To Live with Dogs

I’ve had dogs as pets in my life as far back as I can recall — and even longer.  When I was a toddler our neighbors had some sort of pitbull named Missy.  While I don’t actually remember her, I’ve heard many times the funny story about how my mom had to rescue me from the dog, who was sitting on top of me, chewing on my curly hair!  Apparently I suffered no emotional trauma from that incident; pit bulls are one of my favorite breeds to this day.

The very first dog I can remember was an adorable pup named Gretchen. She wasn’t with us for too long though; sadly, we lost her to distemper when she was still very young.

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Mom holding Gretchen, mid 1960s

A few years later we adopted a rather grumpy adult dachshund, Mike, who soon came round to being my playmate.  Then came Sascha — she was a mix of Siberian husky, St. Bernard, and something else I can’t recall right now.  She gave birth (thanks to a neighboring German Shepherd who figured out how to scale our chain-link fence) to Hondo, probably the sweetest, biggest, and most bashful dog I’ve ever met.  He was afraid of the camera, so most photos show a huge empty foreground and a barely visible Hondo as he ran for cover!

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By the time I was in college my best friend in the whole world was Phoebe; someone had dumped her in our rural neighborhood.  She later became a substitute mother to permanently skinny purebred German Shepherd Zack (otherwise known as Zeno).

And a few years later we adopted Buster.  When we rescued Gabby (AKA Bully) from the streets Buster was convinced we’d brought her home just for him.  Next then we knew, there were ten puppies… and Pinkie was the puppy we kept with us.  These trio of dogs became our family for over 15 years.

So it was incredibly hard to deal with losing first Pinkie, then Gabby, and finally Buster; in many ways we still haven’t recovered, because we still haven’t really moved on and gotten a new dog, even six years later.

One of these days we’ll run out of excuses and the perfect dog will come to us!  But in the meanwhile, I’m just glad it’s getting a little less painful to think about all my wonderful dog companions over the years.

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