June 7, 2021

A DOG’S LIFE

Over the years, I’ve loved some family pets—but I’m just not an animal person.  Thankfully, as adults both Heather and Patrick have had some wonderful pets!  But I have to admit we had a few mishaps with their childhood pets.

When Heather was a toddler, one of Tom’s students had some Siamese kittens and offered us one.  The kitten’s cry sounded like another baby in the house—and when she scratched Heather badly we decided to return her to the student. Later a stray male tabby cat showed up in our yard and we “adopted” him.  We called him Beauregard.  He remained independent—and once brought home a little family.  The baby kitten seemed very ill and I took it to the vet where it died. We loved Beau!

One year we went away for a week’s vacation and our neighbor Cathy promised to look after Beau for us. When we returned, she said he’d disappeared. She’d called and looked for him with no luck.  Heather and Patrick were distressed and another neighbor Jess said he’d look for Beau.  He had gone off into a remote part of the yard to die.  Jess buried him and we grieved.

We first got a Brittany Spaniel puppy because J.R. Reynolds loved that breed and we liked his dogs.  She had butterscotch spots and we named her Candy.  That dog was 100% energy—truly ready to go hunting!  I’d go out the back door to feed her and she’d jump all over me with excitement, occasionally knocking me flat on my back. We were at a loss as to how to train her.  J.R. took pity on us and took her to live with them.  He later said she was a real challenge for him to train—but at least she had a good home.

After we moved to our new house on King George Way we tried to have a dog again.  This photo shows Patrick playing with Luke, our black cocker spaniel.  The theory was that Heather and Patrick were older and could be the primary caretakers.  The downside of that was that they were very involved with school, extracurricular activities and their friends—with not so much time to play with a dog.  Our back yard faced the pond (which we called a lake) so we couldn’t have a fenced in yard for Luke. 

A few years later, Mother’s health was declining and she moved in with us.  We kept Luke downstairs in the unfinished part of our basement.  There were windows looking out on the lake, and he had a cozy bed near the washer and dryer.  We kept him well supplied with food and water and took him out for walks once or twice a day.  Eventually we had a sitter stay with Mother while I worked during the day.  I really felt bad to have so little time for Luke.  Finally, the sitter mentioned that her daughter had a nice fenced in back yard, loved dogs and had recently lost one.  She was interested in giving Luke a home!  It seemed best for Luke and our situation.  The afternoon she came to pick him up, Patrick and I both shed a few tears—but it was good to know he’d be with other dogs and people who would give him the time and attention we couldn’t.  Good dog, Luke!

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