Pets I Have Loved

As long as I can remember, my family has always had pets, whether they were gerbils, tropical fish, turtles, or cats and dogs. One of the first pet pictures I have is of Bobby and I’m sure he was a Heinz 57 breed. That didn’t mean we loved him less.

img728As my brother and I grew older, we still loved to pose with Bobby.

img726Our next dog was a collie type, but also Heinz 57. Her name was Trudy, but we didn’t have her long. I think she may have nipped someone and my parents found a home for her on a nearby farm. Here we are (my brother and two sisters) all sitting on the sidewalk by our house in the boonies. The sweet little girl on the far right is a neighbour.

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Then we had a shaggy mongrel dog who looked like a mop. We called him Mopsy and loved him SO much. On the picture below, where my sister is all dressed up for the Fall Fair parade, Mopsy is favouring one of his legs. He had tried to jump the fence when he was tied up and we weren’t home. He broke his leg and we felt terrible. But after some time in a cast, his leg healed. We had Mopsy for years, but one day he wandered up the street in the night to visit a bitch in heat and came home with a load of shot in his chest. He crawled under the shed and died. We were just heartbroken.

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All grown up, I still had pets. Our chocolate lab, Toby, had a litter of puppies, one of which our friends adopted. Nicky was supposedly the runt of the litter, but he turned out to be probably the best dog of the bunch.
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On our little hobby farm, I am surrounded by pets: the chickens, our chocolate lab (Toby), and my two lovely cats, Shorty (the lighter one) and Cowboy (the dark one). img571Here is Shorty.

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And here is Cowboy.

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We had a couple of other dogs who were not remarkable and I don’t have photos of them, but when Lily came along, she was our best dog up to that time. She was an English springer spaniel, who never gave up on retrieving a bird. Lily was an excellent bird dog, and a very sweet house dog. She not only enjoyed being petted, but she came over to give hugs. She would lay her head against my knee and sigh a real Valentine’s sigh. If Lily could have talked, we would have heard her telling us she loved us many times. And the feeling was mutual.

Lily, age 73

Lily looks a bit scruffy on the photos because she was quite old by this time (73 in people years) and she had Cushing’s Syndrome, a disease that attacks the adrenal glands and has many awful side effects. In the photo below, she had just been to the vet and I had her out on the sundeck where she liked to spend time. She let me dress her up as Lily the maid. I put the vacuum beside her and pretended she was helping clean the house. She would let me do anything with her. So easy going. So loving. She didn’t last much longer after these last days and I’ll always miss my sweet Lily.

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Then we got Ruby, the English springer on the right (below). It turns out she has some of the same ancestry that Lily had, and although Ruby was a monster puppy who put me through hell, she has redeemed herself many times over and is like another Lily – an excellent bird dog and a loving pet. To keep her company, we got a buddy for her – Emma on the left. She is an English cocker spaniel.

??????????Just behind Emma and to the right, you can see the evidence of one of her bad puppy habits. She likes to dig! But she is focused. Emma, is definitely a bird dog.

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45 thoughts on “Pets I Have Loved

  1. I love all your pets you loved and I love you for loving all those sweet dogs and cats. I am the same. A life without pets would be so empty for me. They are such good friends and comfort us when we need it. Pets enrich our life. I wish that some people would be kinder to animals! Thanks for this post, I love it.

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  2. Loved your post and all the photos! A life without critters around us would be very strange. I love my two kitties. They are so entertaining, and excellent company. Thanks for bringing back so many wonderful memories of our family’s pets and yours. Happy V.D. (Valentine’s Day….not that other thing!). tsk tsk.

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    • Thanks for checking in, since you’re on the photos too. “It takes a village….” I think we all have that love for animals, thanks to our mother. She really took care of all our pets very well, didn’t she?!

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  3. What fun to see all of your pets, Anneli! Beloved cats and dogs have always been part of my life until the last few years. Now travel precludes pets and I’m not complaining … however I love spending time with the pets of other family members and know there will be a day when they are back in my life too. Keep sharing photos of your pets for us to enjoy!

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    • I completely understand, Patricia. You can’t travel much with pets and it’s such a shame to leave them behind. We have restricted our traveling to places we can take our dogs, or we have to do separate holidays (which is okay once in a while, but really not ideal).

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  4. I enjoyed seeing all the pets you’ve loved. I never had a dog before I was 35 years old. I had a couple of cats when I was a kid, but they disappeared after a few months. My mom didn’t like animals. I often wonder if she took those cats somewhere to another home. I was amazed at how much of an impact that a pet can leave on one’s life after my first dog. I’ll never forget him. He took a piece of my heart with him.

    I loved seeing those photos of you as a kid with the pets. Is that when you lived in the frozen tundra … was it, Dawson? I didn’t think it ever got warm enough up there for capri pants or shorts, even in the summer. Are you one of 4 siblings? Where are you in the sequence of four? My husband is the 3rd of 4 boys. Thanks for sharing more about yourself and your pets.

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    • I think it makes a big difference if your parents like animals and teach you that they are to be loved. My mother loved animals but my dad didn’t so I guess I was lucky that “love won.” I’m the oldest of four, but I have three half siblings. (Blended families were common after the war disrupted so many families (at least in Europe, that’s how it was). Now they’re common again “just because.”
      We lived in Dawson Creek, which is far enough up north, but not as far as Dawson. The two places are often confused.

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    • In my mind, I always thank my mother for instilling a love of animals in her children. All her daughters love birds (and all other pets too).There’s another topic for posts – birds. So many stories! I can tell you love animals too with your many pictures of the reindeer and horses, and your dog in so many of your photos. Very heartwarming photos.

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    • We were all so upset. It was some guy who lived just up the road, but what could we say? Mopsy got away on us and a bitch in heat is irresistible to a dog. But to do that to a dog. Why didn’t he keep his bitch in the house? He could have just thrown a rock at Mopsy, and he had to know it was our dog. All the kids cried and I remember my parents being so serious and trying to put on a brave face. I went to the piano and played a hymn for Mopsy (childish, I know, but I was a child). It really was a terrible thing for someone to do. How can people be so cruel?

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  5. Anneli, I loved the collection of photos of your pets. Your dogs’ names made me smile, too. Your photographs show warmth and love. Your family are all so attractive and look happy together in these photos, too. I was so sad about Mopsy. That was a horrible thing for that owner to do. These days he would have a lawsuit against him.

    We had a Toby (too) who was a German Shepherd and Yellow Lab mix from the pound, from 1999 until I divorced my husband. He was such a beautiful and easy going dog. We also had a Nicki and Nicky. My parents had a male collie mix bought at the pound around Christmas so he was our St. Nick. Then, when they had another collie mix, a girl this time, they named her Nicki. My Mom’s recent dog, a shih-tzu mix is named, Nicki. She gets insulted because people call her a boy. Funny how age makes us pick and choose our little ways of being insulted.

    My youngest brother cracked me up when they had a black Newfoundland and called him Moby Dick, then when they had an accident and lost their golden retriever (Feste) and Newfoundland (Moby) they bought another set of golden retriever and Newfoundland named Fiona.

    The sad ending to Feste and Moby was my brother, daughter and sister in law were in a state park out west, mountains and snow. They usually would wait until they checked out the parking lot and decide whether or not to keep the dogs on their leashes. It was December a few years back and there were no other cars. They decided as they climbed a steep hill to let the dogs off their leashes. Then, my runner brother was running up the hill after them with my youngest daughter. (They were on a road trip to see my SIL’s son out in California.) As they turned a curve, my brother grabbed the hood of my daughter and pulled her into the woods. With horror, she looked out at a cliff. There was no chain or other barrier across the path to let you know it ended. The two dogs, excited to have a chance to spread their legs from being in a van for some time went on over the cliff. My brother, youngest daughter and sister in law went to the Forest Ranger’s office and forced them to get a crane to go and retrieve their dogs’ bodies. They were irate that they could have died, too. The path was not clearly marked as ‘closed’ or anything, Anneli! It put a pall on their Christmas but they did not tell me until they got back from their trip how close my daughter’s life’s end was! They didn’t wish to do it over the telephone.

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    • Oh, Robin, that’s awful about the cliff. There’s a place here on the island where I went grouse hunting with my husband and our springer. Same thing – an unexpected dropoff that went WAY down. As soon as we realized it, we kept the dog away from there and never went back. If we had shot a grouse there, the dog would have gone over the cliff after it. I still get shivers when I think about how close it was, but to have it really happen to your brother’s dogs is terrible. In a park, you would think they would have it marked so at least the people wouldn’t go over the edge. Very sad story. I’m sorry that happened to the dogs. Must have been heartbreaking.

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      • I am just blessed that my brother grabbed my daughter’s hood on her jacket, because she was looking at him (her uncle) and talking without watching the path herself. The dog loss was devastating to my brother, most of all. He is a good man, a teacher and stepdad to three children and grandpa to three grandchildren. The dogs are his ‘babies,’ which is silly to say, but true. He loved the cat, Serena, which was around for a lot of years, dying peacefully. Thanks for letting me share this story, which I knew would touch your heart, Anneli. I miss them, too. But, as mentioned, they did wait about six months and then got on a rescue list for the golden but paid for the newfoundland. They don’t seem to have rescue “newfies.” We feel they work well as a team. . .I notice you have your older dog and the new one, with the team work going, too, Anneli.

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  6. Sie sind alle so süß. ❤

    Ganz verwirrt habe ich mich gefragt was wohl "a Heinz 57 breed" bedeutet. 🙂 Zum Glück gibt es Google. Es bedeutet wohl so viel wie bei uns das Wort "Promenadenmischung". 🙂 Nun bin ich wieder ein bisschen klüger. 🙂

    Liebe Grüße,
    Martina

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