Wednesday, March 19, 2008


In the early seventies I was working as a bank auditor in Central New York. One day in late May it snowed heavily. I gave notice, broke my lease and moved to Myrtle Beach, SC. I was young, single, had a good job and a two bedroom duplex a block from the beach. I needed a dog !! A neighbor had three six week old puppies, one blonde, one black and one reddish. The dad was a boxer and the mom was a rangy terrier used for hunting squirrels.When I walked up to the gate to see the pups, they were all playing with a toy. The blonde and black ones came running up to greet me, the red one stole the toy and took off . I left with the red one.

I named her Liberation, Libby for short and she and I were constant companions for the next fifteen years. She loved to chase gulls on the beach, dig for crabs and jump the waves. She was at home in a boat or a car and traveled from Canada to Florida. She lived in SC, NY and PA, in the country and in the heart of the city. There were never any adjustment problems. Libby felt it was her job to pass judgement on my dates. Some never made it through the door, some were allowed in but she made it obvious they weren't welcome. A few she tolerated. Her favorite was the man who owned a steak house. He bribed her with doggy bags of steak bits and rides in his car. She also liked Robert right away and they became good friends. He introduced her to yogurt and doughnuts and lots of rides.

One time while I was still working, I made a pan of brownies for my co-workers. I set the pan on the coffee table while I got my jacket, purse and umbrella. I got to work and
remembered the brownies. Oh well. When I returned home that evening, Libby greeted me at the door, very excited. She ran to the coffee table and there was the pan of brownies, untouched but swimming in a pool of drool. What a good dog. She must have been sitting over those brownies all day waiting
for me to give her one. Yes, I know chocolate is bad for dogs, but she got a brownie. She earned it.

At age fifteen after a morning of chasing squirrels in the park, Libby had a stroke. The emergency vet gave her medication but she was unable to stand. I sat on the floor beside her all night and in the morning she died quietly in my arms.She was a good friend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Starting Point

I have always had dogs in my life. Currently twelve furkids share our home. Before introducing them I think I should pay tribute to those that broke me in.

First was Petey, a blonde Cocker Spaniel. Technically she belonged to my Uncle, but I was three years old and so everything was mine. Our playtimes were carefully supervised.

Next was Blondie, another blonde Cocker Spaniel. Note the originality in the name, I probably had a hand in naming her. We were great pals and would wander the fields together and sprawl on the floor to watch TV. She made a great pillow.

Boots was a black Cocker Spaniel.Note a trend here? Cockers were my Grandmother's favorite breed and since she paid all the expenses involved in keeping my dog, she got to choose the breed. This was the first dog I had some real responsibility for feeding, grooming and walking. Boots was six years old when she came to live with us. She had lived with a military family that was being transferred overseas and they couldn't take her. I'm not sure why she was named Boots, she didn't have white feet. Perhaps they thought her shiny black coat looked like polished army boots. She was sweet, patient and went everywhere with me.

Cookie was a three year old 13" Beagle. She taught me that hounds are very different from spaniels. Although she was the only hound I've had, so far, I have a real love for the group.

Hermione was a shelter dog, part German Shepard and part something small. She looked like a pint size GS. She was all mine and being in high school, I had to babysit to earn her keep. When she was about a year old I had a school function on a Saturday morning. Hermione was in heat and I didn't want my four year old brother to let her outside while I was gone, so I locked her in the garage. When I returned I noticed that the only window in the garage, about four feet off the ground, was broken. I asked my brother if he had seen any dogs around and he answered, "The blue dog was here." That was helpful! The next day he pointed out the window and said," There's the blue dog." A black Cocker Spaniel was hanging around the garage. Two months later we had four blue and white puppies.

Louie, Claude, Penny and Zelda were a delight. When they were about five weeks old Hermione was stolen from our yard. Several other dogs in the village were stolen that day from their owner's yards or from pens. None were ever found.
Zelda stayed with me. She was the easiest dog I've ever had. She was housetrained in one day and learned commands immediately. Because of the theft of her mother,I taught her to accept food only from the immediate family members. We didn't think she could bark until she was eight years old and barked at the door for the first time. I guess she never felt the need. Zelda lived to be seventeen years old and had great health, only some arthritis around age thirteen. Her brother Claude lived to be fifteen.