By Ed Pierce
I noticed numerous posts on Facebook last week from friends of mine with their pooches in photos celebrating National Dog Day. Of course, I followed suit and posted a picture of myself and my dog Fancy which unleashed a wave of sarcasm including a comment that Fancy was my proofreader.
Aside from being drafted for supposed editing tasks, through the years dogs have always been a special part of my family going all the way back to when I was a toddler. I’ve had dachshunds, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, a German Shepherd mix, and now a mixed-breed lab born in Arkansas.
The stories of how many of these dogs came to live with our family are moving and at the same time, sometimes sad.
|Fancy joined the Pierce Family|
in September 2016.
PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
My first dog, Wrinkles, was a red short-haired dachshund and a former circus star who performed in an act in which he had to jump through a flaming hoop. My mother inherited him from an elderly cousin who had passed away. Wrinkles died when I was 4 and to make our family feel better, my father purchased another red dachshund puppy and brought him home in his coat pocket. We named him Fritz.
After several years of having Fritz, my parents were shopping for Christmas at the Sears store and saw a black dachshund all alone in the parking lot and shivering in the snow. We took him home and ran a found notice in the newspaper, but nobody ever came forward and claimed him. That’s how Weenie became part of our family. Fritz wasn’t happy sharing dog bowl space in the kitchen and there were occasional dinnertime dog fights, but for the most part these two were buddies.
By the time I was graduating high school, both Fritz and Weeenie had died and my mother got another black dachshund from a family friend. My mom named that one Heidi and she had a bad habit of eating the cat’s food which caused her to gain weight and made the cat want to take a bite out of the top of her head when she jumped up on the sofa.
While in college, I saw a notice on a bulletin board in the dining hall for a year-old free German Shepherd mix. Her name was Sundance and she loved being around people. She also once ate an entire pie that was cooling on the kitchen counter but then hid her misdeed by hiding the pie tin under my bed. I had Sundance for 15 years and after her death, I vowed not to have another dog because the pain of losing them was awful.
But along came my wife Nancy and I inherited her Pembroke Welsh Corgi-mix Hunter when we got married. He was loyal and a great companion, as long as he didn’t spot a cat and if he did, a chase always ensued. Once when we were at work he broke down a baby gate to chase our cat Gracie, but somehow became stuck sideways under our bed. When I got home and looked for him, Gracie was on top of our dresser and all I could see of him was his wagging tail until I lifted the bed off of him.
After Hunter’s death at 14, we applied and received a 5-year-old pure-bred Pembroke Welsh Corgi rescued from an abusive home. Her name was Abby and she strongly disliked cats. She was a bit psychotic after having been punched in the head as discipline by her former owners. She disliked anyone who tried to pat her on the head and nipped at us numerous times. Once a veterinary technician asked me why I would want a dog that would nip at people. I told her I didn’t, I wanted to give an abused dog a good home.
When Abby died in 2016, we were fortunate to learn about a rescue organization in Arkansas that brought strays to New England for adoption. That’s how Fancy entered our lives and despite some early bladder issues and subsequent surgery, she’s been a great addition to the family. She even made friends with Gracie the cat, something her two predecessors failed to do.
Her longstanding goal appears to be catching up with a squirrel or eating an entire freshly made Thanksgiving dinner before it is served to guests and family.
It’s said that dogs teach us so much about ourselves and that they find the people who need them and then share their unconditional love with them.
You can count me among those who are dog lovers and I probably will be for the rest of my days. <