No politics, just puppies.
More specifically, puppies and dogs with which I’ve shared space ever since I can remember. You’ve probably seen some of these photos before, but I’m compiling them here because… well, because I want to.
So there, too.
Click on any photo to see the large version.
Addie was a Wire Fox Terrier born in Germany sometime in the early 1950’s. My Mom and Dad brought him home with them after Dad completed his assignment there in 1953. I don’t remember much about Addie except that he would often sleep with me on my bed.
He was a stereotypical male dog who wandered off for days on end only to return roughed up and hungry. He dashed out the door one night and never returned.
A Collie, as you can tell, Schatzi was the family Christmas gift in 1962-ish. She was loyal, well-trained and just the sweetest dog ever. She was raised around me and my older sister when we were still in elementary school. She tolerated without complaint all the relatively unkind shenanigans that kids inflict upon their dogs like trying to ride her like a pony or hitching her up to a sled. She never fussed. Not once.
We had to give her away when we moved to Camp Hill, PA in 1969 and she died shortly thereafter. Dad said that her new owners told him that she was never the same after that and that she died of a broken heart.
After our cat, Sam died, Dad brought home Myrtle from Lebanon, PA near Fort Indiantown Gap, the Army post where he was stationed after returning from Vietnam in 1969. I remember watching him come up the front yard from the parking spots of our apartment building concealing something under his uniform overcoat.
Myrtle was all Poodle through and through, with all of the frenetic personality traits for which miniature Poodles are well known. She was a good guard dog and doorbell, would play ball relentlessly, and was an excellent judge of character. If Myrtle didn’t like you, then it was pretty clear that I shouldn’t either, which made her dislike of the first Mrs. Wolfe so much more contextually relevant. Of course, by the time the two of them faced off, it was too late for me.
I used to take her outside and smack a tennis ball with a racquet as hard and as high as I could. She would take off at warp speed often arriving in time to greet the ball as it bounced its first bounce, zeroing in on the sound of the impact. The last time we got to play ball like this, she was much older. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. She dashed after the first ball like she was a puppy and them came back so out of breath that it was clear that hitting another one was a very bad idea. Myrtle and I had to be satisfied with that last moment of play together.
Somewhere I have a picture of Myrtle, but I can’t seem to locate it right now. I’ll have to add it later.
Alas, I have no photos of Alexander. He was a large mixed breed dog that we rescued in 1981 when I lived in Augusta, GA. He was as sweet as they come and equally dumb. He would jump the fence so we leashed him. He jumped it anyway. We discovered him one night hanging by the neck over the fence with one foot on the ground keeping him from hanging himself. I was horrified.
Later, he went to live in Augusta with my in-laws and finished out his lazy life as the neighborhood dog, wandering about greeting the cul-de-sac house by house and returning home at night for food and rest.
I was stationed in Belgium when I heard an AFN radio ad for an American family that was trying to find homes for a litter of puppies. (Not unusual that I heard radio ads as I worked for the AFN station at SHAPE, Belgium.) So after work, I dashed a few miles over to a small Belgian village and found Esme.
She was a fierce little thing, and playful. We’d sit on the couch and watch AFN’s SHAPE’s fuzzy TV signal together. One evening, Esme and I were roughhousing and she got a little too excited and bit me, not breaking the skin. I yelped in pain and surprise and she immediately backed off, tucked her tail between her legs and decided that we were done with that for the evening and we should go back to watching TV. So I sat down with a beer in one hand and started watching TV. Esme snuggled up next to me and started licking the spot where her teeth had indented my hand. She sat there soothing my “wound” for a half an hour until the beer finally had it’s effect and I got up to excuse myself.
She remained behind in Belgium with a trusted neighbor. Esme subsequently had a litter of puppies and for whatever reason was afterward uncontrollable and dangerously aggressive, so much so that she had to be euthanized for the owner’s safety.
This is the only photo of Esme that I have.
He’s a Papillon, for those curious about the breed. Like most Papillions I’ve met, he’s ridiculously smart, friendly and craves interaction and activity. Gizmo’s passion was playing ball, and he would — and has literally played until he fell over unable to move. He would come to you looking for something, a treat, his ball or frisbee or some other item he wanted. If you couldn’t decipher what he was after, all you had to say was “Show me what you want!” and he’d show you. If it was a treat, he’d stand near the kitchen cupboard and gesture to where the treats were stored. He was the best companion and while we’ve not lived in the same space for a long time, miss him terribly. (P.S. He had his own web site at one time.)
Chloe was Gizmo’s pal until her untimely demise not too long ago. Although she didn’t share Gizmo’s size, she was otherwise all Papillon — gregarious, playful and happy-go-lucky. In fact, she and Gizmo both would get together with about 15-20 of their Papillon friends, and not once do I remember any aggression breaking out. Pap’s are the most agreeable pups in my experience.
The first of the real canine hard luck cases in my experience, Charlie was a rescue who was in the worst shape of any dog I’ve ever seen. His coat was matted and sheep-like, filthy dirty and greasy to the touch. His breath smelled of rotting teeth and he was an emotional wreck.
While that last part only slightly changed before I was forced to find him a better home, the rest changed quickly. Once bathed, his coat grew out soft and luxuriously. Once his dental issues were resolved, his breath improved because he had no teeth left.
He often tried to bite, but without teeth all he could do was gum you unexpectedly. Disappointed that he wasn’t able to stay with us, a better home was found for him that immediately enrolled him in obedience classes for abused dogs. While I have no updates on what happened to him, I am choosing to believe that his life is better now.
Bella’s story is here. Every time I read this it makes me laugh and tear up. But there’s some fun pics of this truly lovely addition to my life that I hadn’t shared before. Bella had a huge positive impact on me aside from burrowing under my laptop computer when she wanted attention. I miss her terribly.
This is a video of Bella just after she realized that she was going outside for a “romp.” That meant that she and the kids and I were going out to the large field behind our home to romp and play off-leash. She was like this ANYTIME she thought she was going out to play. The neighbors thought wrongly that we were somehow abusing our sweet Bella, but we weren’t. She was just that exuberant. TURN DOWN THE VOLUME on this video. She gets loud.
You’ve been warned.
And this is Bella behaving as she most often did.
Yes, he’s still a jackass. But he’s so much improved now that he’s almost like a real dog. He’s cuddly on occasion, and craves belly and neck scratches, but ONLY on his terms. He’s affectionate with the family and squeals with delight when he’s furiously licking our faces. He’s also fiercely protective, as Dachshunds are. But he’s really only mean to one person.
If he’s outside, off leash and sees the autistic kid down the street, he chases him. And the kid runs. Emmett thinks it’s a chase game while the kid is freaking out, being chased by a snarling little wiener dog. If it weren’t so horrendously un-PC, it would be hilarious. Anyway, we put an immediate stop to that behavior and now make sure that the kid down the street isn’t in the area before we go out.
You gotta admit, that’s kinda jackass-ey.
He does not greet romps with the same exuberance as Bella did. Thank heaven for small favors.
That’s it. Enjoy the puppy pix!