There have been many dogs in my life. Each brought a different kind of joy to us. Some
were great companions who loved to go on adventures. Others played with us. Others did tricks. And others stayed by our side to the end.
Jenny was a black poodle. She came to us not long before my dad was sent to Germany by the US Army. We left for Karlsruhe in 1972 and Jenny went to live with my mother’s parents. I don’t remember Jenny at that time. I do remember her when she returned in 1975 with our move to Knoxville, Tennessee.
While in Germany, the last year we had a dog named Whiskers. He was brought up by two GI’s and his real name was Damnit. He was good fun, though he hated Germans. Quite odd given where he lived. When we moved back to the States, we gave him to another family staying in country.
Back in Tennessee, Jenny was a great dog for 7 year old. She loved to play ball and was the outfield. She would catch the ball and return it to the pitcher. Good luck getting a hit. In 1978 though, she started to go blind and had to eventually be put down.
Buffy though, overlapped with Jenny about a year. A stray that followed my brother home, he became a dog who would protect us from other dogs. When we bred Jenny, he cared for the puppies as if they were his. He did have a wild spirit and we went to live with our grandfather in Ohio in 1979 when we moved to Fort Belvoir. About six months later, he ran off and never returned.
One of our best dogs was Adam. In the summer of 1982 while visiting friends at Fort Belvoir, my mom and I met Adam. They were keeping him for a friend of theirs and were looking for a good home. He was an Irish Setter/Golden Retriever mix and mild of temper. That day, he made the trip back to Fort Ritchie with us and lived with us until he was very old and quite ill. He went with us to Stuttgart, Germany and then to Johnson Bible College. He loved to chase and loved people. At 15, it came his time to leave us and he is buried in the woods on top of the hill at Johnson.
Woofie (sometimes Wolfie) was the first dog my wife and I had. We rescued her from the pound in 1992 at Knoxville. She was a great apartment dog and very smart. We made a donation to the shelter and received free beginner level obedience lessons. She learned to take items from either of us and give to the other. She would bring her water bowl when it was empty and could go off the leash quite well. We rented a house from my parents in 1995 and in 1996 she and Jake got out of the fenced in backyard. He made it back, she did not. We found her on the side of the road and buried her in the side. After all these years, I still miss her.
About a year before we moved out of the apartment, some people we knew at the University of Tennessee had a stray that wanted to find a home for. Jake was a mutt with a purple tongue. We kept him for a few days and eventually gave him to my brother. Jake was a bit of a wild dog, being part chow, and when younger didn’t like to be hemmed in. When my brother took a job in Canton, Ohio and lived in an apartment that allowed no pets, Jake stayed with us in the house. He liked to dig and get out. For a long time, only he got out, but eventually Woofie joined him. I was too slow getting the fence repaired with rebar and Woofie got killed. In late 1997, we moved to Marion, Ohio and Jake went to live with the in-laws in Richmound, Virginia. There he dug big holes, went through the glass panel on a storm door and got into neighbors’ trash. The last few years of his life he was more tame and his best friend was the cat who lived up the street. Poppop buried him in the holes he dug out back.
Maggie. What can be said about Maggie. She was a large, white dog and very gentle. She came to us about a year about Woofie died. When we had children, she let them play with her, climb on her and pull her tail. Many times it seemed she treated them like they were her puppies. Though she looked like a white retriever, she never chased anything not edible. She did not chase sticks, balls, toys, etc. She was very kind to most people, especially women, and loved by many. She lived with us in Knoxville and Marion and our moved to Cincinnati. In mid 2011, her health started to fail. Eventually, she started to eat less, then nothing. The last week of her life was the most painful. Neighbors and friends alike cried when we had to put her down.
Snuggles is yet another stray dog (notice a theme???) who came up to us when we were out doing yard work in October 1995. She was with us when Woofie got killed. She and Jake were around before Maggie and she also went to live with the in-laws in 1997. In Christmas 2003, she came back to us as our son’s dog. She was a bit aggressive for a smaller dog and really loved to chase everything. Fast and nimble, she would chase frisbies, balls, sticks, everything. She would bark when Jake and Woofie would get out. She also loved to snuggle, hence her name. After Maggie was gone, she started to become listless and have less excitement. She obviously missed her friend. In the early spring of 2012, Toby came into our life and Snuggles perked up. Nearing 17, her back became a problem and one night something happened. We are not sure, but the next day she could barely walk and I had to carry her to take her outside. She stopped eating everything, including treats, and shook a great deal. As painful as it was to say goodbye to another friend so shortly after Maggie, it was her time as well.
These friends completed us. They contributed to the value of our lives. As long as we remember them, they live on.