Ten years ago, I moved to the country with my husband and 13-year old daughter. We had two dogs at that time — Bakka, an Australian shepherd given to us by a neighbor who was moving to an apartment complex that did not allow pets, and Benny, an apricot toy poodle purchased at a pet shop (for a sum I did not disclose to my husband until years later…).

From the moment we moved into our country home, our dog population began to increase. Our house is located at the end of a winding country lane that snakes through the woods down to a creek. Soon after we moved into the house, our dog population began to increase! From our son, we inherited two dogs: Sam and Sadie. The arrangement was to have been temporary, but as things worked out, Sam and Sadie became permanent residents.

Over the next four years, seven dogs — apparently lost or discarded — made their way down our country raod and up the driveway to our back door: Oscar, Arnie, Bubba, Ruthie, Freddie, Millie and Lyza. We kept them all!And, we told our friends and family that we had moved to Dog Heaven! These lovely animals have been a source of true joy. Each of them has a distinctive personality and approach to life. They have definitely enriched our lives!

Our 13-year old daughter has now graduated from college and lives in another state (Lyza moved with her when she left for school). Our beloved pets Bakka and Benny have departed as have Sam and Sadie, Arnie and Bubba. Two of them died quiet, natural deaths; three of them had to be put to sleep and one… the old black and tan hound dog…took a stray bullet to the chest when he ran into the woods to do what he knew best — track deer. My husband buried five of the dogs on the hillside near our home….a task that always laid him low for weeks!

Four dogs remain: Oscar, Freddie, Ruthie and Millie. One large dog and three small ones! We often think back to the full house we once had and wonder how we managed. But, we will always remember with fondness and a smile those beautiful strays who graced our home.

Diane from Indiana