For the Love of Dogs

We have never bought a dog. Unless you count one female puppy that we rescued from the humane society the day before she was to be put down. That turned out to be our lovely Dorothy. We got her to be a companion to Toto. Well, Toto just had to have a Dorothy. The names are a nod to my small town Kansas heritage.

But I digress! Dogs just seem to find us. Toto is the dog love of my life. He was our first and most magical dog. We had been in our new house about 6 months and were looking for our first dog, when my husband heard a noise in the backyard at 5 am one morning. It was Toto. He had been dumped during the night. He was a matted dirty mess. It was love at first site on my part. We looked a little for his owners but after 2 days we stopped. Got him groomed and taken to our vet for shots, etc. What emerged was one of the cutest dogs to ever live. The closest we can get to his heritage is that he’s a poodle/Papillion cross. For a time, I hid him afraid that someone would come looking for him. That was 18 years ago. We still have him!

Next we got Dorothy. She was a honey with the humans in the family, but a tyrant of a pack leader. If I cried, I could count on feeling a wet nose on my hand. It was Dorothy giving me comfort. Toto had back trouble. Louis, our tom cat, had asthma. Dorothy got a virus and died when she was seven. Toto’s back trouble and Louis’ asthma went away with her death. Our grief at Dorothy’s death continues to this day. I keep my photo “Nose Grass” up on my page as a tribute to Dorothy and her beauty.

Sid VanHalen was our second magical dog. He showed up the night before my mother in law died. Sid, a Basset hound, was 22 pounds under weight and had over 70 ticks. Sid helped us all get through our grief over the loss of a family member. He’s beautiful, stupid, and untrainable, but my husband loves him beyond belief. He’s my current muse.

Ringo, a blue heeler mix, showed up 2 weeks before our daughter left for college. He’s the new pack leader and much more popular with the pack than Dorothy was. Ringo can jump. He once jumped the fence in our back yard and ate one layer of a cake that I had cooling on out front patio!

Last winter, we moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We started across the country in a blizzard in a Subaru Forrester with 3 dogs and 3 cats. Everyone made the trip just fine. Toto spent the 3 day drive asleep at my feet on the car floor. Nights, we found pet friendly motels. This is not a trip that I would recommend to anyone, but we’re glad managed to keep the family intact.

Journal Comments

  • SnowDog
  • Patricia L. Ballard