My Three Dogs


Ginny the new girl

Ginny, the last one remaining of the original pack…

Those of you that have been following my blogs for a while know that I recently have had some losses on the pet scene, much more than I ever dreamed would happen so close together. My large population of pets, both cats and dogs, some through old age and others through acts of nature was depleted down to Ginnie, the stuck up little Mini Dachshund. I was able to increase those numbers with the addition of Mikey who I adopted from the Bastrop Animal Shelter who was also the subject of a previous blog. You can read about him at this link.

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The new little boy, Mikey

I was still on the lookout for at least one more addition to the pack and spent some time touring the different Animal Shelters around the area and finally found what I was looking for in the shape of a Yorkie. He was already spoken for when I was at the Shelter and another family was also checking him out but they decided that he was not the right dog for them. I spent some time with him and then put my name down on the list just in case he didn’t work out with the other adopters.

Less than a week later, I received a call from the Shelter asking if I still wanted him as he had been returned back to the Shelter. I immediately jumped in my truck and made the 40 mile drive back to Georgetown to pick up our new addition. The Shelter people told me that his name was Charlie and/or Gizmo as he answered to both. They fitted me up with a collar and leash and his own special food plus a couple of squeaky toys, one as big as the dog and with him sitting on my lap, we were on our way.

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Gizmo

True to form, Ginnie tried very hard to ignore the new addition preferring instead to go back to bed. Mikey, on the other hand was overjoyed at having another little male dog that he could play with. I forgot to mention that Gizmo, as that is what we settled on, is also 10 years old and is pretty energetic for an older guy and in no time flat had acclimatized himself to the garden although he didn’t quite know what to make of the ponds. Turns out he is house trained and it only took him a couple of days to figure out the doggy door although sometimes especially at night, he will stand and whine to be let out even though he is right next to the aforementioned door. So I let him out and he has no trouble coming back in through the doggy door. Go figure.

So now we are at three with room for at least one more, preferably a female Dachshund. Both Ginnie and Gizmo are a bit careful around Mikey as he is a little on the rambunctious side. He is a little bigger than both of them but is also only a couple of years old and has way too much energy. He tends to do everything at top speed which is not the other two’s style. Apart from that, things seem to be working out just fine. They have each got their allotted spot on the King Size bed at night with Ginnie having the prime spot right next to me under the covers, Mikey curled up against my feet and Gizmo off to one side surrounded by a half dozen squeaky toys and a host of half eaten chew sticks.

Today, I took Gizmo to the the Groomers for his first haircut since moving in with us. Haircuts are not something that I have had to worry about these past few years since Mini and Manley both passed on. After the two of them, it has been short haired Dachshunds and Chihuahua’s that hardly shed at all but both Mikey and Gizmo are going to need to be trimmed periodically to keep them looking sharp and to stay clean (sortof).

Below is a picture of Gizmo after his haircut. You can now even see his eyes.

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Gizmo after his haircut

Dogs, Man’s best friend and companion since time immemorial over all others including wives and members of the opposite sex.  How can you not help but love them.

Written 3/27/2018

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Thoughts About Dogs


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The new little boy, Mikey

Following the death of my fat little Chihuahua, Pete from untreated heart worm caused by his previous owner not taking the necessary precautions, I spent most of the week visiting many of the Animal Shelters around Austin including the one at Bastrop.

I was looking for a small dog of any breed that would keep Ginny  and me company. Not that she really cares that much as she spends most of her days under the covers of my bed, fast asleep in a world all of her own. Occasionally, she rushes out through the doggie door to do her business and if the weather is warm, she may stay outside for a couple of hours or more. Her favorite spot is at the bottom of the garden, sitting in the grass, warming in the sun and barking at anything that moves on the other side of the fence. When she does come back in, she heads straight for the bed again and disappears under the covers. Not exactly what you might call a companionable dog. She interacts with other dogs only when she has to like warning them away from her food or treat. I love her dearly but she is not the greatest of company. This is OK with a couple of other dogs around but when she is the only one…..

When our pack was at full strength a few years ago with Manley, a male Maltese, BeBe, a female Dachshund, Minnie, a female Scottie, Danielle, a female large breed mix, Abigail, a female Dachshund, Richie, a male Dachshund and her, she fitted in just fine getting along with all of them in her own snotty way. I think that was because there were so many of them and they were all established when she arrived. BeBe, Manley, Minnie, Danielle and Abigail were all laid back and could care less about the pecking order and when Richie arrived, he quickly established himself as the leader of the pack.

Minnie and Danielle went to that Doggy Heaven in the sky  due to age related illness and Manley had a heart attack and died in my arms leaving Abigail, BeBe, Richie and Ginny three females and the Pack Leader. Disaster struck and Abigail fell into the septic tank and drowned while we were doing work on the system. BeBe wasn’t acting right so I took her to the Vet’s where she died in my arms in the waiting room leaving just Richie and Ginny. All of a sudden, my house that had been so full of dogs before was suddenly very empty and way too quiet and peaceful.

I had a neighbor call me to see if I would be willing to take another rescue, this time a fat little Chihuahua named Pete and of course I immediately agreed. As it happens both Pete and Ginny got along well with each other so the deal was done. Those of you that follow my blog are aware of the circumstances leading to Richie’s death from the rattlesnake bite and then last weekend, little Pete was struggling with his breathing and I took him to the Vet’s where he died overnight from Heartworm complications . We thought we had treated the recurring heartworm at Pete’s last physical and check up but apparently, his little heart had been damaged and just gave out.

Now that leaves Ginny who not being a super active dog, is not the best of company for either myself or herself so when Pete died, I started to look for another to fill the voids. My Neighbourhood Watch was a great place to start and I visited a couple of people with dogs that were looking for new homes for some reason or another. I took Ginny with me as she was the final test. If she didn’t like them, it didn’t matter what my feelings were as they were not coming into her house and that was that. As it happened, she didn’t approve so we were still the two of us.

I decided to visit the local shelters to see what they had to offer and what I saw made me feel very sad. All of those wonderful dogs just looking for a fresh start. They too had been dealt a raw hand (in their case, paw) in their lives and it was not their fault of their current situation.

The primary breeds in the big dogs were Pit bull or Pit bull Mix and in the small dogs, Chihuahua’s or their mix except at Bastrop where the Big Dog breed was Great Pyrenees. I was not sure if I wanted to replace both Richie, a Dachshund and Pete, a Chihuahua with another of the same breed as neither of them were replaceable in my eyes and heart. I knew that although there were so many dogs to choose from, the right one would eventually choose me.

I received a call from BJ, my very good friend who was looking at the dogs over at the Bastrop Animal Center when they had twenty eight dogs come in all at one time. She called to tell me of the new dog shipment they had received and that I should drop everything and rush on over. When I arrived, they were very busy but the Director took it upon herself to personally give me a guided tour and even though it was a bit of a mad house with the dogs being unloaded and immediately getting their shots, took the time to show me around the facility. It was not the time to be choosing a dog but from what she showed me, it looked like we might find Ginny a buddy out of this batch. The Director told me that these dogs would be available on Friday and Saturday so I told her I would be back.

Friday rolled around as it always does on a regular basis and I was at the Animal Center bright and early as soon as the doors opened. I wandered the aisles of the different kennel buildings and saw several dogs that I might be interested in. With help from one of the kennel attendants, I finally settled on a little long haired Dachshund and Chihuahua mix. The attendant carried the dog whose name was Matthew to the front whilst I went to get Ginny from the truck so they could do a meet and greet. All went well as they both more or less totally ignored each other which was good as at least they were not trying to tear each other apart.

Back at the Office, the Director helped get the paperwork done and held Ginny while I had Matthew. She followed me out to the car and we put Matthew in a crate for the ride home as I was not sure of his reactions in a truck. I made a stop at my friend BJ to show her the new puppy and she was immediately taken with the dog. We spent a couple of hours visiting and Matthew spent almost the entire time in her arms making himself right at home. I should mention that BJ had taken it upon herself to help in finding another dog and for that, I am forever grateful.

On the trip back to my house, Matthew, who previously had been very shy, sat in the front with Ginny and myself and it wasn’t long before both of them squeezed onto my lap for the ride home. At least Ginny didn’t complain or try to go after Matthew so that was a very good sign but it was a little difficult to drive.

Matthew has been renamed Mikey as I could not for the life of me remember his name and so far, has settled in nicely. Except for the occasional growl over her food bowl, Ginny has accepted Mikey as one of the family. Whether she really warms up to him time will tell but as she is not an affectionate dog by Nature, tolerance is probably the best we can hope for. Mikey has discovered that he likes to cuddle especially at night and sleeps as close to me as he can. With Ginny on the one side and Mikey on the other at least I am not cold but it is tough to roll over and as for hitting the bathroom the three or four times a night, the downside of growing old as a male, I have to be very careful when getting out of bed. I think that Mikey sees me as his knight in shining armor after rescuing him as he is never very far away from me at all times.

As for me, I think he is going to work out just fine. We have several challenges ahead like bathroom training, leash training, stop jumping and other simple commands but they will be fun and yet another challenge. Is the pack complete? Hardly as two is not a pack and I would still like to see a couple more dogs around but we can work on that in the weeks to come. Maybe there are more dogs that need rescuing and would like a home with the three of us. Not maybe, a certainty. But that is in the future.

 

You can read more about Richie at these links.
Richie and the Snake
Memories
and Pete at these links.
An Addition to the Family
More Sadness

Written 2/7/2018

What To Do on a Rainy Day…


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Today it rains but not a lot
enough to ruin any plans that I got
I was thinking of taking a walk you see
as walking is quite the luxury
the recent weather frosty and cold
did not encourage or make me bold
staying indoors where it was warm
was the best choice but a little forlorn
the house is quiet just me and one dog
she’s sleeping away just like a log
under the covers way out of sight
where she spends her days with the utmost delight
the other dog the one name Pete
is in doggy hospital which is no treat
for he has a breathing complaint
coughing and wheezing in a terrible state
he will stay in their care for a couple of days
and hopefully be back home to his normal ways
in the meantime what shall I do
as I look at the screen without a clue
I need to think of something to write
interesting enough to give delight
to others who want to read my stuff
and have not yet had enough
although I do not write for them
the words I hope have a special blend
and will satisfy my mind
on this rainy day when the weathers unkind.

Written 1/27/2018

 

 

I Sat…


 

 

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I sat at the kitchen table looking out through the glass
at the garden that now has been cut back because of the frost
it was a dull and grey day with the sun hidden behind the clouds
and I wondered what I could do the time to pass.

I sat watching the birds as they squabbled over the seed
even though there are many feeders for them to choose
they all had to have the same one who knows why
maybe it was special and satisfied their need.

I sat and watched the dogs as they wandered the yard
one slim and lithe as she scampered around
nose to the ground checking for every smell
she found nothing or she was not trying very hard.

I sat and watched other dog who did not have the nose to smell
instead content to bark at the squirrel in the trees
and sit and look out onto the yard
checking to see that all was well.

I sat and thought about what needed to be done
to clear the remaining plants killed by the frost
and who should take on this task
I guess it’s me, I am the only one.

Written 1/26/2018

 

Meandering Thoughts


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Samantha, Fats at the back, Whiskey Bean, Manfried is the Maltese in front and then Ennery. plus two cats.

I just finished writing a blog
an exercise in thoughts you might say
as I had to remember back fifty years
when the first dog came my way.

In it’s own way it was fun
remembering back all that time
and the memories of all of the dogs
stirred other thoughts of a different kind.

Of time spent in the country where I was born
and the people there that I knew
the life I lived and the jobs that I had
and the wives of which there were two.

A childhood romance when we were young
not knowing what life was all about
bringing into this world two beautiful sons
before life filled us full of doubt.

Into another’s arms her love to feel
with struggle and strife along the way
and finally making it all worthwhile
as off to America a new life a new way.

Sadly America was not the cure
for after ten years of married bliss
all of the dreams came tumbling down
my world fell into the abyss.

Another lady filled the void
with her life was full as it could be
after fifteen years of married bliss
once more back to misery.

I decided I was not the marrying kind
and spent the next twenty five years alone
except for the dogs of which there were many
everyone important as though to atone.

For the fact that I make a terrible mate
but a friend to the dogs is not very hard
and the love for a woman seemed not to be there
but I love all dogs with the highest regard.

If I could live my life again
there would be many things I would change
but there is one thing of which I am sure
my love for all dogs is stronger than before.

Wives would have no part of that life
as they only bring trouble and strife
instead my life would be full of dogs
with wagging tails and sloppy tongues.

And love so strong it is a shame
their lives are so short and sweet
but another is ready to take it’s place
with instant love as soon as we meet.

Written 1/19/2018

Link to the other blog here.

My Family of Dogs – Part two.


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Zippo, my old Arabian

We had been keeping the last of our horses that we had on our five acres, an old Arabian, at a local horse farm but I decided to move him to the backyard where he spent the next ten years. Zippo was his name and he eventually had to be put to sleep at the grand old age of thirty six. I was left with the four cockers and Manfried and a Pit Bull puppy that had been found close to my office at work and I said that I would take care of. The Pit Bull I named Molly and our little family of six lived happily together for a while. I would occasionally run into my ex-wife at the soccer fields and she would usually have Bianca with her so I was able to keep in touch with that dog. As it turned out, Bianca passed away sitting next to her on her couch several years later. Nice way for her to go.

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Minnie, Abigail, Be-Be, Manley and Fat Cat

Molly being a puppy and also very insecure, had the constant desire to chew on things. No amount of chewable toys and treats seemed to be enough as I came home one day and my Sit Up Bench was in tatters where she had done a number on it along with the cane woven bottom on another chair. Then, on another day, I took her and Manfried for a ride in the car and stopped at the grocery store. When I came out, Molly had literally chewed the steering wheel to where the airbag had almost deployed. I had to buy a new steering wheel which cost me $500 and at that point, decided that Molly had to go. I called my ex-wife who had a place in the country and she very graciously elected to take Molly.

Time moved on and I had my routines worked out. I would go into the large run that the Cockers had, every morning to check on them and then feed them and give then dog biscuits as a treat. One morning, I went in as usual and made a fuss of them and I noticed that Whiskey had a large lump under her chin. I called in to work and then took Whiskey to the vets where they operated and removed the growth. The prognosis was good so I was hopeful that she would be OK. Six weeks or so later, following my usual routine, I gave them cookies before I left. Whiskey was laying spread eagled with her back legs in a frog like position which was one of her comfort postures. She nudged the cookie that I placed in front of her and wagged her tail when I made a fuss of her. That was the last that I saw her alive as she was in exactly the same position with the cookie in front of her when I came home except this time, she was dead.

Two weeks later, I came home to find that Ennery had also died. As far as I could tell, there was nothing wrong with her and I believe that she died of a broken heart after losing her friend and buddy, Whiskey. The two of them had for their whole lives, been at each other trying to work out the pecking order. The way it was set up was that Samantha as Mom was the definite boss, next to her was Fats who was a very large Cocker, then came Whiskey followed by Ennery who was a very small dog and the runt of the litter. This didn’t stop her and for sixteen years, the two of them had fought one long running battle. When Whiskey died, Ennery, having just lost her lifelong friend, just gave up living.

That left Samantha and Whiskey and of course, Manfried. Both Cockers had lost their eyesight but it didn’t stop them from roaming around the yard and negotiating steps to the deck. I came home one day and couldn’t find Samantha anywhere. I eventually located her under the shed and I had to literally dig a tunnel to get her out as that was the only way I could get to her and she wouldn’t come when I called. A couple of months later, I came home one day and Sam had died in the yard. She was eighteen years old. That left Fats who was fading fast and I had to take her to the vets and have her put to sleep. The three offspring lived to be sixteen. All of my pets with the exception of Zippo are buried in the backyard.

Now I was at just the one Maltese, Manfried. That was until another vet called me to see if I would be interested in taking a Maltese named Dusty. Naturally, I jumped at the chance and quickly rushed over to pick him up. Maltese are a bit of a pain to take care of as they need a lot of grooming and trips to the hairdressers but Dusty had the straightest and easiest hair to care for. One day, I noticed that Manfried was constantly trying to urinate but seemed to be having trouble. I thought it funny at first and then realized it was serious. So, back to the vets where they diagnosed that he had gall stones in his urinary tract and would need surgery to get rid of them. He died overnight of complications and now I was left with just one dog, Dusty.

I had a party for my Women’s soccer team on one Saturday evening and Dusty was the life and soul of the party. He got more hugs and loving that night to last a lifetime and as it turned out, that is what happened. Following the usual habit we had gotten into, I came home on the Monday and Dusty and I went to collect the mail. As we had done many times before, I went in with the mail and Dusty stayed outside util it occurred to me that it was very quiet and where was my dog. I went back out to the front of the house and discovered Dusty laying dead in the middle of the street. The Volunteer Fire Department located across the street had been holding a meeting and the inquisitive dog had started to cross the road and was hit a glancing blow by a truck. I was totally heartbroken at losing yet another friend and buddy and was inconsolable. The next day, I immediately searched the advertisements in the local paper and found one saying they had a Maltese Puppy and made arrangements to go visit knowing full well that unless the dog rejected me, I was going to bring him home.

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Me and Manley at a soccer match.

So, now I had Manley, a six month old male Maltese who, as it turns out, was the last of the Maltese. Up to now, I have had four Maltese and four Cockers but now I was at one dog and a couple of cats and thought that I would stay at that number. That was until I was driving into work one day and taking the back roads as was my habit, I noticed this big brown dog on the side of the road. I pulled over to see if she was friendly, which she was and gave her my lunch as she was obviously hungry. I went to work and she was still there when I cam home so I went home for more food and then came back to feed her. This went on for several days until one morning, I noticed her under a small bush with several puppies. She would not let me near her so I left the food and then continued on to work. That evening, she had moved the puppies and I discovered them in an old drain not very far away. She would still not let me near but I kept feeding her in the hope of gaining her trust. Then it happened. One morning we followed the usual routine of me stopping and leaving her food but this time, she was much friendlier. So, I took a chance and called her to get in the van which to my surprise, she did. I then found and collected all four of the puppies and put them in the van and we drove back home.

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Danielle or Danny for short

Over time, I managed to find homes for two of the little guys but ended up with the mother and the other two puppies, one male and one female. By now, Zippo the horse had been put to sleep so I moved the big dog and her puppies into the very large shed that used to be Zippo’s home. It had a large run where they could exercise. The mother was named Big Girl and the puppies Boy and Danielle.

Time passed and I had a travelling vet stop by to take a look at them and give them their shots as they were now getting on to be over a year old. For some reason, the male puppy, Boy went into shock in the Vet’s van and died which left us at Danielle, and her mother Big Girl along with Manley who lived inside with me.

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Minnie

Then another friend called to see if I would be interested in taking a Scottie named Minnie. What the hell, what is one more dog, I thought and added Minnie to our menagerie. Then yet another friend called, whose marriage was on the rocks, and offered me two Dachshunds both female. I took them both but as it turned out, my friends ex mother in law was interested in the full sized female which I turned over to her leaving me with the mid sized little girl named Beatrice which quickly was turned to Be-Be. At this point, I resolved not to have any more friends as obviously, the word was out.

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Beatrice shortened to Be-Be, on the deck

Now all of a sudden, I was at six dogs all of which lived inside with me, as Big Girl and her daughter Danny were now indoor dogs along with Be-Be and Abigail, Mini and Manley. Things stayed like this for a while until my ex wife called wanting to know if I wanted another Dachshund as she had a workmate looking to find one a home. Of course I said yes and so we added Richie, a rambunctious medium sized Dachshund who quickly established himself as the leader of the pack. As time went by, Big Girl got old and I had to have her put to sleep.

Mini was the next to go as she had developed an open cancerous wound in her side. Before I took her to the Vets one last time, I watched Minnie walk around the garden taking a last tour, stopping and smelling things. Whether she knew her time was limited, I will never know. I cried like a baby when I took Minnie to the Vets for the last time and had to make a phone call for one of the Technicians to come out and take her in to do the deed. It must have appeared very odd to see this twenty something young lady consoling this seventy something old man.

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Richie, the all time favorite

Another Dachshund joined the group, a gift from yet another vet who was only too glad to find her a home. Her name is Ginny and she is a miniature Dachshund. As though in exchange a couple of months later, Manley died in my arms following a massive heart attack. He had a long life living to be fourteen years old. Manley was special as he filled the void left by losing Dusty.

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Ginny

Dannielle stopped eating and try as could, she wouldn’t respond. I had already taken Abigail in to have surgery as she had managed to rupture a disk, a common and very expensive complaint on full sized Dachshunds, so Danny joined her. The Vet kept her for a few days and had her on fluids and finally told me that I needed to let her go. He put her to sleep and I brought her home in a box and buried her along with all of the other dogs, She was the very last of the big dogs whose lives I have shared. There have only been four of them. The rest have all been small dogs.

All of the dogs with the exception of Danny, sometimes slept on the King Sized bed along with me. That included Be-Be up until she started having bladder problems when she voluntarily stayed off the bed. This was a part of her general health decline as she was also beginning to act old and I knew it would only be a matter of time before I had to let her go. We were on a routine trip to the vets for a check up and as I sat waiting for our turn with Be-Be in my arms, she gave a long sigh and died. She had been with me eighteen years and I could not have asked for a more loving companion than her. Her final present to me was to literally die in my arms. For that, I am eternally grateful.

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The last addition, Pete

With our numbers dwindling, I saw a blurb on our local neighbourhood watch site of a Chihuahua in need of a new home which I was very glad to offer. We now have this fat little overweight male dog joining the ranks in Dachshund territory but he turned out to more than able to hold his own. Not only that, he and Richie soon became real buddies as they would play wrestle together.

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Abigail snoozing

Then disaster struck. I was working on the septic systems and turned my back for just a second and Abigail fell into the tank and drowned. She had broken her neck in the fall so technically that is what probably killed her. What a terrible way for her to die. She had been the least pretentious of all of the dogs preferring to spend her days on her back sleeping on the couch.

With three dogs left over what has been a lifetime of sharing dogs in my life and when I thought that nothing else could go wrong, fate once more turned nasty and struck us a real hammer blow. Richie, definitely the most favorite of all of the dogs I have ever had, was struck by a rattlesnake in the neck and died the next day. Him, I miss the most and his memories will always be with me. I had just visited him the following day and had spent time with him when my Vet called me to say he had passed. I am not sure that Richie even knew I was there as he was really out of it. I was driving at the time and had to pull over as I was crying so hard. Losing him has hurt the most and I am still not really over it. In the 34 years of living in this house, I have never seen a Rattlesnake in my yard or on any of the many hikes that I go on and I didn’t even see the one that killed him as I was in too big a hurry to get Richie to the vets. As usual, life goes on even with a heavy heart.

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Richie

Now, we are at two, Ginny a very sweet and small Dachshund and Pete, an overweight Chihuahua with Pete the youngest of the group at around eighteen months. Ginny is about four years old. Both of these two spend most of the day asleep and are not the most energetic of animals. Neither do they like each other very much as they sometimes squabble if one gets in the others space. Will I get anymore dogs? Who knows as it becomes a toss up of who goes first, me or them.

For me, as you can tell by this narrative, dogs have been a very important part of my life and as long as it is possible and I am capable of looking after them, will continue to be so. Over the past fifty two years, I have had the privilege of sharing my life with twenty one wonderful dogs. They have each had something different to offer but the most abiding thing of all is the love and trust that they put in me, each and every one of them. I loved them all to the point of complete abandonment especially in my latter years as an older single man living by myself. I was not ever alone as I always had my dogs to keep me company and still do. I have spent quite literally thousands of dollars on their health and upkeep and would gladly do it all over again. The hardest part of taking any animal to the vets for anything other than checkups and shots is the uncertainty that you will ever see them again. The worst time is waiting for that dreaded call from your Vet when he calls to tell you the news of the overnight stay and whether the dog made it. I have had way too many of those calls and never want to receive another one.

Will I ever get any more dogs? It all depends on who has a dog that needs a home and that will get along with Pete and Ginny. Notice that I have barely mentioned the cats that have also been a part of my life. That is for the next blog, sometime in the future.

I do not have pictures of all of the dogs. I wish I did but I can remember every one of them in my mind. Now I feel depressed after writing this. All of those wonderful dogs with their independent spirits and personalities. I miss them all.

The three wives, not so much…

Written 1/14/2018

Postscript. February 5, 2018

Since writing this blog, Pete, the fat little Chihuahua has succumbed to the heartworm that he had before I got him and even after countless treatments, his lungs and heart finally gave out. You can read a poem to Pete at this link. He and Richey have crossed that Rainbow Bridge together and are now in Doggie Heaven and are living amongst the stars. RIP Pete.

My Family of Dogs – Part 1.


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Samantha, Mann,Whiskey Bean, Fats at the very back and then Ennery[/caption]

I was sitting on the couch watching an English Premier League soccer game with my two little dogs one on each side of me and I got to thinking about all of the dogs that I have had over my lifetime, for a time period spanning more than 50 years. With such deep thoughts as these, quite obviously, the game was not holding my attention.

I never had a dog when I was growing up and I missed out on the first thirty years of my life. It wasn’t until my second marriage when we had moved into our own house in Hailsham, Sussex in England that I first discovered the joys of having a fuzzy four legged friend in the form of Toby, a small Rat terrier. He was a busy little dog and as I was a Pipeline Boss working out in the country, he was able to come to work with me every day. That pipeline was several miles long and we traversed most of it on a daily basis. Toby was a hunter and would think nothing of finding a rabbits nest and eating the babies much to the annoyance of one of the machine operators. We had some pretty heavy discussions about it.

I had at the time, a small Mini Station Waggon and we would all pile into it to go places including Toby who was never left behind. Besides my wife, there were three daughters and a son so the Mini was pretty full up. Toby had this awful habit of letting off wind and many times as I was driving along, there would be screams from the kids as Toby would let one go. Sitting in the back, they were closest to the dog and by the time it reached me, it had dissipated enough that I would laugh it off and continue driving. Everyone else was rapidly winding down the windows.

He had another quirk that he was able to jump over the four feet high fence to the back yard but could not jump back in and would sit outside the fence and bark until someone, usually me, would rescue him and lift him over to our side. We had him a couple of years but unfortunately for Toby, he bit the neighbors little girl in the face one day when she wandered into our front yard and I had to have him put to sleep. A very sad time.

The next dog was a Cocker Spaniel that we named Melody. She really did a good job of selling herself when we were at the Kennel where we purchased her. She kept jumping up as if to say, “Pick me, pick me”. She had these big brown eyes and she was so appealing that she was the one that chose us. She had the distinction of sailing on the Queen Mary as we made the long journey to the USA. She was kenneled on the top deck in a special enclosure along with several other dogs and we would visit her several times a day so she would not be lonely. She made it just fine over that 3000 mile trip. Melody settled in to life in the USA and even adjusted to the heavy snow falls of the New York State winters. I started a construction business and again, like Toby before her, she came everywhere I went and it was not a bit unusual to see her up on the scaffold as we laid bricks on the houses.

A few years after arriving in the States, we acquired another dog, a cross between a Lab and something else. She was a beautiful short haired sandy colored dog with the sweetest personality and we named her Amy. Melody still came to work with me but Amy stayed at home preferring the company of my wife. At the time, we were having marriage problems and I eventually moved out. One of the daughters took Amy and I gave Melody to one of the guys that used to work for me. I was heartbroken to let her go as we had spent so much time together but the circumstances were such that I could not keep her with me and my ex did not want her. I learned that a couple of years later, he had to put her to sleep as she had just gotten old and had health problems. I should mention, an American country boys idea of euthanization is a 12 gauge shotgun. She had to have been at least 15-16 years old. I don’t know what happened to Amy.

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Samantha and friend

A couple of years later, I had remarried for the third and final time. My wife was a dog lover like me. We acquired a cocker spaniel puppy that we named Samantha. At the time we were living in Albany in New York State but a job offer in Texas caused us to move there and of course Samantha also made the trip. We eventually settled just outside of Austin, Texas on five acres of land on which we built a house and a horse barn. By this time, Sam had a litter of puppies of which we sold two and kept three, Fats, who was the biggest, Whiskey Bean and Ennery. They were all females. In the meantime, one of my wifes friends had asked her to look after a male Maltese puppy named Mann, for a bit which eventually turned into a permanent move and our family of dogs was at five. The funniest thing was to see the three cockers all in a line as they went out walking early in the mornings. Fats was always in the lead followed by Whiskey Bean and Ennery trailing at the rear.

We were at the time very active in the soccer community in Austin and Sam would go to all of the games a part of which was the consumption of large quantities of beer following the event. The guys and Samantha both discovered that she had a taste for it and they would surreptitiously give her sips of the stuff until they got her drunk. They thought it funny to see a dog that couldn’t walk a straight line. It didn’t appear to hurt her as she lived to a ripe old age.

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Samantha, Fats at the back, Whiskey Bean, Manfried is the Maltese in front and then Ennery. plus two cats.

After a few years, we sold the five acres and moved into a new house closer to Austin taking our family of dogs and cats with us. We had bought land in Belize and took a trip to see it. One of our soccer playing friends house sat for us. We called our neighbor who was our main contact to check on things only to be told that Mann was dead, a victim of a car on the road outside the property. Apparently, there had been a very bad thunderstorm and the sitter had put the dogs in their pen and had assumed that Mann, who she hadn’t been able to find, was already in his kennel. Turns out, he wasn’t and he was so terrified of the thunder and lightning that he had dug out under the gate. My neighbor found him the next day and buried him. Incidentally, we never did hear from the house sitter ever again. No apologies, no nothing.

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Mann and Whiskey Bean

I had also come by another Maltese, a gift from a Vet that was looking for a home for him. This Maltese name was Manfried. One day as I was working on my home business, my wife and her friend popped into the office to announce they had a gift for me. She opened her bag for me to peek inside and this bundle of fur in the shape of a miniature Maltese puppy, peeked out. We named her Bianca and she was the tiniest of puppies but really cute and she knew it.

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Bianca on the left with Manfried

Then one day a year or so later, My wife announced she was leaving and so long and farewell. She took Bianca with her and I was left with the four Cockers and a Maltese. Time moved on as by now I was a single man and my wife was now an ex-wife. After three failed marriages, I decided enough was enough and that I preferred the company of dogs. Twenty six years later and I still hold that to be true.

For Part two – use this link

Written 1/14/2018