Friday, June 11, 2010

Sharing Memories (Week 27): Childhood Pets

Lorine at Olive Tree Genealogy counts down week 27 of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey with the blog prompt of childhood pets. A topic near and dear to my heart as almost all creatures great and small have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

During their childhood, my parents shared their lives with dogs and cats. My father speaks fondly of Spike, the German Shepard who would (with a bit of coaxing from my dad and his siblings) climb a ladder into the hay loft in the barn - and jump to the ground. As a child my mother immortalized her terrier mix, Bingo, in a painting that is a family treasure. I cannot help but smile at the thought of my mother as child, making clothes for her cats, dressing them up and pushing them around in the doll stroller.

Our first dog was a terrier mix we named Sammy. My memories of  him are of a dog fiercely protective and, knowing what I know now about dog behavior, definitely an alpha. Whenever we would visit my maternal grandparents on their dairy farm, my grandfather delighted in having Sammy 'round up the cows.' He had a natural ability to herd, nipping at the heels of a cow who refused to move and instinctively knowing to duck to avoid a hoof to the head.

While scanning these photos, I noticed for the first time, that I had written on the back of this photo: November 7th 1965 Sammy died. He had run away from home and was hit by a car. Funny how I had not thought about that morning, looking down the street and seeing him laying on the side of the road until now. We buried him in my mother's flower bed in the backyard. A number of years later my family named another of 'our' dogs, Sammy, I like to think in tribute to Sammy number one.

It was a number of years before my parents added a dog to our family. It wasn't that neither of them didn't want a dog because they are animal lovers and it certainly wasn't because my sister Lisa and I didn't bring it up whenever we could. Think Ralphie in The Christmas Story and his not-so-subtle hints about wanting a Red Rider BB gun.

One night my Dad came home from work carrying a fluffy ball of apricot poodle puppy. To say it was a surprise is an understatement. The entire house erupted into unabashed joy. We still recall that moment when Dad brought Kila home, Mom burned the Hollandase Sauce and Lisa, holding the puppy exclaimed, "Dad! I thought we'd never get a dog!" It was agreed the as yet unnamed dog would sleep in the room Lisa and I shared with the stipulation that the dog would not sleep on the bed. Of course from that moment on I don't think Kila ever slept on the floor.

This was the first (and last) dog my parents had that was registered with the AKC. We spent days contemplating what to name our new puppy. Looking at the pedigree Lisa and I decided the name Kila was perfect and while my parents initially had reservations the name must have grown on them (or could have been their four daughters began calling the puppy Kila and decided they were going to lose that battle). Someone really wanted to name the poodle Pierre and combined with the regal sounding name of our street (we were the only house on the one block street) we ended up with Tequila Pierre of Yorkshire.

Another wonderful childhood dog ... he endured being dressed up in just anything and everything we thought would look adorable on him. He was a wonderful companion and traveled with us on family vacations: camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota as well as Estes Park Colorado. Our confirmation, graduation and wedding photos all include Kila, he was a gentle funny dog who loved root beer and running through sprinklers. It's no wonder Hollandase Sauce conjures up happy memories of Tequila Pierre.

Copyright (c) 2010 Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski


Lori said...

Cindy, I love this post! Our dogs were family members and I can't imagine not having one. I still mourn those we have lost. Thanks for rekindling those memories.

Cher' Shots said...

What a great post. It sure conjured up a passel full of memories for me. As kids we had more "pets" than the average. Horses,cows,pigs,dogs,cats,raccoons,rabbits you get the picture! We actually named and rode the cows and pigs. What fun! lol Thanks for rekindling more fond memories.

王周宏儒 said...


Tipper said...

Wonderfu post full of good memories. Pets can surely weave their way into our hearts and lives. Sounds like you've been blessed to have some terrific dogs in your life. Sammy was so cut!


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