Our lives would not be the same without the many dogs who shared our home. Each in his or her own special way brought happiness, love, laughter, and heartache.
Lady was a beautiful golden retriever who claimed us as her own when she was just a pup, a few weeks old. (I realize the photo is terrible, but it’s actually Lady.)
Lady was a real princess, and all puppy. She was the perfect addition to our family and she showered us with love and play. Lady was happy to ride a rubber raft in the waves when we were able to spend time at the beach. We still have furniture with Lady marks on it. It’s not damage, it’s memories.
Lady was with us for a temporary move to Tennessee. She liked riding on the back seat window ledge behind our daughter and three boys. By this time, she was a full-grown playmate and loved romping with the kids.
After a year in Murfreesboro, we prepared to move back to Michigan. We were down to one car, an Olds Cutlass that had seen much better days. The fan only had one speed that was equal to a breath of air. I found a small oscillating fan and attached it to hang in front of the vent. I thought it was a perfect solution. When we loaded the car for the long trip, the kids were in the back seat, and I tried to put Lady in the front. She took one look at my motorized contraption and flew over the back seat onto bare legs. We started the trip with screams and scratches.
We settled into a rented two-story house, Lady had her own little house in the back yard. There were two old ladies living next to us who took a strange interest in Lady. We started receiving anonymous letters in the mail condemning us for having our dog hooked to a leash in the back yard.
After returning from a trip out of state, during which we had friends feeding and taking care of Lady, we arrived home to discover our dog looking at us through the fence of the old ladies’ yard. I was furious! I couldn’t lift her over the fence, so I went to their front door and demanded they return our dog. I should have called the police!
On a cold snowy winter morning, Lady gave birth to a litter of puppies. They were a mixed breed, half of the pups were black, the others looked like purebred retrievers. For the first several weeks, Mary snuggled each of the puppies every day. One of the males was taken by family friends who named him Charlie. Charlie was a great dog with all the character and appearance of a beautiful golden. For many years, even though we might not see our friends for quite a while, when we visited, Charlie came bounding through the house to climb on our laps as if we were his long-lost parents. Our friends said he didn’t act like that with anyone else.
The next year, our hearts were torn apart when Lady began having seizures. We called the veterinarian who said she would probably not recover. As cold tears rained down from the sky, our Lady was put to rest. We placed her in a grave as we all cried. One of our little boys asked if we could sing his favorite song, “Arise, Shine for Thy Light Has Come.” We held hands and sang as the rain continued to fall.