? 1992 - April 13, 2008
Skeeter was a cocker spaniel/irish setter mixed breed rescue. We found him at a church yard sale. They were holding a fundraiser for a no-kill shelter and there were lots of dogs in crates, placed up under a semi-trailer for shade on the 105 degree day. Skeeter was sitting atop a stack of crates and sweetly stuck his nose out to say hello as we walked by. We took him home, shaved his flea infested coat, and removed all the thorns imbedded in his skin. From that day on, he was always grateful to have a home with good food, long walks while he was able, and shelter from the summer storms that terrified him. Despite being nearly blind and deaf the last few years of his life, Skeeter approached each day with patience and good humor.
We miss you, Skeeter!
The Red Dog had lived at the house in Lindale for as long as anyone can remember. When we got the house, the gentleman told us that "the red dog goes with it." So, we moved in and the red dog let us. We met the man who had moved in eight years previous and he told us the red dog was here when he came. "He was old then," he said. Red happily patroled the property, announcing when there was something worthy of attention. He flat out refused to set foot inside of anything approximating a building, wouldn't remotely consider a ride in the car, and struggled the one time a month that we put a leash on him so that we could treat him against fleas. When I would walk the dogs, he'd go along. If he got sidetracked by something he'd find interesting, he'd find his own way home, invariably showing up on the back porch either right before or after we did. Although Red was independent, resourceful, and un-owned, he seemed happy we arrived and brought an instant pack with us for him to belong to. He got along well with the Mastiffs, happy to coexist with them. The one concession he made once we arrived along the lines of "domestication" was his obvious appreciation of the travel crate we placed on the back porch with a blanket for him to sleep in at night and during the intense Texas summer storms. Oh, and the twice daily meals that magically appeared were okay, too. Ultimately, the Red Dog had an unsuccessful encounter with one of the many wild pigs that inhabit the countryside in East Texas. We made the difficult but very timely and appropriate call to have our wonderful, caring vet help him on his way across the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you, Red Dog, for the simple joy and lesson of appreciation that you brought to our lives.
Spring 2009 (We celebrated March 17th) - April 24, 2018
Bowie was the proverbial puppy that followed me home - literally. On June 17, 2009, I was walking Nellie and Gumby on our four mile loop. About half way around, this three month old black lab/shepherd mix joined up with us, cheerfully trying to keep up despite quickly tiring in the heat. We attempted to locate his home, but no one would claim him. We tried to adopt him out to people we knew, but no one would take him.
We quickly discovered his great contribution to our family - socializing and reconditioning the Mastiffs to tolerate the kind of "in your face" activity they find offensive in other dogs, so... We kept him.
Bowie had great dog communication skills. He read the Mastiffs well and knew when they were playing and when they were serious. He stimulated games of chase and tug-of-war that lead to hours of laughter in our house. Just when the Mastiff would think they'd won, Bowie would dodge between their legs, under their belly, or leap over their back and be gone - usually with the desired toy in his mouth and the game was back on.
Bowie always knew his place in the pack and lived it well. Until his last days, he could still clear the baby gates between rooms with ease, but knew that he was expected not to and honored that rule. Like all of our Mastiffs, Bowie had defined his role in the family and we found ourselves missing him greatly when we had to say goodbye.