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  • Martin Sosnoff

The Day I Lost My Beloved Joshua

Let me tell you about my beloved, brown standard poodle, Joshua . He was run over on the Merritt Parkway. Brought home to us in a cardboard carton by a state police officer.

This never should’ve happened, but Josh jumped the 6  foot fence around the perimeter of our homestead. It wasn’t our first instance with our beloved pet. He frequently jumped our fence. Neighbors would retrieve him. Josh even learned how to ring doorbells for succor.

His final jump was on a rainy day, so his trail of urine he deposited was soon wiped away by the rain. Josh kept twitting away. Nobody cared about catching our errant dog in his fated trial.

Our mistake was waiting an extra hour, hoping Joshua would come home. By the time we hopped in our car, Josh was probably dead on the Merritt. 

Why did we wait so long before we moved ourselves for his recovery? I’ve no good answer. Probably our lazy attitude towards the issue of his departure. I am haunted to this day. That dates back nearly 50 years. After all, Josh was the nursemaid for our first born son, Jason. The dog would lay down facing the crib and stay happily involved. 

Our second dog, Juno, a black standard poodle, had no interest. But when Joshua didn’t make it home that fatal day, Juno stretched out behind the glass front door. We lived in a glorious glass home. Juno couldn’t be moved for two days and two nights. Finally, Juno got the picture. He’s not coming back. He’s not coming back,  I’d whisper in her ear. 

When I told the story to Rebecca Mason, Joshua and Juno‘s breeder, she hit the roof! “Oh my God,” she screamed! “I haven’t seen that gene for jumping in 25 years.” Beck housed 100 dogs in her kennels. One of her great dogs had it. But he was a singular clown. 

In poodles, depending on color, their nose must be the right shade. Ear leather and flowing. Feet tight as acorns,  eye color must be deep with intelligent expression. 

Our dog handler worked dozens of our show dogs and we did our share of winning.. When I asked Beck Mason how she did over her 50-year stretch of dog shows, she said “I did great. I broke even.”

I won’t ever live down my lapse with Joshua. I wasn’t there when he most needed me. The other side of the coin is about how my country failed me in the Korean War back in 1952-’53. I was all  of  21 years old, an airborne first lieutenant with the First Cavalry Division. Both North and South Korea catch arctic winters. We fought up the peninsula and retreated to our southernmost enclave and then held on.

Starting with Harry Truman, down to General MacArthur, in his Tokyo combat offices, we were shabbily 

neglected. We fought with the quartermaster inventory left over from the European campaign in 1945. Combat boots, not thermal boots. Field jackets, not lined parkas.

Half my company, including me, suffered from frostbitten hands and feet. Man-to-Man the Korean fighters were more suitably turned out. Our regimental surgeon did come by my company, early mornings, when he could,  to give me my shot of adrenaline. Then, I could at least breathe. His refrain was, “What in hell are you doing here kid?” My most precious possession was 2 pairs of army woolen socks. 

Sadly, the pain in the pit of my stomach was overwhelming and constant. My country had failed me in a frontier-like situation of survival. 

At home, there was summary reportage on the war. Television was still  in its infancy and print operators were a bunch of alcoholics who stood around the bars in Tokyo.

“My country! Right or Wrong, My Country!”


Twenty-two years old, I had seen too much. 

“Goodbye Joshua, for me, you do live on and on.”

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