If you’ve never loved a dog, you don’t want to read this. It’s all warm and fuzzy. But for those of us who have cherished and nurtured and buried beloved pets, here you go……………..
When I was a child, growing up in Lavonia , my parents gave me my first Cocker Spaniel. Since that time, I have loved many, but this one was special. He was AKC registered and his official name was Diane’s Mr. Tip because of the white tips on his black paws. He, of course, was lovingly called Tippy.
Now at some point , when he was 3 or 4 years old, Tippy was stolen. Daddy somehow knew that and did what you did back in the day. He called Sheriff Tom Watson Andrews , ( Missy Andrews Blakely and Scott Andrews’ grandfather ) and told him that there was a broken-hearted little girl at our house.
A couple of months later, Tom Watson showed up with Tippy in tow, found tied behind a barn in Hart County ! What rejoicing——and what gratitude for a kind-hearted sheriff who cared enough to quit chasing bad guys and make a little girl happy.
Tippy died some years later, but instead of saying that, Mother explained that Tippy had gotten old enough to want to explore a different world and that he would always love us , but other paths called him. Those were the days when reality was not as important as comfort and peace, much like Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. I’ll always be grateful for that .
My daddy hunted quail , and he had two bird dogs : Jack was a Setter and Ben, a Retriever. One day the workers who were re-roofing our house left their ladder leaning against the wall. I was about seven years old, so I climbed the ladder and promptly fell off, breaking my arm. Almost simultaneously, Jack broke his leg.
Mother said that Daddy had a difficult time deciding which one to take to the doctor first !!!!! Such is the love of our pets………….
The first dog we had after Byron and I married was a black Cocker, named Fitzgerald for President Kennedy. Fitzgerald was a delight and lived with us in an upstairs apartment in Atlanta for the first year or so. Have no recollection of how we actually managed that.
When we bought out first house in Winder, I was pregnant. When Chuck was brought home from the hospital and placed in a small cradle, Fitzgerald lifted himself up , took a look , noted the newcomer——–and promptly had a seizure !!!! Those seizures continued until he died. Far be it from me to question whether dogs understand !!!!!
Other dogs through the years were choices made by our children. We had Beagles, Weimaraners, Dachshunds, Cockers, and many, many mutts, and we loved them all. But the children grew up and Cockers prevailed : Seab, Opie, George, Barney, Zack———-and now our Gracie, who is, unquestionably, the most loved.
She was found wandering in rural Franklin County some 8 years ago and brought to Lavonia Animal Hospital in bad shape. Now this clinic has been our safe place since the 1970s , shortly after Dr. Pat Hitchcock opened. Dr. Jason Macomson was added , as was Kim Wilder, and the three of them have carried us through some tough times. We are grateful.
Jason called us to come down to meet Gracie, and she was just perfect for us. She’s house-broken , doesn’t bark , never meets a stranger , stands back for us to go ahead , sits for her snack , sleeps all night , and makes no demands of any kind . When she needs to go out, she shakes her head ” No ” , but we know she means ” Yes “.
One story about Gracie happened recently. She began panting. I mean PANTING , non-stop , for virtually every waking hour. And it continued for 3 or 4 days. Now panting in a dog generally means exertion ( Gracie never exerts ) , heat ( controlled climate ), anxiety ( what could she possibly be anxious about ? ) or pain. So off to the clinic we go.
Jason ( when he had a free minute, Pat came in ) did the whole ” enchilada ” : physical exam, x-rays, and lab work. No problems found ! So, Jason says to Byron, Gracie, and me , ” Perfect ! All tests show that she is fine. But I’ll prescribe something to see if we can stop the panting. But there seems to be nothing wrong at all “.
Now get this: NO MEDICINE GIVEN ! NO MORE PANTING ! Nothing done at all. Gracie simply heard the doctor say, ” You are fine ! ” ………… and she is. Just like humans, they hear and understand. She was reassured ; end of story.
I warned you that this would be warm and fuzzy…………..
I’ll end on this note. Dennis , our son-in-law, had a large Lab many years ago named Janna for Muff’s grandmother. We were sitting on our deck one afternoon , discussing various things, including our pets.
And Dennis said, ” Anyone who does not believe that dogs have souls has never looked into Janna’s eyes. ”
I think that about sums it up…………………………
Love this one! Our house would not be the same without Lilah (a mutt) and Molly (our Dachshund).
They are family, aren’t they ?
Wonderful example of how much we all love our dogs❤️ Love all of your musings, but this was very special in light of our being so worried about our little Gracie the past few days. Oh how we love her.
And I’m worried about your Gracie, too. Just happy that medication seems to be working. I do know that she is a critical part of your family as is our Gracie. Just had much-loved dogs in my lifetime on my mind and wanted to recognize———–one more time.
I love animals, dogs and cats! I am not sure that I trust people who are not animal lovers 😉
You are right on ! Enjoyed our short visit this morning.
I lived in Athens while attending UGA. Every week or so I would drive to Winder to visit my parents and do my laundry. Usually Pete would be waiting in our driveway but on this Friday in 1969 Pete was nowhere in sight.
Pete was my mixed breed dog. A “Heinz 57”. I immediately inquired about Pete. My Mother cried. We all cried.
Pete followed me everywhere. When I walked or rode my bike to grade school, Pete would follow me there and then return home. He was always waiting for me at the bike rack when the 3:00 bell rang. How did he know?……
The same way he knew when I was driving home from Athens and would wait for me in our driveway. He was always there until he wasn’t.
Beautifully stated about the love and bond between a boy and his dog. Your last sentence touched my heart. Thank you.
Love this, it touched my soul. If I get to Heaven I hope every pet I have ever had is waiting with St Peter at the Golden Gate for me.
Thank you. My feelings exactly !
Lulu was also found abandoned in Franklin County…out in Gum Log on Lucy’s road. Thus I named her Lulu after her foster mother. Lucy and Jeff kept her for me until Jennifer and Carol, the whole gang, brought her to me six years ago, for the Ole Miss v Georgia game! She threw up the whole way over here and Jennifer patiently took care of her. It was a wild weekend with lots of company with a new puppy!!! A wonderful memory. When you live alone, a dog is the best friend imaginable.
I remember ! And I know how special she is for you and to you. God does have a way of so often giving us what we need when we need. Enjoy…………………
Thank you for sharing these wonderful canine memories.
Thank you reading and commenting. Dog lover that you are, memories abound , I’m sure . It truly is a special bond for so many of us.
Another great contribution to your Blog.
I am old enough to remember your first dog, Tippy.
If souls really exist, Dogs certainly have one.
How uplifting to hear from someone who remembers all those special childhood moments that we shared . Thank you for staying in touch. It means much………..
Have enjoyed all the dog stories of yours and friends.
Our last dog was a sweet brown cocker spaniel. He did seem to
enjoy scaring the man from the cleaners when he stepped onto our
porch with the clothes!
I remember hearing you talk about your Cocker. Reminds me of Peggy Smith Todd’s Boxer, who attacked anybody in uniform ! Enjoyed seeing you when you were in Lavonia. Looking forward to next trip…………
Loved hearing about your dogs through the years. I have met your sweet Gracie and fell in love with the way she recognizes when one wants to pet, scratch, and be close to her. I learned a long time ago that dogs do not need to speak words, they communicate with their eyes and somehow we know exactly what they are telling us.
Your words resonate with me. I, too, believe that dogs are , in most cases, better at genuine communication than humans are. Loved seeing you and yours at the Blessings of the Animals. And Gracie certainly recognizes a friend !
Thank you for your response.
This one brought tears to my eyes! There is nothing like a dog!
You can always count on total devotion and loyalty. Loved the stream of comments that others have made about their own dogs over the years. As always, thank you for reading and commenting. Your devotion and loyalty to our many years of friendship are so uplifting. Love ya………………