the front door of a house. It was clear that something was wrong so Kathy approached the “youngster” and rang the doorbell. No one answered. The small dog began following them so Kathy picked him up and decided to take him back to her home. She learned the name of the puppy’s owner and planned to call her. Kathy set up the baby gates again around the kitchen, barricading the two dogs inside. The puppy flung himself at Cody and tore around the room. Cody was amused by the small thing and gently but firmly let him know when he’d had enough. Shortly thereafter, Jaspar took up permanent residence with Cody and his family.
Cody also turned out to be a wonderful teacher – he taught Jaspar to ring the bell to be let out; showed him how to negotiate the dog door; and unfortunately, also showed Jaspar how to react to visitors ringing the front doorbell. The visitor would watch in fear/amazement as Cody would race down the stairs and hurl himself at the glass next to the door, practically doing a backflip off the glass in his excitement. And because Cody barked as long and loudly as he wanted to no matter how the family tried to quiet him, Jaspar soon learned to do the same.
Cody’s treatment of Jaspar was typical. He was a sweet, patient gentleman who was interested in making friends and closely examining every animal and person who came his way.
Over the years, Cody’s brilliance and athletic prowess were evident. He leapt over blocking obstacles with ease, climbed bunk bed ladders, learned to push or pull gates to knock them over, and also taught himself how to open backyard gates so his owners had to also tie them closed. His family had to spell the word “walk” so that Cody wouldn’t go ballistic, but after he caught on to that, they then had to spell it backward. He amazed them with his understanding of many different words and concepts. He was also a great car dog and learned to recognize the landmarks along the way of certain destinations.
Mr. Energy essentially remained that way until he was 15 – 105 in people years. Until about a month before he died, despite a significant weight loss, aging, cancer and a giant leg lymphoma, Cody would routinely go for a spirited walk. Even right before his death, while his “parents,” the doctor and a technician looked on, he walked into the backyard, peed, and then almost looked as if he were going to make a run for it. He couldn’t though, and he also couldn’t out-race time. Cody’s time had come and he died peacefully, outside in his yard, surrounded by some of the people he loved, and laid to rest in his own surroundings.
This noble, gentle, sweet boy will never be forgotten by the family who loved him.