NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS I am going to get all of my memories down, before I forget what I remember!. . . . quote from Stanley Forman


For All The Dogs And Cats And Birds And Rats I Used To Know

Abby, Glossy, Hobo around 1982. Arnold Arboretum.

Each morn­ing as I watch my 13-year-old dog Lily fad­ing into the next phase of life I can only hope she will make it easy on me in the end. She is suf­fer­ing from demen­tia. Yea, you think only humans have demen­tia, well you are incor­rect. She is eat­ing well and tak­ing her busi­ness out­side. It is her fogged, con­fused look, which is very painful to see.

 I have always had a dog. Grow­ing up we had our first fam­ily dog, Peachy, (imag­ine giv­ing a pet that name now) a Fox Ter­rier. We bought her at Puppy Haven, a dog mill on Route One in Saugus. Funny thing, it was located about fifty feet from where Hooter’s now stands.

She was a great dog, only bit me once, then my father bit her. She never bit any­one again. She was also my best friend who died when I was about 13. One day we were all sit­ting on the front porch and I saw a rodent walk­ing across the street.  Peachy was off and run­ning. Lit­tle did I know it was a rat? Peachy knew and prac­ti­cally jumped over a four-foot chain link fence to grab it, snap it up and down, till my father was able to cor­ral our dog and take her home. I was always told that ter­ri­ers were tough and she proved it.

Our rat project!

When my daugh­ter Molly was in ele­men­tary school we ended up with two white rats from her school project. Our pets only got to drool over them as they watched them in our rat aquar­ium. It was lots of fun hold­ing them to clean their cage, ugh.

After that we had a Cocker Spaniel we called Sparky. He was crazy and kept tak­ing off or should we say run­ning away. Sparky had an ID on him so we would always go and retrieve him. He always ended up with fam­i­lies with kids. The last time he ran away my father saw how happy he was with a house full of kids.  He went home, got Sparky’s bowl and dog food and said good-bye.

My next dog as a kid was Tammy, a Wire­hair Ter­rier. What a great dog she was. She lived till I was in my late 20s. Once again my father had to take our dog to our vet Dr. Barry to take her out of her misery.

In 1975 I got my first dog as an adult. I had seen an old friend, Michael Weis­berg walk­ing a lit­ter of Golden Retriev­ers on Revere Beach. I asked him about them and three months later I picked her up dur­ing the long Thanks­giv­ing week­end. What fun! When I went to bed that night I looked down at her lying next to my bed and told her when she is ten, I will be 40.

I named her Glossy (like in pic­tures) and with­out her I would never have met my won­der­ful wife Deb­bie. I used to take Glossy to the Arnold Arbore­tum in Jamaica Plain every morn­ing. Glossy was a very smart dog and fell in love with a puppy named Abby. Lucky for me at the other end of the leash was Deb­bie. Now I am at the other end of her leash. What a find Glossy made.

Glossy and Abby around 1983, Arnold Arboretum.

We had to put up a kid’s gate to keep these two large dogs from sleep­ing in the bed with us. The day we took Glossy to the vet for her last visit we were so sad we went out and bought a new car. What the heck, we were sad, no kids and two jobs, why not soften the pain?

32 years and many pets later we still have too many pets. At one time we had four dogs, Abby, Glossy, Hobo and Candy. Hobo arrived at my door one fall after­noon and I could not shoo him away. About 4:30 that after­noon I got a call from some­one at the Her­ald where I was work­ing, telling me I had hit the bookie for $4730.00 on the daily number.

I went out­side to see if that dog was still there, picked him up in my arms and gave him a big hug. Next day we went to the vet, found out he had heart­worm. I gave the Vet a bunch of 50-dollar bills and asked Dr. Duka to try and cure him. He would and the won­der­ful dog we named Hobo was with us for many years.

The only prob­lem with Hobo is when we had babies and they moved too fast he would attack, not bite but grab their pant legs or what­ever they had on, it was like a dog chas­ing a car. He hated the baby walker as Molly used to buzz around the house with Hobo chas­ing after her.

When were able to keep the kids in a playpen Molly would share her bot­tle of milk with him. She hung the bot­tle out for him and he would grab onto the nip­ple, the same one she was drink­ing from. If we ever told any­one about that we prob­a­bly would have been charged with child endangerment.

Molly’s first bot­tle at home with Candy not let­ting go of her prime position.

Then there was Candy, a Toy Poo­dle, who we got from my sis­ter Renee after she moved into a com­plex that did not allow pets. Candy was 8 years old but lived till she was almost 17. Before kids Candy was Debbie’s baby. She would bark till Deb­bie car­ried her around in her arms. We owned a two fam­ily house at that time; both of us worked and one day our ten­ant said, “what are you going to do to keep that dog quiet?” I said, “noth­ing, we own the house,” and sug­gested they bring her to their apart­ment dur­ing the day.

Even­tu­ally I had put all four of them to “sleep,” in a 15-year span. My good friend Nat Whit­te­more once told me to bury your dog in your heart and get another one. We never have to rush to get another one, as we always seem to have mul­ti­ple dogs.

Vanilla, Molly and Lewis, Han­nah and Lily around 2000.

Another day my mother in-law Bar­bara told us about a beau­ti­ful Stan­dard Poo­dle named Vanilla, who needed a new home. What a hand­some, smart dog. He loved the kids and us but devel­oped a bad skin infec­tion. So there I was bathing him in the bath­tub at least twice a week.

Before that we adopted Cindy, a Grey­hound, who could not catch the rab­bit at the race­track so instead she caught us at a weak moment. Sort of a nice dog, very fast, not exactly a lap dog. She also had ter­ri­ble breath and we had to remove some of her rot­ted teeth. So Vanilla had a smelly body and Cindy had bad breath, no won­der other dogs did not want to play with us.

Lewis try­ing to get to Twinkie.

Some­where in between cats and dogs my father got a para­keet. My father was sickly and wanted to make sure my mother had com­pany after he passed on. His favorite desert was Twinkies (they are about to be gone also) thus she was named Twinkie. After my father died my mother gave us Twinkie. What­ever cats we had at that time lusted after Twinkie as did the dogs.

One day on my way to work Deb­bie called me to tell me Twinkie was gone, lying on the bot­tom of the cage. I raced home, grabbed her, a shovel and went out to the back­yard. It took at least two weeks before either of the girls asked where Twinkie was.

Sable, Molly and Han­nah around 1990, in Marblehead.

I had seen a Shar Pei on the TV pro­gram NYPD Blue and fell in love with their wrin­kles. I had hit the num­ber again; actu­ally I hit it three times that week, no not for a lot of money about $600.00 so the search was on. Many calls later I ended up at the south­ern tip of Rhode Island to bring home Sable. I brought her home and we put up a gate to keep her away from our babies. First night over the gate she goes to get to the kids. No prob­lem she was just another baby girl in our house.

When Molly was six she con­vinced us to get a cat. The deal was if she would stop suck­ing her thumb for a month we would bring a cat into the house. His name was Jessie, (now called Lewis). Great first cat, had very lit­tle to do with us till we brought our sec­ond cat Pump­kin home.

Pump­kin knew about affec­tion and Lewis learned from her. But of course Pump­kin never came out of our bed­rooms as Vanilla cor­nered her one-day while try­ing to play and scared the heck out of her. When­ever she would hear the dogs bark she would hide under a bed. She usu­ally slept with us, nuz­zled against Debbie’s neck.

Some­time after Sable and Cindy were gone we all made our way back to Rhode Island to get another Shar Pei, our Lily. Lily liked to chase cats although now she doesn’t chase much of any­thing any­more. But it was con­stant effort to get her to leave them alone. Now that she has slowed down the cats like her

In another weak moment after Vanilla was gone we got Jack. Jack is a Golden Doo­dle, who loves every­one. Plays with the cats, used to wres­tle with Lily every morn­ing after break­fast and walks with me everyday.

Last year we lost Pump­kin. We woke up one morn­ing and she could not get her head out of the water bowl, almost drown­ing. She had some kind of major body fail­ure and once again I had to stand there and hold a pet while she was put to sleep.

Our dom­i­nant cat Sophie or as I like to call her Mean Sophie!

Don’t worry we replaced her with two kit­tens who were not used to dogs or other cats. They were res­cued from two dif­fer­ent loca­tions and ended up together at the shel­ter and had to be adopted together. We could not resist. We kept them in the fam­ily room with the doors closed to keep the other ani­mals from them for almost four months. Another rea­son was to keep our dom­i­nant mean cat Sophie from tor­tur­ing them. Oh yea, we got Sophie dur­ing another weak moment.

Chloe wait­ing for breakfast.

The good thing about Zoe and Chloe is our daugh­ter Han­nah is going to take them once she gets an apart­ment where she can have pets. Of course she will have to ask the cats if they want to go. Zoe and Chloe are still very shy although Zoe fol­lows me every­where and Chloe runs when­ever she sees me. Lately she is let­ting me pat her but that is when I am going to feed her.

If there were a nurs­ing home for dogs Lily would be in it. She already lives in assisted liv­ing. Every morn­ing when I get up Jack and the cats greet me. I have to wake Lily up, shake her, and then make sure she watches me so she knows she is going out. She is stone deaf, I am only hard of hear­ing so I sort of know what she is going through. Then she for­gets which way the door opens and is always in the way.

It doesn’t look like a good year for a cou­ple of my pets. Most days I have to mas­sage our 17-year-old cat Lewis’ hips as he drags him­self around the house with his hindquar­ters drag­ging. Then Lilly is a state of con­fu­sion but con­tin­ues to eat and play once she fig­ures out where she is, but the con­fu­sion grows.

Painful to look at our aging pets then look in the mir­ror and real­ize I am aging along with them. No one ever said life was easy!





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