Clyde "The Wonder Dog"

Posted: december 3, 2014
Click photos on this page to view a larger version  
I figured I'd better write this before I get Alzheimer's and can't remember the details.
How Clyde came to be a part of the Budde family?
Just after graduating from Washington University, we had to put our dog, Blackie, down. I wanted another dog right away. My mother who had had a stroke did not feel that was a responsibility she wanted or could take on. I was not happy with her decision.

Several years later, she decided that she wanted a dog. For some probably very stupid reason, I told her I did not and would not give her any money to buy a dog.

She looked through the paper (no internet in those days) and found a lady who had a litter of pups she wanted to sell. My mother had a few dollars squirreled away and bartered this along with some costume jewelry to purchase the dog. I drove her to this ladies house but stayed outside while the bargaining was going on.

We put the dog in the car and drove home. The dog was filthy so the first thing we did was give him a bath. We then wrapped him in a bath towel and put him on a chair in the living room where he went to sleep.
How Clyde got the name "Clyde"?
Clyde was a mixed breed terrier. As an adult, he weighed perhaps 25 pounds. I had had two cocker spaniels prior to Clyde but had not realized how inbred and "dumb" they had been. Terriers are smart dogs.

At the time we got Clyde, President Johnson was in office and their family dog was named "Yuki". Mom wanted to name him with that name.

I thought that was a stupid name for a dog so I lobbied for another name. During that time, The Steve Allen Show was my favorite TV program. I liked it because it was goofy. One of his continuing things was to refer to things as "Clyde" such as "I fell and broke my Clyde". Thus Clyde seemed like an obvious name for this new family member.

The name stuck. Later on, I started referring to him as Clyde The Wonder Dog. No other reason for this other than I thought it was funny.
How Clyde became my best friend?
As my mother bought the dog, it was initially HER dog. He kept her company during the day while I was at work.

When Clyde was going through the "potty training" stage, he was fond of peeing on the carpet in the dining room by the bay window. One time I got frustrated with his lack of progress in learning that was not the proper thing to do. I was on my knees trying to make my point and I picked him up and put him back down pretty hard. He squealed and I immediately picked him up and hugged him.

From there on out he was MY dog.
Clyde loved to play with the neighbor's dogs
The Helfrich's were the neighbors who lived behind my house. We shared a wire backyard fence. Over Clyde's lifetime, the Helfrich's had two dogs. Clyde enjoyed playing with these two dogs so much that he figured that he could jump the wire fence and be able to play up close and personal.

At the end of the play, both dogs were usually full of doggie saliva.
Clyde loved his popcorn
Some evenings while watching TV, I would make a huge bowl of popcorn. Clyde would wait alongside me as I was popping the corn.

We would then proceed to the TV room and I would scoop up a big handful of pop corn and throw it in the air. Clyde would furiously eat the pop corn off the floor.
Clyde goes for a swim in the Webster Groves pool
For a number of years, I coached swimming at the Webster Groves Swim Club. Our summer practices would begin at 8:00 PM after the pool closed to the public.

We were at the time of the season when we had an important meet coming up that weekend and I had our workout planned to peak the swimmers for that meet.

We all arrived at 8:00 PM but the pool had people in it. In talking with the pool manager, he apologized for forgetting to let me know that the pool had been rented that evening. As the rental was to be complete at 10:00 PM, I told all of the swimmers to come back then for their workout.

I didn't want to leave Clyde alone that long, so I drove home and brought Clyde back to the pool with me. This was his first time at a swimming pool. In fact, I did not know whether or not he knew how to swim.

The swimming pool was 50 yards long and the deep section was built in a "T" fashion to accommodate diving boards. The gutter system was what was termed "wash over" gutters. As the kids were swimming laps, Clyde would bark at the swimmer in the lane closest to the edge... Kevin Kennedy. Clyde would occasionally venture into the gutter to harass Kevin.

Well one lap, the inevitable happened. Clyde was so intently harassing Kevin that he walked into the pool. It was then that I found out he could swim as he climbed out of the pool and continued to harass Kevin.
One Nut / Uni-Ball
It was my swimmers that bestowed upon Clyde another of his nicknames. Clyde had a physical infirmity where he only had one testicle thus the two nicknames "One nut" and "Uni-ball". Thanks Chuck Reller!
Clyde drinks gin and gets drunk
I had a friend over and we were watching TV and drinking Tanqueray on the rocks. I had set my glass on the floor for a bit between swallows. We were deep in conversation when my friend points out that Clyde was lapping away at the "Tanq". By the time we stopped laughing and I bent over to pick up the glass, Clyde had consumed the remaining liquid.

Clyde tried to scratch his head and of course fell over. He also got pretty sick that night. In retrospect, it was probably a good thing he threw up so much.
Clyde takes a trip to the Vet
Actually Clyde took many trips to the Vet but this one has a funny story to go with it.

I would take Clyde to the Humane Society when he needed to see a Vet. I came to the opinion that many of the vets who worked on Clyde were young vets doing their residency work.

This particular time I asked the young vet about Clyde's physical infirmity... you know the "one nut" thing. Clyde was positioned on his side on a stainless steel table. The vet started feeling around for the missing body part. He was very serious when he explained to me that this was not uncommon and that perhaps we should consider scheduling an operation to remove it as it could become cancerous.

He was still feeling around when he ran out of his "speech" but he still had not found it.

As I don't like it when folks are serious for very long, I said to the vet: "You know you and my dog are going to have to get married now".
My backpacking buddy
I was really into backpacking both in Missouri and on my two week annual vacations. Clyde was my companion whether or not I had another human join me or not.

We traveled to 26 different states during our adventures together. Two stories come to mind about our backpacking adventures.

The first story takes place in Flathead National Forest in Montana. We were hiking the trail and we came across a pretty significant creek that would have to be crossed to resume the trail on the other side. I was not sure that I wanted to cross it much less encourage Clyde to cross it with me.

We sat down next to the creek to ponder our decision. While we were a-pondering, a mountain goat appears on the other side of the creek to get a drink of water. Clyde went nuts as he thought this was another dog to play with (or whatever). We decided we would not hazard a crossing and returned they way we had come.

The second story involves our night in the tent. We were camped a bit from a creek with a bit of a rise between us and the creek. During the night, Clyde woke me up and I thought he needed to go out and "stretch his legs" if you get my drift. I let him out thinking he would do his thing and come right back in.

Well, I misread his need and finally realized that he was thirsty and had gone to the creek for a drink. I panicked that he would either not find his way back in the dark or would get eaten by some animal. Thus I hurriedly started to dress to go find my dog. As I was pulling on my boots, Clyde wanders back into the tent with this look on his face "Where are you going?"
Gets lost in Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary was our routine walking venue. We walked it often.

Clyde was getting "up in age" and his hearing had significantly declined (as has mine). We reached the far end of our walk at DeMun and he was taking too long smelling things. I thought I would teach him a lesson and hid. Well when I came out from my hiding place, he was nowhere to be seen.

I panicked and went running back to where the car was parked about one mile away. I did not see him along the way nor when I got to the car. After exhausting all ideas as to where he might have gone, I drove home without my trusty companion of so many years.

Obviously I did not get much sleep that night. I made up little notes to tape to folks doors the next morning. To help me cover more area, I enlisted the assistance of Bobbie and Jimmy Scharff, two of my godsons. We posted the notes on door's in the DeMun area as well as at Fontbonne University where we usually parked the car.

Bobby had a soccer game and I was to take him to that game. We were at my house when I got a phone call from a Fontbonne student telling me that they had found Clyde. We drove right there and I was reunited with my best buddy once again. Mucho tears ensued when I held him tightly.
Our last walk together
Clyde developed a problem where his kidneys were failing and I made the tough decision to end his life. At this time he was not able to walk. I wanted to let him take one last "walk" through Concordia Seminary before taking him to the Humane Society.

I am pretty sure I was crying the whole time as I am crying now as I write these words.

After our walk, we went to the Humane Society where I signed papers authorizing them to, put him up for adoption or, if they deemed it proper, put him to sleep. They were prepared to take Clyde as soon as I signed the form but I wanted to sit with him one last time. I don't know how long we sat but I would guess it was 15 minutes or more. More tears... then and now.

Clyde lived a total of 17-1/2 years. A number of friends thought I would get another dog right way. For quite a few years, I never realized why I could not bring myself to do so.

I had been on vacation and upon returning home I was talking to my next door neighbor who had to put one of their dogs down while I was gone. It was in that moment that it came to me why I was reluctant to get another dog... I did not want to go through the heartache of putting another dog down.

So to this day I remain dog-less. Here's to you Clyde. We had a great ride!
  Note: links to articles from other sites that have been deleted by their originator will stop working on this site