My Dog Story
I can’t go all the way back to birth, simply because I don’t have memories of my dog story back that far. The first thing I remember was our first dog King. It’s a brief, blurry memory, but it will stick to me always.
The family had just picked a German Shepard/Collie mix named King in 1973, when I was three. I was in the back seat of the car, patting and hugging him. Back then, we got along, I’m afraid that, we were often not nice to him. Over the years we’d hide in different places, saying “Shoey, Shoey, Shoey”, which he couldn’t stand, and he would come running and barking, and we’d hide under the bed and laugh at him. To my sister, brother, and I, this was a bit of harmless fun.
It wasn’t harmless fun, as it turns out. After a while, often when we went to pat him, he would growl and nip at us, which gave us more of a reason to tease him.
But he was a loyal and protective dog. Sometime back in the late 70s, when I was living in Dover, NH, the landlord’s son broke into our home to steal stuff, while we were out. King confronted him, and he shot King, and then left the house. He never came back. King fully recovered.
What he didn’t recover from was an accident with a car, that gave him a hernia that could not be safely fixed, so for the bulk of his life King lived with this hernia. He had to walk like an old man before he was old, because it was a very large hernia.
Fast forward to 1984, my sister got a dog named Princess and she was with much fanfare. She was a Shetland Sheepdog/Husky mix and she was a very energetic playful addition to the family.
Then in February 1986, my brother wanted a dog of his own, and King was 13 by then. He got a big Rottweiler puppy, and named him Caesar. Caesar and King pretty much got along, but they wouldn’t have too long together, King died on July 21, 1987. We all mourned his loss, he had become a family member, and while he wasn’t always friendly (not his fault) he loved and protected us.
With the loss of King, we were back down to two dogs, but that changed in 1987. Caesar was just under a year old and Princess was three. Neither of them had been neutered, and when we weren’t watching, they got linked together, and, 2 months later, Princess gave birth to 6 big puppies. The birthing process was very tiring for her, and for the last two puppies, we had to help her clean the puppies off so they could breathe properly.
They were born on December 21, 1987, and their names were Lance, Lady, Prince, Prissy, Sonja, and Sassy. Lance and Prince were boys, and the rest of the pups were girls. We kept all of them for the first 6-8 weeks before we realized that 8 dogs was too big of a household. So we started to carefully advertise and vet new homes for the pups.
Originally, we were only going to keep one, Lance, for me. But as time went on and weeks turned into months to find new homes, we have become attached to the other pup that was still us. So we decided to keep Lady, who became my aunt’s dog. We were a little bit prejudicial about our dogs, I guess. We spayed the females, but kept the males intact.
The years rolled on. All the dog family got along together, going outside, playing for hours, and cuddling with their humans. We let them all sleep on the beds if they wanted. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t. The years kind of blended together. Oh, they came on all of our vacations. We visited Canada, Maine, Virginia, and Maryland.
1993 was a bad year. That was the year my brother died. I’ll keep the nature of that private, and it’s kind away of the point of the dogs, except that they fell into a depression for a while as well. I took over as the new human for Caesar. We played in the snow with Caesar, and the others, it was all good for healing. Winter was here and in 1993-95 we played in the snow a lot with the dogs. They especially loved snowballs, as they could eat them as well as catch them, lol.
In February 1995 we lost Caesar, after a several month battle with cancer. He was only 8 years old, but he was 160 lb dog, and that, unfortunately is pretty much the average of a dog of that size. We all took it very hard, and we lost an uncle right after that, so there were some dark times there.
I feel like I haven’t said enough about Caesar. He definitely broke the stereotype some people have of Rottweilers. He was a calm and gentle dog who loved winter and snow, and hated the heat. As a matter of fact, on a vacation to Florida in 1987, we had to constantly keep a cold, soaked with water blanket to help guard against heat stroke. He was my brother’s beloved dog, and they would do everything together.
At that point, we went from a four dog house to a 3 dog house. As years rolled by we went on more vacations, we went to Canada again, when the border was still open! It was a blast, and dog antics of play, barking, and watching were main stays. My memory is kind of foggy at this period. You know how regular life goes, one day goes into another, some good, and some bad, and only the best and worst gets remembered. Unless you’re one of those lucky people with great memories, lol.
In 1998, we went to Massachusetts to treat Princess for nasal cancer. We spent several weeks in the cold of November in a camper. During our time there, we picked up a new dog, also named King. That dog was something else. He had a very large prey drive, was extremely hyper, and had to exercised quite a lot. One time he protected me from a guy who was out to harm me. King was very unfriendly, but he didn’t bite. As the guy took a step one way, King followed his movement, and the other direction, King followed him that way. The guy left without a major incident.
The New Millenium
As time moved forward, the new pack of four, King, Princess, Lance, and Lady all played together every day, and sometimes King had to be kept under of control. He could be a bit aggressive. Over time, Princess grew sick again, and we lost her in March 2000. We were a pack of three again.
Cancer struck again in 2001. Lady had bone cancer, and we had her leg removed. The chemotherapy was too much for her and she passed away rapidly. Lance was profoundly depressed we all were. Why is death one of the things that stick with us the most, and all the many, happy memories fade away into the fog of the past.
Lance grew sick in the fall of 2002. We all lived in the cellar while he fought with cancer. Despite everything, it was kind of cool to camp out in the cellar. I enjoyed taking Lance out for walks, he was my favorite dog ever. He was the first dog that was mine, and probably the one I spent the most time with.
He improved for close to three months, and we brought upstairs. But then he got worse again, and we had to put him to sleep on 12/02/02. He was just suffering too much. I held on for a long time, against the advice of my family, but I just couldn’t seem to let go. I finally decided it was too much, and then he was gone. I felt like a person had been lost. He was 15. I was depressed for months.
Many wouldn’t do this, but I just couldn’t live without my own dog. So we picked up Prince, a Shetland Sheepdog, on the same day Lance died. Prince was a cute little bundle of fur. He was hyper and friendly, but he hated having his nails cut. We did everything together, he didn’t like to sleep on beds, but he almost always slept in the same room. We have a picture of me with Prince the day we got him. I like to look at that picture.
King was hyper still, even as he grew older. I was in a relationship, and he moved in 2003. He brought another dog with him, Cocoa, a Pomeranian, which brought the number back up to three. It was a tough relationship, but the dogs made things better. PJ I think loved all the dogs, maybe even more than I did. He cried when a blue jay we had for a pet died.
PJ was with me from 2003 to 2008. He died at 30 years old of cardiac arrest. I was devastated. However, the dogs kept me grounded. In 2006, we picked up a fourth dog, Cinnamon, who I still have now. She will be 14 in September. It was very peaceful, all the dogs got along well, and they were pretty laid back and quiet, except for King, who was still quite active even into old age.
King got sick with cancer, he held it at bay for a while. One day he ran outside and dropped to the ground in the snow. I rushed him into the house, but by then he was gone. It was January 27, 2011. He was 13. We had a pack of three again. Prince was depressed, moped around a lot.
The last two years of his life, I was away from my parents, in another relationship. It started out well, but deteriorated over time. During that time, in the first 6 months away from home, I only visited Prince once. He died two weeks before I came back. I still feel bad about it. It was April 2014, he was 11, not long for a dog his size.
I still had Cocoa and Cinnamon. I came back to my family in May 2016. Before I left, my sister got a dog in January 2012. Her name is Pearl. She’s 8 now, and she is an Austrailian Shepard/Cattle dog mix. She is very excitable, and still loves to run around and chase things on here leash. My sister’s other dog, Julius, was born while I was away. He was born in December 2014. He is 5 years old. So that’s 4 dogs again.
But Cocoa, the Pomeranian died in the summer of 2016. Thankfully, we haven’t lost anymore beloved dogs. I’m sorry so much of this has been about death, but they live such short lives. It doesn’t seem right. But we go into the relationship know this, and it changes nothing bring them into our lives. They are forever loyal and innocent, like a young child.
I still enjoy the 3 dogs, and 9 cats, by the way. I enjoy going out several times a day and playing Frisbee with my sister’s Sheltie, Julius. I also sometimes walk Pearl, who still strains going against the leash after bikes and motorcycles most. Julius is very yappy, excitable and doesn’t sleep much. He is so cute, even though he barks at me a lot, probably cause I wasn’t with him until May 2016. He’s my favorite dog right now, even more so than Cinnamon. I should like my own dog the most, but Julius is so endearing.
Unfortunately, two weeks ago, on July 15, 2020, Cinnamon passed away two months short of 14. We will all miss her dearly. That’s how things stand right now. This story was very personal to me, but I felt I needed to tell it. Feel free to leave a comment, I will get back to you.