Mom's walking down Memory Lane again. You can always tell when she does that because she heads for the book shelve where she keeps the photo albums. She's not a big picture taker but she inherited my grandma's photos so she's got lots of stuff from when she was a little kid. It's a shame Levi never met our grandmother. She loved her granddogs almost as much as her grandchildren and she was always there to babysit me if needed.
Here's some photos of the dogs that were in the household when Mom was growing up. This first one is of Mickie and Mom. One of them is fifteen months old but it's kind of hard to tell which one from the label Grandma put on the photo. Could be both.
The second photo (below) is of Pat. She was my grandmother's favorite dog. She even had that photograph blown up and hand-tinted so she could hang it on the wall. Grandma liked to tell a story about how Pat became the surrogate mother of a litter of kittens. The mother cat was young and didn't want any part of nursing or being around her kittens so Pat would hold the mother down with her paws and make her stay there long enough for the kittens to nurse. Pat would clean the kittens with her tongue, carry the kittens in her mouth, and taught them to use the sandbox. And when it was feeding time again she'd hunt the mother down and repeat the whole process. The mother cat never did learn to like motherhood but Pat sure did.
The photo below is of King. He's the first dog Mom remembers really well. He was her constant companion for many years. And he was the source of her first real heartbreak when he got lost at their summer cottage. Grandma thought he probably wandered into a farmer's field and got himself shot but for months after he came up missing they'd run up and down the roads in the area, looking for the lost King. He's the reason Mom's dogs from adulthood---angels Sarah, Jason, and me---got so little freedom off the leash.
The photo below is Mom (on the left), Cindy and one of Mom's cottage friends. Cindy was a black Belgium shepherd who had been abused by a previous owner. It took months for Grandma to teach Cindy to trust people again. She became intensely loving and protective around women but men had to earn her respect.
The next photo is of Grandma, Cindy and Scottie. Scottie was a blond dog of questionable parentage and she lived to be 23 years old. She was blind for 21 of those years. When she was young she had a form of polio and was completely paralyzed. She spent months going back and forth to a Veterinarian College for experimental treatment. Some treatments involved getting shots above her eyes; that's how she lost her eyesight. She lived in the bathroom during that time and grandpa carried her outside several times a day and would hold her up to pee and poop. It wasn't so much to save the dog that grandpa did all that. The drugs were something they wanted to test for human use and Grandpa agreed so long as the college didn't get to keep Scottie. He wanted to be the one to decide when she was ready to give up. She never did.
Scottie did learn to walk again and Mom would wear bells so Scottie could follow the sound around the block for exercise. Grandpa said that any dog who went through all the stuff Scottie went through deserved to live---blind or not---so he built a pen for her with a deluxe dog house cut into the garage. Lately Mom's been wondering if Scottie was the one who taught her that you don't give up on sick people, even when doctors say there's no hope like they did with my dad eight years ago. Dogs do teach kids a lot about life. From her childhood dogs Mom learned about love, loss, devotion, heartache, joy, human cruelty, triumphing over adversities, and the fact that you don't have to be a mother to give motherly love.
I've never met Mickie, Pat, King, Cindy or Scottie up here at the Rainbow Bridge. I hear rumors that dog souls that old---Mickie's been gone nearly sixty years---get recycled back to earth again. I guess it doesn't matter if it's true or not. But one thing is for sure, we canine have an important part to play in the balance of things on earth and in the memories of people like Mom.
The next four photos are Mom's adulthood dogs:
Angel Sarah, a puppy mill poodle who only lived five years. Dim-witted but loveable.
Angel Jason, a smart-as-a-whip poodle who got a rolling dog house from his human dad so he never had to get left behind when they went on vacation.
Me---Angel Cooper---with my friend Phil. If you've read any of my posts before I crossed over the Rainbow Bridge you know I had a bit of a reputation as a bad boy.
And last but not least, the very much alive Levi who Mom loves so much it scares her.
© Jean Riva 2008
Welcome to The Levi and Cooper Chronicles. I'm the 'Cooper' and my baby brother is the 'Levi.' We're not siblings in the literal sense of the word. He's a miniature schnauzer and I'm a miniature poodle but our differences go far beyond our breed. You see, I'm the famous angel dog who blogs from the