333. Best Friends

Don’t forget to you-know-what.  In case you don’t remember, I need you to vote for my “Grandmother Dearest” essay.  You can do it today and every day till August 11th by clicking HERE.

Remember that exercising your vote is one of the privileges of democracy, as well as a good way to keep Octo-woman from wallowing in self-pity. 

Two comments on yesterday’s blog – from my nieces Christy Ford and from Denise (Fitzpatrick) Fortune –  moved and seconded – that we crank out a blob to show off  photos and info about all the treasured – living or dead – non-human readers of this blog. Sounds like a good plan to me!

If you think so, too, please respond by emailing a photo of your favorite animal friend(s), – living or dead – along with info about him-her-them that made him-her-them special in your life. Or else, leave a comment telling the story.

Let me start it off.  This is a photo of Lassie – the second dog my family owned when we were growing up.

Our first dog was a collie shepherd named Laddie.  He was our stalwart and faithful friend. I remember sitting with him for hours and days on end trying to comfort him before he died following his long ordeal with distemper. I was about ten or eleven years old at the time. I still remember the unbearable pain and grief I felt for weeks after his death.

One winter morning several weeks after Laddie died, I woke up to see my mother and father laughing as they put a squirming, wiggly little puppy in the bed I shared with my sister Joan.  It was a pure-bred collie they had sent for from a breeder in Des Moines, Iowa.  

Collies were all the rage in the 1940s due to the popularity of the “Lassie” movies, so you can guess how Lassie got her name.  I still think she was the most beautiful dog I have ever seen.  Thinking back, I know she must have driven everybody nuts with the shedding of the beautiful, silky fur her breed is known for, but what I remember most about her was how ladylike and gentle she was. 

One time, our family had gone to Atkins, Iowa to visit our relatives there, leaving Lassie at home.  As it often did, our old car broke down on the way home during a monumental Iowa rainstorm.  We were hours late getting home.  

When we came into the house, we were met with broken glass in a window of the room Lassie was in.  In the middle of the room was a huge puddle, and in the corner Lassie was trembling and cowering in fear and shame.  In her desperation, she had somehow managed to break the window in an abortive attempt to get outside, but to no avail. In spite of her heroic effort not to, she had mortified herself by urinating all over the linoleum.  She had made a mess on the floor, but she still managed to garner respect for her herculean efforts not to. I was proud of her.

During my teenage years, I was too flighty and absorbed in other activities to spend as much time with Lassie as I did when I was younger.  I still regret that. She died while I was away at college, and my mother didn’t have the heart to tell me till weeks later.  It was our mother who took care of Lassie all those years, and I know she must have felt great sorrow when that valiant dog died.

Now it’s your turn.  Please tell the story of one or more of your pets.  Please email the photos and description to me at ford@fordvideo.com, or, if no photo, please leave a comment to tell the tale.

Besides me, St. Francis of Assisi will thank you for it. You’ll make his day!

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4 Responses to 333. Best Friends

  1. C Ford says:

    Wow – what a story that was and Laddie and Lassie are beautiful! I did not even know you had them! Thank you for sharing! I will submit my stories soon.

  2. Linda Lewis says:

    Oh Pat, what a precious call. i have to just make a comment, because other than a one year cute Beagle that my kids did not take care of like they promised and one year with a sweet cat that again was not taken care of with gkids, (both went to loving new homes), my childhood amounted only to two gold fish that my Dad conceded to and one of those Easter chicks that I tried valiantly to raise with a light in a big box. Working for the airlines and loving to travel has not been the home for a pet, but not because of lack of love for animals. One of my favorite books, that all animal lovers must read is Kinship with All Life about a man and his dog and others in the animal kingdom.

    I eagerly look forward to reading animal blogs. Yours was so dear and hit home with many.

  3. A relative says:

    I had shared my life with many dogs and I will send you a couple of stories later on this weekend. Your Lassie sounded like a devoted and sweet best friend to your family. I love collies but I don’t love their hair that sheds year round!!
    Susy

  4. Josie says:

    I loved this story! I never knew you had collies!
    Grandma, I swear you have led this whole secret life and are just now slowly revealing some of the details. Also, the name of this blog is a complete lie! It should really be called Going on 30 (indefinitely).

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