When living in Tasmania, with two young children, we decided to get a dog. Hydatids were rife in Tassie making it unsafe to buy a dog locally, so the search went on in Melbourne where Mum found a golden Labrador. Lisa named him Mr Ed. A constant delight to us all, Mr Ed. lived to a good age. I hated to have him put to sleep when he was about 15 years old.
My man declared "no more dogs", probably because of all the upset and trauma of losing Mr Ed. However shortly after he left for one of his jobs elsewhere, I found I couldn't bear not having a dog.
I took the kids, three by then, to a local pound, where after a short, hurried selection time we decided to take a black, cross breed, short of leg and long in body, and traumatised by previous adopters who returned him to the pound.
Already named Sam, he threw up in the car on the way home and I thought 'Oh what have I done'! He was so timid, afraid to get his share of the food served en mass at the pound. I am sure that was the reason he ate part of a bench stool and regurgitated it soon after arriving home! t took a while for Sam to understand he was loved and part of the family; that the plate of food was for him and that he didn't have to eat rubbish.
Sam was Lisa's dog. He would wait for her return from school every day with his little legs up on the window sill so he could see her coming.
Years went by and Sam started to slow down. My boys used to go running around the streets at night and I thought they would be safer if they had a dog to run with them. So Sally, a black Lab crossed with Border Collie, came into our lives.
Poor Sally had a very rough start, surviving twice from very serious illness. Sally was great company for Sam who was now attuned to Lisa's later return from work. Sam featured in Lisa’s wedding photos and missed her so much after she married. He waited for her return from work every day, until he finally understood she was not coming home.
Sally was a great source of fun and company for Sam. Clever, very active and a constant delight, she would have a tug of war, with Sam, or whoever would play with her, preferably in the lounge room with an audience. She loved to entertain us all, this involved a large length of suiting material kept for the purpose. The amount of black dog hair shed on that carpet was incredible. Much cleaning was needed!
We had a party for Lisa's 40th birthday at Swanpool. Sally was old, and poorly, and I remember my boys lifting her in her basket up onto the verandah when it was time to retire. Sally is buried next to our Sam at Swanpool.
I had never had a dog that was my very own, they were always more family dogs, and I fancied a fox terrier. Bobbie was gorgeous, I loved him so much. Bobbie was about six when he tragically died. My Man had passed away and I was on my own, so losing Bobbie, a precious animal, was to me almost like losing a loved person. I was devastated, but friends encouraged me to get another dog.
After a time I saw foxies advertised over Shepparton way. I had arranged to meet the young school boy in charge of the puppy sales at his home after school and waited for his school bus to arrive. The lad ran to open the door to let the dogs out. They all tumbled out in a mass, excited to see him and be let out. The first one I saw had lovely markings and I quickly said "that one". One glance was enough for me!
Richie is now 11 years old and is my constant companion. He understands every word he hears, he can make me understand what he wants. He is not terribly obedient, but comes running if I toot the car horn. If he blinks at me I blink back, in case we are talking in 'code'. I love to see him smile--he does you know--and I love to see him healthy and happy.
All our dogs were members of the family. We loved them through their good times and tough times. I think they were very good for the children to learn from. They all have family dogs today and wouldn't be without them—‘For Better For Worse’.