Tuesday, January 25, 2011


After the death of my first doberman pinscher, Samantha, I wasn't so sure that I wanted another dog. But, as some of you will understand, it wasn't long before I found myself looking for another doberman.

It was a time when dobermans were not enjoying great popularity, often being bred as vicious attack dogs. So, to be on the safe side, I contacted a veterinarian friend and asked if he could recommend a breeder who bred dobermans for the desirable traits of a family pet. Through the contacts he gave me, I located a family who had a six-month-old black-and-tan female for sale.
I went to see her and was immediately smitten. She was already house broken and crate trained, and she quickly bonded with me to the extent that she was almost a pest.

One day, shortly after Brandi came to live with me in my house trailer on my dad's farm, I was taking a shower, when I heard Brandi barking ferociously. Heart beating anxiously, I quickly threw on a robe and went to see what impending disaster was causing the ruckus. Instead of finding Brandi at the door, fighting off an intruder, as I half expected, I found her on my bed, hackles raised, barking at her reflection in a mirror.

Brandi would often come and put her front legs on my lap when I was sitting at the kitchen table. From that position, she could see her reflection in the mirror over the couch in the living room. The wall on which the mirror hung separated the living room from the spare bedroom. Brandi apparently thought she was looking through a window into the bedroom because, seeing her reflection, she would begin barking and run to that bedroom in attack mode. Then, satisfied that she had driven the intruder away, she would return to me, jump up to put her front feet in my lap; and the whole process would begin all over again.
When I would put on my makeup in the bathroom, no matter where Brandi was in the house, she would come dashing to the bathroom, barking. I soon realized that it was always when I was applying eyebrow pencil that this happened. Apparently, there was some slight noise associated with the application of the eyebrow pencil that irritated Brandi's sensitive ears and set her to barking. So I decided to use that to teach her to "speak."

I would give her the command to speak and then begin to apply the eyebrow pencil. When she barked, I praised her. That was the easiest thing I ever taught her.

One time, when she wanted to go out in the middle of the night, Brandi came and stood next to my bed, right by my face, and gave a single loud bark. Well, let me tell you...after that, we BOTH had to go potty. I woke with such a start that I scolded her for barking at me. From then on, if she needed to go out during the night, she would come and rest her chin on the bed, inches from my face, and just stare at me. It always worked...maybe not as quickly as the bark, but certainly with less trauma for both of us.

My dad lived next door to me, and I would usually stop in to see him for a few minutes before going out to the barn to check on things there. Brandi usually stayed outside while I was at Dad's, but she would position herself where she could see us through the kitchen window. When she saw me moving, her body would tense with anticipation. By the time I opened the door to go out, she was on her feet and ready to run. She knew that my habit was to go to the barn after visiting Dad, so she would be off to the barn like a bullet as soon as I came out of the house. If, instead, I headed back to my house trailer, that bullet would change directions in a flash and quickly overtake me.

Baths. Oh, she hated baths. I always took showers; so, when Brandi heard sounds of the tub filling, she knew it was for her. While I was preparing the tub, she would go to her crate, where, when all was ready, I would find her curled up into a tight ball, pretending to be sound asleep.

When Brandi and I moved from the house trailer on Dad's farm into a house in town, the floors in the house weren't carpeted. There was some ceramic tile and some terrazzo flooring, both of which were a little chilly on a doberman's bottom. One time, when I had been talking on the kitchen telephone for a long time (that was when telephones were anchored to walls), Brandi went to the bedroom to get her blanket and brought it out to the kitchen, where she placed it on the floor next to me, so that she could be near me but still be comfortable.

Brandi and I had fun playing hide and seek, too. Well, I did anyway. It was a bit of a one-sided game. I would throw a toy into another room, then run and hide while she went to retrieve it. She would be so distressed when she returned with the toy and couldn't find me. If her search went unrewarded for too long, she would just sit down and whine until I gave up and revealed my hiding place.

Brandi was the last dog I've had. Sometimes I find myself looking through the online pictures of dogs at the local rescue shelters, remembering the joy that a dog or a cat can add to a home. But, so far, I've not taken the plunge again. A pet is a lot of expense and responsibility and, as I mentioned in the post about Samantha, a lot of heartache when the day of parting comes.

But someday, maybe...


  1. What a great story about Brandi! You're right -- pets are alot of trouble, but oh the love we get in return. :)

  2. What a beautiful dog with the mixture of black and brown especially on the front paws. She must have been quite a great friend.

  3. You're right, Sandy. Dogs, especially, give such unconditional and enthusiastic love and devotion. You and I have both had some great ones.

    Thanks, KD. I don't know anything about show standards and such for dogs, but I thought Brandi was beautiful; and she truly was a great friend.

  4. I have a lot of fun with my little dog. I left her over the weekend with a friend at my home while I went to the lake home with my grandchildren, and it was tough for both of us, They have a bloodhound and I wasn't sure they would get along.I got pounded when I returned and she wants to sit real close all the time.

  5. Awww she was a beauty. I hadn't seen the post about Samantha for some reason so I was glad to read that one too. Two such wonderful creatures. I was one of those people who was once wary of Dobermans. My first encounter with one, seemingly proved that reputation. But I've come to know at least a handful of them since and each and every one of them were sweethearts. I think most dogs have good natures unless taught otherwise.

  6. Steve - I can tell that you and Lily have a special relationship, and she IS a cutie. In her attachment to me, Brandi was very much like Lily is with you. She would lean against my leg or rest her chin on my knee or arm. She just seemed to need that physical touch.

    Hilary - I was single at the time and liked the idea that most people were wary of dobermans. And there were people who were breeding them with a goal of creating a vicious animal. Most legitimate breeders, though, were seeking to create gentle and fun pets. But, before I bought one, I felt I needed to know from whence it came. That's why I bought from a breeder rather than adopting from an animal shelter.

  7. I love your stories about Brandi. I had a dog Duchess which I adored about about 15 years. It took me awhile to get over her death... I haven't had a pet since. As much as I love them, they are a huge expense. Since George and I travel so much, it just wouldn't be good to have a pet now. BUT--as I said, I love them. IF I ever end up alone again, I'm sure a little doggie will be part of my life again.

  8. I understand completely, Betsy. They ARE an expense and a major responsibility. And it's so painful to lose them. It sounds as if your Duchess was really special. Maybe, if you and George ever slow down a little, another dog might find its way into your hearts.


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