Five Dogs

Dear Mark,

I realize this is lengthy, but I kept it as short as I could. I know it’s too long to put on your web-site, but I thought you would enjoy it. Each one of these dogs helped make me who I am today and each one was important in my life.

Dog #1 Sootie She was a black dog with white markings that was part poodle and part Irish setter. Mutt. I got her for free from some folks down the street whose Irish setter had 7 puppies. I was 7 years old. I was down at that house every single day driving those poor people crazy. Hence, she was taken away from her mom too soon and cried every night for a week despite an alarm clock and fur collar. She was a great dog. She would never run off and she was so friendly. She developed epilepsy, but only ever had 4 seizures. When she was about 12 years old she ran away never to be seen again! She was not wearing her tags. This broke my mom’s heart. My mom would think she saw her in a parking lot, just about everywhere. She called the Humane Society, vets offices, but no luck. I was grown and had already moved out, but I still took it hard. After all the years we had her and how much we loved her to not know what happened to her or be able to say goodbye….

Dog #2 Sunny Thirty years ago my husband and I were shopping at a local mall and fell in love with a 12 week old golden retriever puppy in the window of a pet shop. We happened to have $300.00 cash on us for the purpose of buying a dishwasher. Guess which one we bought? Well, since we later learned that he was from a puppy mill it explains everything we were to endure. He had coxidia when we got him. He had chronic ear infections. When he was 2 years old our first daughter was born. I was outside one day throwing a stick for him. He brought it back to me and when I tried to take it from him he growled at me. This was disturbing because he had never done that before and weighed over 100lbs. Having a new baby, I thought maybe he was jealous, so I was extra attentive. My husband worked a 2nd job playing in a wedding band on weekends. While he was at work, Sunny came over to the couch and started growling at me and showing his teeth. I sweet talked him outside where he remained until my husband got home. He had to go, but where? I was afraid of him and for my baby. I work for a local police dept. One of the officers had a home on a lake and agreed to take him. He was there for about a week and did the same thing to his wife. Now what? After crying for a week, we took him back to try again. He was so young. We took him to the vet thinking he was sick or something. He told us that it was because of poor breeding and he was an alpha male and would have to be placed in a one person home. So here we go to the humane society and saying goodbye again. They could not guarantee a one person home and he was put to sleep. It would be 8 years before I got another dog….but we did.

Dog #3 Cindy (Cinderella) My best friend was a vet tech. I had told her I was looking for a dog for my 2 daughters, but not a puppy since the last one was very destructive. The vet actually had a stray golden retriever in his neighbor’s yard and she looked like she was a purebred and about 1 year old. She had recently been spayed. We drove out there and she was beautiful! No tags, no collar. Placed an ad in the local paper, but she was ours. A couple of weeks after we had her people would say “Can your dog see?” Well, turns out she had progressive retinal atrophy and only peripheral vision. My vet said she might go completely blind or stay the way it was. He warned us not to let anyone sneak up on her or she might snap at them. She never did. We had her for 15 years. She was an angel. She would twirl in circles all the time to get a full view of things. She could run like the wind and never ran into anything. We knew when it was her time. Her organs were shutting down. We both went to the vet and held her and said goodbye. We gave her a great life. I will never know if her previous owner let her go because of her illness, but we were the lucky ones.

Dog #4 Mia Saved the best for last. After all of our past luck with dogs, we decided to go to a breeder this time. She is a golden retriever and we got her when she was 8 weeks olds. The breeder warned us by saying “This one is a trip.” We call her the cutest little goldie in the whole wide worldie. She is 6 years old now. We are empty nesters now and she adds so much joy to our lives. She is the most affectionate dog I have ever had. We love her to pieces.

Dog#5 Charlie We decided Mia needed a buddy. We saw his picture on Petfinder and wrote a letter to the foster parents begging to adopt him. He was a 3 year old flat coated retriever. So we drove 4 hours to meet him and brought Mia with us. The foster family did not know Charlie’s history. They rescued him from the pound. He growled at one of us and that should have been a red flag, but we decided to give him a chance. Well, we had him a week and returned him. The dogs didn’t get along and he was a dominant dog. Aggressive. So that was an ordeal and Mia is an only dog for now.

No regrets. My husband and I have been married for 33 years. We share your political views and your personal ones….we just keep trying to do the right thing. Thank you for your book. You could probably write another one full of everybody’s dog stories. The photo is of Charlie and Mia.


Charlene from MI