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Our Pets

Admittedly, I am not an overly-sentimental woman. Some might even say I am coldhearted...the word "Bitch" has probably been whispered more than once when I have been discussed behind closed doors...oh well. As my sister-in-law once said, "You say I'm a Bitch like it's a Bad Thing"...! But I digress...

Growing up, we always had a Family Dog. From my very first memories in southern California, we had Dusty...who Mama named because he literally looked like a dust mop. He was just the right size for little kids...not so small you could hurt him, but not so big he was intimidating. He was a dirty white color, with hair we would now describe as being "like dreadlocks", only back then no one had ever heard of those. His hair hung in his eyes, so you hardly knew they were there, and he had a little black nose. We loved him dearly.

When I was about 4 or 5, we got a German Shepard puppy. He chewed up everything! Money was tight and I remember Mama being so distressed after finding shoes, baby bottle nipples and toys chewed to smithereens. I do not know how long we had him, but I do remember him sealing his fate by pulling down all Mama's clean laundry from the clothesline and into the mud. He went bye-bye...

Then we got a black Scotty Dog, who (surprise, surprise) we named Scotty. Daddy brought him home when we lived in Ritzville, Washington and I was about 9. He was adorable. But, when we moved to the farm in Salem, he developed a taste for chickens. Daddy tried everything, including tying a dead chicken to his neck, but nothing worked and we had to give him to a "chicken-less" home...

And finally, we got Rex, our beautiful Collie Dog. He was just lovely, in temperament, looks and demeanor. He traveled with us to Mexico and Guatemala.

My very first Dog was Shep. He was a big German Shepherd that I was given in Guatemala, because he was too aggressive for where he had been living. I loved him so very much. He was such a protective dog. I could leave my baby on a blanket in our fenced compound, and he would sit guard over her until I returned from the house. The local natives were terrified of him. One time, I heard some yelling and went out to the gate, only to find a poor Indian Man half-way up the electric pole, with Shep poised at the bottom! I was left alone a great deal, on the mission compound, in a foreign country. But with Shep around, I always felt safe. I lost him in a horrific way, by a man who claimed to love me. My heart was shattered.

After Shep, I had several dogs, and a couple of cats. I loved them all and lost them all due to varying and different circumstances...a sweet Doberman who stayed with an ex, a beautiful grey Persian cat who disappeared and was lost forever, a wonderful recue Saint Bernard who was old when I got him and who died, and a Siamese cat I could not take to an apartment, and my dear Pomeranian, Rusty, who I had to give to my parents, also because I could not have a pet at my apartment. 20 years of beloved pets.

When Larry and I got married, we had a Conversation about Having Pets. At the time we had an Outdoor Cat that he had inherited by default, and who lived with us until it died. (It was an IT because it was a bit feral and we chose to respect it's privacy!) But Larry asked of me only that, if we decided to get a dog, would I please allow him to choose the one we got. And that was ok with me...

Due to many and varied extenuating circumstances, we never got a pet. But we have lived vicariously, as pet owners, through our children's and grandchildren's pets.

This week my daughter's family lost their 15 year old schnauzer, Cecelia Cordelia (named by my 4 year old granddaughter). Known as CC, she was a frequent visitor to our home and on family camping excursions. She was such a good doggie. When they were small, the kids dressed her up and hauled her around. When we babysat her, she loved to run around our property, investigating all the unfamiliar smells, but always came when I called her. If we happened to have her when Larry was recuperating from illness or surgery, she would walk with him on his daily walks to the end of the lane, staying close to his side. When we took her camping or to the lake, she was curious but stayed close and never got lost. When she was about 5 years old, she gracefully tolerated the presence of the new puppy, Boo.

Losing her reminded me, all over again, how very difficult it is to let go of our beloved animals, whatever the circumstances. Rest in Peace in that Great Playground in the Sky, dearest little dog...

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