An Homage to the Hooker Who Started It All

An Homage to the Hooker Who Started It All

On Sunday, June 22nd, Dwight Hooker turns 86. For a few months, he will be only 41 years my senior.

Dwight is my ex-husband.

On July 10th, 1994, Dwight married me under a chuppa in the Kozlow’s backyard. His two oldest and most cherished friends, Dr. Bill Ross and Richard Kozlow, the artist, signed our marriage license.

When he married me, he gave me his name. I have been a HOOKER for twenty years.

I adore my name.

Of course it comes with the jokes. You know, the ones that you’ve already heard a million times?

When Dwight and I were first married and living at Sundance, we started the Horde.

First came Gorbachev, the Samoyed. I liked the name Boris, but Dwight didn’t like Boris Yeltsin’s politics, so we called him Gorbachev. He was Gorby, for short.

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“This dog is going to ruin our marriage,” Dwight would say because I carried him everywhere when he was a puppy and kept giving him baths to keep him white. Then, I’d find him snuggled up on my side of the bed and Dwight saying, “Look at those beautiful almond eyes.”

Gorby was funny. Even though I fed and exercised him, he considered Dwight his pack leader.

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A few years later, I was in Orem and saw “Puppies for Sale.” They were Golden Retriever puppies. I didn’t want to add to the Horde without Dwight’s buy-in, so I told the breeder (a family from Wanship), “If no one takes him, I’ll come get him tomorrow.”

At home, I told Dwight. He said, “We need a touch of gold around the house.” And, naturally, Dwight named him Midas.
Years before, Dwight gave a playmate a Himalayan kitten. He recalled the kitten with such fondness and really wanted one. I looked at Gorby, Midas and the Dyson vacuum cleaner and wondered how we could manage more fur.

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Then, when Dwight’s children were visiting from Canada, we wandered into a pet store. (I know, I know . . . I would NEVER purchase a puppy in a parking lot nor would I step into a pet store now. At the time, I didn’t know better.)

I saw a fluffy little kitty that they assured me was a Himalayan. (Turns out he was a Maine Coon.) Dwight called him Mandu, as in the CAT, Mandu. Get it?

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In 2007, my neighbors dog had two all black cockapoos. In my entire adult life, I’d never named a dog. I called Dwight.

“Well,” Dwight began, “I always thought if I had an all black dog, I’d call him Booker T. Washington.” So, he’s Booker. Booker T. Washington Hooker. Or, Booker Hooker, for short.

The horde grew when Jennifer Jordan told me about a kitten that had literally blown into their neighborhood during a storm. Her neighbors claimed they would take care of it. But, when I visited for dinner, we popped over to their house. Their idea of “taking care of her” was to leave their garage door open a crack so she could get in and out.

I scooped her up and found a festering wound on her thigh.

“What did the vet say about this?” I asked.

“We haven’t taken her to the vet yet,” was the reply.

The four-month old kitty stayed in my arms while I ate dinner. Then, she purred in my lap as we drove home.

Since I couldn’t get her to the vet until the next day, I put her in the bathtub to clean the wound. She let me.

I called her Maude because she was all gray. She’s name after the character in Harold and Maude. She was the first animal I named.

The hardest thing about having a horde is that their lives are so short.

Gorby passed away because we couldn’t regulate his diabetes. He spent the day at the vet. When I arrived, he couldn’t walk. I sat on the tile floor in the hallway and dialed Dwight’s number to get permission, even though we were no longer married.

Midas had cancer. Dwight and I talked about what was best for him. I took him to Sundance to spend his final day.

Faith, my Bernese Mountain Dog arrived in 2008. Dwight raised Berners with Devane and Redford. When I told him I was getting a Berner, he said, “Don’t do it. It will break your heart. They live such a short time.” When Dwight was breeding Berners, they were very inbred. Faith is now six. She’s slowing down, but is a perfect model of the breed.

Mandu just got sick. His fur was falling out and he lost weight. Dwight sent me $100 and a post-it note (which I still have) that read, “Thanks for being with him during his last days. Hope this helps.”

The horde grew a few summers ago when a rescue asked me to take a dog named Sunny. Sunny was a morbidly obese portly poodle with Cushing’s Syndrome. Because Dwight taught me how to love and care for those in need, Sunny lost weight and his fur grew back.

Sunny became Mr. Sunny Sunny Bun Bun and lived for ten months.

In 2013, Timmy, a PTSD survivor that lived with a veteran moved into our horde. Without teeth and spindly little legs, I loved him for 101 days.

Dwight Hooker started the Hooker Horde on July 10th when he gave me his name. He indulged me and allowed it to grow as my heart grew.

 

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About hookershorde

I am a school teacher, animal advocate and rescuer, yogi, and happy!
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