Furry Four-Legged Friends!

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I’m going to admit right off the bat that this will likely not be one of the best of the fifty something blogs I will have done this year.  It’s getting more challenging finding “F” words as the weeks move along….I’ve only got a few months left of my self imposed commitment!

I am busy getting ready to go to Italy next week for a quick week and needed another “Fluff Piece”.   I already have next week’s title:  “Film Festival”.  I am fortunate enough to get to attend a film festival in Taormina, Italy where the film “Brave Miss World” will be featured.  In addition, as a family, we will also go to Rome.

Today’s blog post is going to be a simple little tribute to/highlight of the 3 four legged creatures whom I also live with. I don’t necessarily consider myself a big animal person but the fact that I now live with 3 animals tells me that I, at the very least, do ok with tolerating their presence.  I know there is a lot of research about the benefits of pets in people’s lives.

When I was growing up, we had two family dogs.  The first one (a cute cocker spaniel-Buffy)  died when I was in fourth grade.  I do remember liking him a lot.   The second one (a miniature Collie-Shep) was around until I was out of college, I think.  That one was more memorable but more problematic.  I had a cat during my single years in California and I was  very fond of him.  After that cat died and shortly after my becoming married, we got a replacement cat.  Oh boy, that cat had a tremendous personality and invoked a lot of great stories.  My husband and the cat were not terribly fond of each other…I’ll leave it at that.

It was a June summer night twelve years ago when we bought our first family dog.  I had broken my toe earlier that morning while bumping into a large piece of furniture.  I then went on a 3-mile run, aggravating the toe even worse, I think.  That night we had a black tie Symphony Ball to attend.  I had to wedge my swollen broken toe into my high heels…so after elevating and icing it all day, I did just that.  When I got to The Ball venue, I promptly decided that despite consuming 4 motrin, I was going to need some additional “medication”.   I  headed to the bar to consume a few “Sam Adams” beers.

Looking back, we now believe it was a Ball Chair ploy, because  strategically, the live auction personnel placed a 6 week old golden retriever puppy in the lap of my ball gown.  What can I say?  I’m sure I swooned and thus a bid was raised.  A few bids later, I was motioning a “No” signal under the table and we were outbidded with relief….Until the auctioneer exclaimed: “But guess what, this dog has a sister so you both get to bring home a puppy!” We thought about naming her “Sam” but one of our table mates convinced us that “Charity” had to be her name (Because she was a charity auction item) and it stuck!  Here is our Sweet Charity:IMG_4325


We left the Symphony Ball, puppy in cage/kennel and we had NO idea what we were doing.  We left her in the garage that night with food and water only to find a huge “mess” in the morning.  You’d think after having four children, a puppy would be easy? Not so much!  I’ll never forget talking to my best friend all summer because coincidentally  she had just gotten her first dog a few weeks beforehand and had been lamenting over the stress of it all. We both agreed that given our lack of dog expertise and more recent baby experience, it would have been easier to bring a new baby home and care for it, rather than to train a puppy.  I had been looking forward to a summer of sleeping through the night with my own fourth baby just over a year old, but sleep was to no avail that summer.  It was a chaotic summer.  Thanks to a nanny who was knowledgeable about dogs (among other things) but who left our employment shortly thereafter, a brother and sister-in-law who are Golden Retriever owners and lovers, a good friend who loves and trains dogs, our “Sweet Charity” was finally pretty well trained by summer’s end.  What a sweet, kind dog.  Despite being manipulated by four pretty small children, she was/is always kind to them. She has been known to bite others (milkmen, landscapers, Fed-Ex delivery men etc.) though.  You have to love a dog who is uber protective of your family. She would never bite or growl at us but she would attack someone else!

During Marit’s cancer treatment and while away from home, Marit would frequently cry and say how much she missed our dog.  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital had a day each week when dogs would come to visit the hospital.  I believe animals can aid in the healing process and provide comfort to people with sorrow and trauma.

About a year after Marit’s cancer treatment ended, Santa brought our family another puppy…A little teacup multi-poo (Maltese and Poodle mix) I semi-affectionately refer to as “The Rat Dog” (because when she’s wet, she looks like a rat).  She’s terribly “cute” but not terribly bright in my opinion.  She truly does some things around here that are NOT smart. I think Santa thought I might be the type of dog owner who may shop with my dog in a dog purse …but there is NO-WAY a dog is going to infringe on my shopping excursions.  We thought it would be a good idea to let Marit take care of something else. We named the dog after her anesthesiologist at St. Jude and shortened it to “BeBe”.  Apparently these little dogs live longer than the the big dogs do too…Great-Awesome!IMG_4342


The latest pet acquisition is the cat.  We had a cat about two years ago who mysteriously and suddenly disappeared  after about a year.  It was a gorgeous white cat with blue eyes.  I proposed the name: “Snow Muffin” but immediately got outvoted by the family gang in favor of  “Tokey” -apparently after some rap artist?!   I thought our cat owning days were behind us until this Fall when some of my son’s friend’s found this stray kitty,  named Quevo.  (Is this another artistic rapper name?)IMG_9776

When my son asked to take it home,  my answer was initially and strongly “no”.  Then the begging started and continued.  Between begging and kittens, my ability to say “NO” wavers dramatically….Overall, she seems like a “good one”.  I sometimes pretend I don’t like these animals but who can truly resist these furry, fluffy, loving creatures who cannot talk back?

So there they are, my 3 four-legged, furry friends of the household.  They say, (I’m not sure who “they” are?) that if we all greeted each other and reacted to each other the same way  we were being greeted by our dogs, we’d all be better off.  I often think I am no different than a dog.  I think what all us or many of us really want/desire is to be loved, fed, watered, petted and occasionally have our hair brushed.  What do you all think?  It seems so very elementary!

I’d love to hear your stupid pet stories or your wonderful pet stories and how pets make a difference to you in your lives.





  1. Becky Pohlad says

    I loved this blog especially as you know I live with three German Shepherds and love them to death. xx Becky

  2. Entertaining blog, Berit – I love animals and believe that they play a key role in healing! Your story allowed me to reminisce about my many childhood animals – fond memories. We, too, had a Miniature Sheltie named, ‘Minute’. He was quite the runner and such a loving dog. Our Husky German Shepard was great fun to brush, especially when he acquired a new coat of fur!

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