From Mike McCurry’s column in The Clarendon Courier September 4, 2014
It was a chilly weekday morning, and a few children were once again trudging their way to school. But their journey paused as they reached a hanging footbridge and a skinny little dog came running up from behind. A born performer, Snoopy had decided to impress the children by crossing the creek with them — not on the bridge, but on a narrow, elevated sewer pipe! Her little paws pitter-pattered dangerously on the pipe as she fearlessly scampered across. And when she reached the other side, the children exploded with laughter as Snoopy jumped in the air, acknowledging their applause for her high-wire act.
While there aren’t many dogs as talented as Snoopy, on any given day in Clarendon Hills, I see countless people walking their dogs by — and sometimes to — my office. These canine visitors aren’t interested in the local real estate market, and I don’t think they’re there to sniff out which other dogs have “visited” the tree out front. I’m pretty sure that they all stop by for the special cookie treats we keep in my office. Indeed, some dogs won’t leave until we open the door and give them one!
Joey, the yellow lab, gets his treats tossed in the air because one might lose a finger feeding him! He doesn’t seem to mind, though, because he inhales them faster than he can chew them. Frankie the weiner dog is a little harder to notice standing outside of our door; his legs are only six inches long, and he is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen! Then there’s Stella, the bulldog I often bump into at Starbucks in the morning. Stella’s owner usually has to drag her away because she loves being petted by the friendly “coffee hounds” outside. Have you ever seen a bulldog being dragged? Caffeinated or not, that’s a sight that will make you chuckle.
Given the many pooches I see on a daily basis, I figured I didn’t need a dog at home — especially knowing how crazy our home is! Anyone who’s seen four McCurry kids in action would agree that getting a dog would be like adding a tornado to a hurricane. So you can imagine my surprise when my mother-in-law asked me a loaded question in front of the whole clan: “Don’t you want a dog for your family?”
Cutting through the excitement with what I considered a much-needed voice of reason, I provided a stern, fatherly “No!” So of course, a couple weeks later my in-laws brought home a labradoodle puppy.
Our house is now part of the family dog-share program. We get the furry and cuddly Gibbs when my in-laws are out of town or when my children need him, which is often. He has a wonderful temperament, is gentle with our children and loves to follow us around. We couldn’t be happier. We simply can’t get enough of Gibbs!
Given my reluctance to buying a pet, people were actually beginning to think that I was a dog-hater. But in truth, Gibbs is one in a long line of pets that have enriched my life. Growing up, my family had a hound named T-Bone, Chrissie the teacup poodle, Rusty the Irish setter and Jill the dalmatian. As for cats, we had Mittens, Jubes and Suckles. We also had lots of fish, several reptiles … and a tarantula spider while I was in college! One would think we ran a pet shop!
My family really embraced having pets. They were all very special to us, and they were all members of our family. A secondary benefit was that they helped foster social, emotional and cognitive development in my siblings and me. (With that many pets, we must have needed the development!) Today, I harbor the same love for our furry friends that I did as a child. The pets we see in our community and the dog we share our home with are endless sources of unpredictable, spontaneous fun. They are laughter and joy on four legs … they are walking, barking bundles of unconditional love.
That was certainly true of Snoopy, who truly had a heart for making me laugh. She loved to follow me everywhere, but when we reached my elementary school that morning, I told Snoopy to go back home and she did. Sadly, it’s been many years since I’ve applauded my childhood best friend and her many tricks. But to this day, thinking of her still makes me smile.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills
resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history
. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.
Snoopy and my sister Jonna 1971
T-Bone and my brother Scott
Mark Winders & Clancy
Carol & Clancy
Clancy & Santa