Best in Show

Today’s post comes from Crystalbay

I don’t have a whole lot of memories about childhood, but my brother hasn’t forgotten a single conversation, event, image, or visual of all of those years. I wish I could. Just imagine having every aspect of childhood in a file drawer in you brain?

When scrolling through old pictures, I found these two. In the first one, Steve and I are sitting with our beloved pets. Bobo, only three months old, and Timmy, who lived 21 years. Timmy was my only best friend until I left home. Bobo didn’t last too long. He had a habit of eating any shoe in sight and trampling our neighbors flower gardens. In an effort to block him from going upstairs to eat more shoes, Dad constructed a tall gate at the bottom of the stairs. This 180-pound dog took one look at it, leaned into it with his weight, and it went crashing down.  He ended up at someone’s farm. It broke my heat.

The second photo is one of us, dressed up by home-sewn alpine costumes and all set to go to a “Best Dog” competition. We were certain he’d win – especially given our apparel tying into the theme of a rescue dog. All he got was the “Longest Tail” prize.

Who was the greatest pet in your childhood?

 

58 thoughts on “Best in Show”

  1. My parents weren’t pet people. I always made friends with the neighbors’ dogs and cats. At one home there were five dogs – two poodles, two dachshunds, and a chihuahua. I loved visiting there. The chihuahua didn’t like kids much, but after I courted her patiently for a year or two, she allowed me to pet her a little.

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  2. The experiment of living with a Saint Bernard failed for many reasons. Bobo once ate a huge can of Crisco, resulting in buckets of diarrhea, and he once consumed a two-pound coffee can filled with Crayons. For a while after that we had the prettiest dog poop in Iowa. Fearing nothing, he slept in the street in front of our home, forcing passing cars to drive around him. We had him about one year.

    My next dog was a beagle, Jody, who had been raised by a cat when her mother died shortly after giving birth. Her life was short and complicated.

    But we hit the jackpot with the next dog, a golden retriever we named Danny. Loyal, loving and elegant, Danny became the most famous and popular dog in Ames. I’ve been fortunate enough to live with four wonderful dogs. What sweet memories!

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    1. Younger folks would have no idea of how American culture used to be saturated with the romance of the old west. All kids grew up with cap guns, cowboy hats and stuff like that. TV was dominated by horse opera shows. My only surprise with that photo is those boots look more expensive than what my mother used to buy.

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  3. My sister in law and her husband had a Great Pyrenees dog for a while. They had to find it a different home, though, because, as my SIL said ” I don’t mind big, and I don’t mind stupid, but I don’t like big AND stupid.” They didn’t have the time necessary for the kind of training the dog needed.

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    1. Some friends of ours had a Newfie, a huge, gentle and sweet dog. But no matter how sweet he was, I wouldn’t have been able to live with him. He drooled profusely, and every so often he’d shake his huge head in order to rid himself of all that drool. There wasn’t a spot in their home that hadn’t been splattered with Newfie drool. Cat and dog hair I can live with, Newfie drool splattered all over walls and furniture, not so much.

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        1. I think he was something like a mastiff. Newfies are black with thick fur. There is a black and white variant called a Landseer.

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      1. You’re reminding me of the problem of drooling. Bobo would stand up with his paws on my shoulders to lick me, leaving several inches of slime down my shirt. I’ve heard that the “make” non-drooling St. Bernards now. Seriously.

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  4. Well you and Steve certainly should have won for costumes, CB! Great to see these photos.

    We didn’t even have a pet till the summer I was maybe 16, when a friend needed folks to at least “foster” their new kittens till permanent homes could be found. My dad came home from a 2-month-long seminar in Tucson to these loving words from his family: “PLEASE Daddy, can we keep Katten?” I think she was my favorite of the cats we had, though she didn’t live more than a couple of years, hit by a car. Then we had Claude, a gray and white lover of a cat, but not a lot in the intelligence department – never really got trained, so we gave him away, and my folks got an orange tabby Fletcher. I was in college or California by then, so I never really bonded with Fletcher, but he’s the one who shows up with the folks in photos.

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  5. Our current cats are just sweeties. Millie is our tortie kitten. We have nick named her “Miss Adventure”. Luna is a grey tabby and as kind and loving as they come.

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    1. Considering what a bunch of sophisticated computer techies we are, I’m terrified of the notion that a baboon will hack into my laptop.

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  6. We had an assortment of pets during my childhood. Most of them didn’t last long in our household for one reason or another. Our first pet a black Cocker Spaniel named Lady. We had her a little over a year, then she went to live, supposedly temporarily, with and old man who owned a local hotel and restaurant where my mother worked. Lady was supposed to return to us after mom returned from her visit to Ireland, but while she was gone, Lauritz had bonded so closely with Lady that he didn’t want to relinquish her. Frankly, I don’t think mom really wanted her back.

    Every day at about 1 PM, Lauritz would post a sign on the front door of the hotel that said: Closed – Walking the dog. After they’d return from their walk, they’d take a nap together, and only then would the sign come down. Everyone in town knew better than to go looking for service of any kind at Landmands Hotellet between 1 and 3 PM. They also knew that if they lingered over lunch they’d be asked to leave when it was time for Lady’s walk.

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  7. I had my first cat for 21 years; since then, I’ve been owned by 21 cats (never more than 4 at a time, though). I’m taking this as a sign that the three I have now will be my last cats. At 74, my two Ragdoll kittens have a good chance of outliving me because I’ll be in my late when their expiration age rolls around. It was hard for me to consider new kittens on the basis of whom would outlive whom.

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  8. i grew up with my moms cats. no bonding occured. nice cats but nothing there. i finally got a dog in high school when i moved out to live on my own. dylan was a basset lab that was a great dog. 16 years and 10 or 15 cats later dylan died after his innards dwindled to less than functional levels of ticking. my folks got a standard poodle that was a sweet dog but messed up in inbreeding and seizures. burying dogs is hard. but good practice to get ready to understand how it feels to loose a loved one. i used to believe that. today i wonder why you would want to rip ytour heart out every 10 or so years to be prepared to have your heart ripped out later when it matters. poor choice of conditioning. like shooting yourself in the foot so it doesnt hurt so unfamiliarly if you get shot later on.
    i went without a dog for a long time because i would be gone too much. children you can trust to a mom, dogs you have to look after yourself. debbie finally said one day it was ok to get a dog and it was my job to pick it. i chose a basset because labs and the like chew shoes. bassets are smart and like children i reasoned from my knowledge of the lab basset brred i had loved and refferencing the basset on the copper tv show i watched as a kid. the basset was a mistake. a beloved dog but a pathetic choice as a soul mate. paws was a me me me dog who loved you because it need you to love her. alwyas always always in the present looking for food an petting and attention and if you got her to relax it was only until you twiched and moved toward possible food or play or attention wag wag wag. we got zeke the wolf dog to temper the dogs existance in the house and zeke was a true gentleman. he made it 6 or 7 years and was a joy that made paws by herself a tough cross to bear after he left. paws passed annd we waiteed a year of so to ge the two little footballs that evolved into the pair we have now. nalla and vinny are the best mutt and jeff team ever. the mother is hidden deep in the bloodline of this brother and sister pair. you would never guess by look or temperament that there was any bloodline in common. the shepard is tempered by coyote blood in nalla the female and by a lab or maybe a different big black slow dog in vinny. he is my dog and nalla will never know because it would destroy her, but vinny knows. i cant choose a favorite child but i know which best friend is the one i enjoy most. its not that i dislike or rank the dogs but vinny is special , like zeke was, like dylan was
    cats are the rulers in my house but the need a scratch behind the ears, a pull of the tail and to be left alone 93% of the time. my dogs are my dogs and my kids are my kids, ive had a couple of wives and i dont know what the world would be like without these three. dogs and kids and wives all leave there mark on your heart. if they dont its your fault not theirs, cats are a special category that get you but not like dogs, and fish, guinea pigs gerbils snakes and lizards can be taken with a grain of salt. there but not. birds are interesting but i feel like a warden with birds. a song in the morning seems like a joyous proclamation and i do enjoy a canary but i feel like a song trafficker who locks up the soul in a cage for my pleasure, not for interaction, just for my pleasure.

    the study the other day about the baboons in the test facility makes me sick.
    beings raised to be injected with death serums is not ok under any circumstance. i dont know the right answer but i do know the wrong

    Liked by 3 people

  9. HI Kids!
    Out of one tech and into another! But I have a few minutes to write today.
    The first dog I remember was a big dog of indeterminate breed, named ‘Pal’.
    I was about 4 yrs old, home with my favorite sister Joanne and I remember watching mom and dad drive away. I went out to play with Pal and I called and called and he didn’t come. And then I found him out behind the outhouse, dead.
    I was very distraught and overwhelmed. Clearly, it made a big impression on me. And curious, I don’t have memories of PLAYING with Pal, just that he died.

    After him was a German Shepard named ‘Steely’. He was a good cow dog.
    And after him a whole host of dogs that weren’t all that remarkable.
    Until we got Zack, an Australian English Shepard. He was a bear of a dog with a thick thick coat. He was a good dog and smart cow dog. He’d kill rats in the corn crib with me.
    Zoe, our current outdoor watch dog is about 14 yrs old. Humphrey was supposed to be Zoe’s replacement but Humphrey is too much a people dog and indoor dog. I hate to think of having 4 dogs, but we need to start training a new watch dog soon.
    (Allie is our Rat Terrier inside dog. She’s all attitude and a pretty good watch dog, but she’s not the ‘outside’ kinda dog.)

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  10. My all time favorite pet as a kid was Laika, a Jack Russell-type terrier named after the Russian space dog. Everyone loved that dog

    When school was out, Laika tagged along with us kids wherever we went; he was just one of us. He was also a peace keeper. Small as he was, he would not tolerate shouting in the house, something that mom was prone to do when she got angry. He’d let her know, in no uncertain terms, that was unacceptable.

    Laika had the run of the neighborhood, and would routinely meet Mr. Madsen, one of our neighbors, at a certain place to hitch a ride in his car when he was returning home from work. Mr. Madsen would know to look for him, pull over and open the passenger side door to let him jump in. It was a sad day when Mr. Madsen brought Laika home, he had been hit and killed by a car. That was the first and only time I saw dad cry.

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      1. He’d stand between her and whoever she was yelling at, facing her in a very alert posture, and bark at her. She would become distracted by his barking and eventually back off. He was relentless, no matter how mad she was. She would try to kick him, but he was way too fast and agile for her to ever touch him. The interesting thing was that he’d then try to comfort her when she retreated. He knew better than anyone in our household how to deal with her when her anger and frustration got the better of her. We were all inconsolable when he died.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. i went upstairs to call the vet say i was coming in to put dylan down
    i couldn’t stand to watch him suffer any more
    when i got back down stairs dylan had died

    i can’t explain the cry that came out of me but i remember it

    a special brand of sorrow

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We had an airdale, Bess, who was old an failing. Toward the end, sometimes she’d lose control of her bladder when she’d try to get up. You could tell she was terribly embarrassed, and would slink dejectedly toward the door. She didn’t appear to be in pain, and we hesitated to put her down. We got up one Christmas Eve morning and found her dead in front of the fireplace. She had died in her sleep. We were so grateful that we didn’t have to put her down. That is so hard to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I could never handle owning a dog because their eyes are way too human. Having a dog dependent my every waking hour would just be too much. If you pet a dog, he’ll never leave your side without making you feel guilty. Not to mention being high maintenance. You can’t leave them alone for more than a few hours. I can leave my cats alone for days, they’re self-cleaning, and don’t have to go outside in sub-zero weather. Mostly, though, it’s guilt thing for me.

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      1. i think he hung in there for me
        he was ready and just couldn’t do it while i was there comforting or caring
        when it was obvious it couldn’t go on in pre cell phone era i had to go upstairs to call the vet for 4 minutes
        he was gone when i gave him the chance to go in peace

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  12. My mutt dog Precious (named after the ring). She was a mouser and a tracker. We played the game called Chase where she was inside the house and I would reveal myself visually to her. Then I would run around the block, into the fields and woods to hide. She would be released on command “Find Wes!” And she would take off at a frantic pace and go everywhere I had gone. If it was three times around the house for me, it was three times around the house for her. What a nose!

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  13. I just left my 12-year old Calico, Izzy, at the vet. She’s the spook cat who put me through hell disappearing down a hole to the dungeon below the cottage for two days on the same day I had to put her best and only friend, Peanut, down. If she hears anyone come in, she hides for hours.

    I’d been noticing a weight loss and foul breath. She’s only seen a vet once 10 years ago. Until today in the car, she’s never meowed one time. I thought maybe she had no voice. Well, she howled all the way there!

    The vet could move her two canines and she flinched in pain when they were touched. Several other teeth are lose and her gums are abscessed, so tomorrow she’ll have surgery. It’s no wonder she’s gotten skinnier. It must’ve been really painful to eat. The bill will be as high as $800, but my way of justifying it at her old age is all the money I saved from never taking her to the vet for a decade. I’m a bad cat mom, but I couldn’t afford annual $90 visits, especially given owning 3-4 cats at a time.

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    1. Vet bills are crazy expensive. Even if you go for routine maintenance, it’s rare to get out of there with a charge of less than $100.00.

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  14. All these stories have jogged my memory – we did have a black cocker mix briefly, but the was outa there by the time my sister was born (when I was four). All I remember about Blackie was that once mom asked me to take him down to the basement, and I didn’t want to so I rolled him down the stairs from the top. Then I felt so bad I went down and sang a little song to him, which I still remember:
    I had a little doggie that used to sit and beg
    But doggie tumbled down the stairs and broke his little let,
    Oh Doggie, I will nurse you and try to make you well,
    And you shall have a collar too and a little silver bell.

    Who knows – maybe I got the idea from the song!

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  15. I’m from a dog family. I don’t ever remember not having a dog when I was growing up. We got Princess the Wonder Dog when I was in kindergarten. I have a LOT of PWD stories (we started called her PWD after her death, as she grew in stature, mostly due to my father telling wild stories of her abilities).

    When I was in the 3rd grade, I had something traumatic happen to me. For the life of me, I don’t remember why I was upset but I remember sitting on the steps crying and crying. Princess came over and sat right next to me as I cried. She leaned against me and laid her head on my shoulder. I clung to her, crying as if my heart would break. This probably lasted about 15-20 minutes. I really don’t remember why I was unhappy that day, but I will always remember Princess comforting me.

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