Boomeresque:Definition
1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Baby Boomer Dog Daze

by Suzanne Fluhr on August 30, 2012 · 77 comments

My husband and I came by our predilections for working twelve hours a day honestly.  We’re Baby Boomers and must feel some vestigial responsibility to atone for our generation’s earlier excesses with sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Given our work schedules, it was a no-brainer that our two sons would be the only mammals invited to live with us.
In response to their pleas for us to get a dog, we explained that it would not be fair to leave a dog home all alone for so many hours.
Redmouth

Redmouth

Hermit Crab

Chuckie the Hermit Crab

We assuaged our guilt at depriving our boys of a dog by adopting beings of lower phylla.  There was Redmouth, the goldfish our neighbors “forgot” to retrieve when they returned from a vacation.  Redmouth was the kind of goldfish you take home from the school fair in a water filled plastic bag.  He (or she) lived all alone in a quart size glass bowl, requiring only a daily pinch of fish food and a weekly water change.

 

Once we were a little late with this crucial task. Our boys were very upset to find Redmouth floating motionless on his side.  Fortunately, their father was able to summon his skills as a critical care physician to revive him.  Redmouth lived to the ripe old age of nine which must be a lot in school fair goldfish years.

 

Our next pet was Chuckie, a hermit crab.  Like Redmouth, Chuckie was rather undemanding and not very interactive.  One day when our seven year old son, Jeremy, found that Chuckie  had succumbed to something beyond his father’s powers of resurrection, he came to me with tears streaming down his face.  “Please can we get a pet with fur.  They don’t fall apart when they die.”

 

We remained a pet free zone for ten years, until I announced my plan to semi-retire and write legal briefs from home.  Upon hearing this news, Jeremy, about to become a high school senior, immediately reminded me that now we could get a dog.  I explained that having a dog might put a crimp in my plans to travel — not to mention the fact that he would be leaving for college in a year.  Since we lived right outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and he was planning to apply early decision to the University of Miami, I pointed out the obvious.  With him 1,200 miles away living in a college dorm, I would have to be responsible for the dog.  Giving me the withering look that teenagers reserve only for their parents, he muttered, “I knew you would back out.”

 

The parental guilt button having been expertly pushed, the next day found Jeremy and me at a local SPCA —  just to look. As we checked in at the counter and said we wanted to adopt a dog, I glanced to my right and there was Dino, an adorable six month old cock-a-poo (cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle) , being “returned” at the other end of the counter. As Jeremy gave me a somewhat incredulous look, I said, “We’ll take that one.”
Dino, Our Cock-a-Poo

Dino, the Cock-a-Poo We Adopted from the SPCA

     Jeremy:  Aren’t we going to look at any other dogs?
      Me:  Nope.

 

An hour later, after a stop for dog food, a leash, a crate, a dog bed, and a dog toy Dino picked out at Pet Smart, Jeremy, Dino and I arrived home.  My husband, Steve, greeted us with stunned surprise. He had never expressly forbidden us to adopt a dog, but admittedly, neither had he been wildly enthusiastic about the idea.

 

Dino’s belongings soon took over a good deal of the house.  It wasn’t long before our kitchen chair legs looked like a deranged beaver had chomped on them, all our throw pillows were disembowled, and who knew our shoes were so tasty.  And speaking of “bowels”, the SPCA worker’s assurance that Dino was house broken turned out to be apocryphal.  One day as Steve stepped over Dino’s latest “accident”, he announced somewhat hyperbolically (I thought) that Dino had ruined our home life.
Dino On Thin Ice

Dino Skating on Thin Ice

I retreated unhappily to my third floor office where I gravely and tearfully concluded that Dino would have to be “returned”.  Steve worked very hard and deserved to have his home be a port in the storm.  As I stroked Dino’s soft, hypo-allergenic fur and looked miserably into his trusting, brown eyes, Steve entered the room.  In what can only be described as a “Gift of the Magi” moment, I started to explain that I could understand his point of view and was resigned to parting with Dino, but he countered that he knew Jeremy and I were very attached to Dino and he would give him a last chance.
Dino, the Cock-a-Poo with Steve

Dino Sucking Up to Steve

Dino, the Cock-a-Poo dog, Waiting in the Snow

Dino Waiting Patiently for me to Shovel Us A Path for Our Walk

Dino has proved worthy.  With Jeremy long gone, he keeps me company in our empty nest. He makes sure that I am up and out for walks in snow, sleet, rain, heat and gloom of night.  After years of spending the daylight hours at my office, thanks to Dino, I finally met many of our neighbors, at least the ones who have dogs.
Dino Waiting at the Door for Steve to Come Home

Dino Waiting at the Door for Steve to Come Home

Even though I am Dino’s primary caretaker, including dispensing his food, Steve is his favorite person.  He lays by the front door in anticipation of Steve’s return home from work and when he hears Steve’s key in the door, he is simply besides himself with joy. Dino gradually earned the privilege of sleeping in his dog bed on our bedroom floor, but I knew he had officially joined our pack when one morning, I found him stretched out on our bed—-sharing Steve’s pillow.
Dino and His "Brother", Jeremy

Dino and His “Brother”, Jeremy

 [You can read more about Dino and what we did when we had to travel for four months, here.]

I warned my readers not to encourage me to post more Dino stories!  But, now it’s only fair that you share some of yours.  How did you acquire your furry friend(s)? (Cat people are permitted to participate in the discussion.)

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Beth August 30, 2012 at 10:49 am

Loved the story, Suzanne! Our first family dog was named Purdy by our daughter, then 5, after 100 Dalmatians. She was quite a character and got into all sorts of antics! (Like unrolling the bathroom toilet paper all over the house, meticulously unpacking Lara’s book bag and laying the contents in neat piles across the living room rug…) We “rescued” her from a pet store. Purdy was 6 months old and the sign over her crate read “last chance, must go” so go she did! She was a lhasa apso, hypoallergenic, and great “sister” to Lara as she was growing up. We had to have her put to sleep a little over 3 years ago, and I swore I would never get another dog- totally devastated by her loss.

Three years later, feeling an emptiness in my life, I began searching the sites for rescue dogs. I had decided I would never do the puppy thing again, and got tuned in to online pet searches. Finding the dog of my dreams, I filled out the application and waited patiently for the email that never came. The next day I found the site had a new posting about the dog, with comments about how old people should not apply because the dog was only 1 1/2 years old, and, after all, may live 15 or 16 years. Horrified by this, I went several rounds with the rescue people at this site- me sending emails, them posting new ageist comments. They never had the courtesy to respond to me directly. I think I even posted a rant on FB about this. Six months later, the dog was still up for adoption, but I had moved on.

After seeing a dog in New Hope and “not feeling right”, I had decided to stop looking. The next day I awoke with an even stronger frenzy. Going online, I discovered The Women’s Humane Society, and saw a dog that looked just right for me! I downloaded and filled out the application and took it, along with my mom, to the rescue center. It was a first come, first serve situation… Whomever handed in their app first got first dibs on ALL the animals. I was second. We were allowed to walk through and see all the dogs, and when I walked through, this little guy stood up on his hind legs and barked at me. I thought he was cute, but not the dog I was going to see. When I tried to walk by, he barked again and began to spin around on his hind legs like a circus dog… “Don’t ignore me!” I went over, pet him, thought hmmm… I think this guy is adorable!…but moved on to see “my dog of choice”, who ended up being older than they had posted online, had a sharp high pitched bark, and really bad teeth! So yes, little boy came home with me! He picked me and I couldn’t say no.

Peter (who like Steve wanted nothing to do with another dog) came up with the name Jizo- (I have little Jizo statues in my garden)- an appropriate name for such a wonderful, loving little fellow. (Jizo is the embodiment of the Bodhisattva Vow- the aspiration to save all beings from suffering. He is the protector of women and children, and is a guide to travelers in both the physical and spiritual realms. He is also known for healing our minds and hearts in times of grief and loss.)

Jizo has certainly helped to heal my heart from the loss of Purdy. I think Purdy sent him to me to keep me company : )

(PS- Suzanne, you really have a way of making me want to write back to you! Hope I don’t go on and on TOO much!)

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer August 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I love everybody’s dog story. Jizo is a very lucky little guy. I’m so happy you found eachother. And by all means, Write On!

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avatar Roz Warren August 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

No travel, all Dino. A perfect blog post for this reader! Thanks for Dino’s origin story, and for the wonderful photos.

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer August 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Dino and I thank you.

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avatar Andrea August 30, 2012 at 1:59 pm

This story and the accompanying pictures just made my day! Now I want to invite Dino to come see our house and scope his potential short-term living space for when mommy and daddy can’t take him on long trips! He is obviously always welcome in our new home; don’t worry, so are you and Steve 😉

Speaking of dog acquisitions, my parents’ purchase of Oreo came at a sad time. When I was 5 years old, Big Tom brought us home a teeny tiny little guy named Snickers that lived peacefully and respectfully until the ripe old age of 14. After a very, very quick and sad passing of our first dog, mom was beside herself with grief. With me in college and my brother never home, she was lonely and wanted a furry pal again. It was then that a friend of my dad’s had a dog who just gave birth to puppies and invited Big Tom and Loretta to come pick one out. The puppies were a bunch of cream-colored furballs, rolling all around, with the exception of a little black furball with a giant patch of white fur, playing alone in the corner. Keeping with picking the outcast of the litter, mom instantly fell in love with the little black puppy with the big white patch of chest fur. The name, Oreo, was an obvious choice at the time.

Though he was the cutest ball of fur when he came home, he was also an unholy terror to my mom when dad would go outside. He would be cute and playful, running in little circles and under the couch, entertaining the masses. But once dad would go outside, he would turn and growl at mom! He also had a very large appetite for my flip flops and panties, so going back to college after summer break was interesting when I had chew marks on my shoes and holes in my undies.

As Oreo grew, we noticed what appeared to be a scar between his eyes was growing with him. He was always scratching at the spot and rubbing it on things, and one morning mom woke to find it had split open and Oreo needed to be rushed to a vet. It turns out that Oreo had/has a patch of skin that is inverted, and the fur had apparently been growing inside, between his eyes, all along. Creepy, right? The doctor cleaned it out and stitched him and Franken-dog was home causing mischief in no time.

Oreo has since grown from the little black furball in the palm of my hand to gargantuan beast that stands as tall as I am when on his hind legs, and that large patch of white fur is now a dot on his chest, and he’s as crazy as he was as a puppy, but he’s loved like another family member and treated just the same. He is a big baby, crying when daddy goes outside and whimpering when he hears someone come in the front door but he is blocked by the foyer door from saying his instant “hello”. He can be annoying, but like any family member, that’s expected and doesn’t stop us from loving him!

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer August 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I haven’t met either of your brothers yet! I am looking forward to having a family dinner on Mitchell Street with the humans and the furry ones.

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avatar Nancy August 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm

What a fun post! I loved your early attempts and your son’s plea to “Please get a pet with fur. They don’t fall apart when they die.” When my kids were small I was the mom who took in those unfortunate classroom pets at the end of each school year. We had hamsters, fish, toads, and big white rats that did nothing but drink and pee. We also had cats (lots) and dogs (a couple). Now it’s just us two old fogeys and our one rescue cat Mr. Ricky, who thinks he’s a dog (he sits up for treats and retrieves). He’s a lovable old furball and doesn’t mind staying home alone for a day or two if we want to go away for a weekend. Longer travel is in our future so we’re getting Ricky his own backpack and rollie.

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer August 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thanks for your comment.

If you want to have a pet and travel, I think the key is to get one that “fits under the seat in front of you.” Dino doesn’t make that cut, but he has several other people who are very fond of him (and he of they), so he loves them when we’re away. I’m the one who has pangs every time I see another dog on our trips.

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avatar Natasha McEachron August 30, 2012 at 7:21 pm

My mom is scared of most dogs so I couldn’t have one as a kid. I still don’t have a dog but did get a fairly puppy-like rabbit in 2010 who is known to cause quite a bit of trouble. I’ve decided to get a dog in two years but everyone’s stories really make me want to get one sooner. Thanks for sharing!

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer August 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Thanks for sharing your comment. I recommend offering to dog sit for a friend at your home while they’re away so that you can see if you enjoy/can do 24/7 responsibility for a dog. They’re probably harder to care for than a rabbit and you probably should check out whether your rabbit can stand having a dog around (although I realize that there are dogs and there are DOGS!) Before I agreed to Jeremy’s wish that we get a dog, our other son brought his college frat’s dog home over their winter school break one year. I really enjoyed “Bailey” and was sorry to see him go. That helped convince me when the time came that I would be working mostly from home, that a dog would be a welcome addition. Now we can’t really remember what life was like before Dino. I think the Dino has helped ease us into the “empty”, but now not SOOOOO empty nest.

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avatar L Sorensen-Jolink September 2, 2012 at 2:08 am

Keep those Dino stories and photographs coming! He sounds and looks like a delightful, and very handsome, dog. And thank too to the other commenters, for their dog stories.

As you know, we have two dogs: Henry, a 9-year-old Golden Retriever, and Bob, a 6-year-old long-haired dachshund. Each is a rescued dog.

Henry came to us when he was 8 months old. He had had a family which apparently took good care of him but had to find another home for him when both adults lost their jobs and had to give up their 2-acre property and move, with their 8-year-old son and Henry, into a Fifth-Wheeler. For two months, they tried to make that work, but Henry was already unusually long and tall, and there simply wasn’t enough space, so they sent him to Golden Bond, Oregon’s rescue organization for Golden Retrievers. As Henry’s designated foster family, we brought him to our home later that day. We flunked foster parenting, as we decided to adopt him after about five minutes with him. A note for Natasha: Henry got along beautifully with our lop-eared rabbit Fred, whose cage door was always open, and he clearly mourned for Fred when he died of old age.

Bob came to us when he was 8 months old and his owner, a neighbor. became ill and could not care for him. When the neighbor recovered, he decided it would be better if we kept, and he visited, Bob, so that’s what happened. Bob then became our son’s dog and spent eight months living in Manhattan. When our son, a professional dancer, embarked on a 14-month tour, Bob came home to us, where he has been since April of 2007.

Henry and Bob have become close siblings. Bob insists on doing everything that Henry does. Henry, a gentle giant 5 times Bob’s size, allows Bob to be the Alpha Dog, and I think it is Henry’s presence that allows Bob to be the fearless dog he wants to be. Henry has taught Bob to be an avid swimmer and fetcher, and Bob has taught Henry to be a lap dog and to dig and bark. Together and apart, they are a hoot!
They are so much fun, in fact, that they have become essential to our vacations.

Like you, my nest became empty, and I moved my office to my home, about the same time Henry came to us. He and Bob fill my heart with love and keep loneliness at bay. (And because of the dogs’ thrice-daily walks, my husband and I, and the dogs, are part our neighbors’ lives.) Henry and Bob are not our beloved children; they are our beloved dogs, and we treasure every minute with them.

And, obviously, I love to write about them! Thanks for the opportunity, Leslie

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer September 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Thanks for sharing Bob and Henry’s stories. I’d love to see photos of them. I’m not sure how one can post a photo in a comment, but here’s my email: suzanne@boomeresque.com

BTW, even though my ratio of Dino photos to photos of my human children is about 500 to one, I had a piece published in the Philadelphia Inquirer travel section today about one of my human offspring:

http://www.boomeresque.com/on-the-road-in-spain-with-our-2-boomlet/

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avatar Margie September 8, 2012 at 3:10 am

I thought a cat might be easier to look after – we would go away for 5 days, leave 6 days worth of food for the cat, and come home to find one day of food left – and a cat that hadn’t really noticed we had been gone. What I hadn’t counted on was that the cat would live to be 18 years old which is much longer than a dog would have!

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avatar Montecristo Travels September 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm

No reason Dino can’t travel – we do it ALL the time. Especially Europe – much more dog friendly. Here’s my story since … you asked! Thank you very much for stopping in. If we can help with anything at all please feel free to ask. Montecristo has been to Italy, France, The USA and much of Canada. With more to come – including Greece and Bulgaria in May/June 2013. We are also sailing around the med with him in 2015. You’ll see travel a whole new way! http://montecristotravels.com/about-me/

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer September 21, 2012 at 4:40 am

I will definitely be reading Montecristo’s travel stories. Dino is great on car trips, but we’ve never traveled with him other than “down tha’ shore”—-i.e. the beach in southern NJ.

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avatar Madaline Fluhr September 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Just read Beth’s response to your Dino story and was very touched. Suzanne, I’m a boomer, but I’m afraid because I was a little “crazier” than you growing up (though not a totally typical child of the 60’s – only very moderate to minimal encounters with sex, drugs and rock and roll) I do find myself at the ripe old age of 56 as a total – what did you call it once? slasher??? Entertainment agent/substitute teacher/occasional clown/face painter, etc. with a husband who is also a “slasher” – in other words, did not settle on one high paying career that left discretionary time at an age young enough to enjoy it!! or enough discretionary time to be the least bit fair to a dog! We did also have a long-lived silver “gold”fish name Ping-Pong (you guessed it – named for how our daughter Emma obtained him – or was it her?) He lived for about 7 years, I believe and we had 3 cats that eventually went the way of all living things….I now have to run to do an Earthquakes gig “Deluxe” face painting for the fans of our local professional soccer team – a fun gig – I hire a crew of 3 other face painters who are excellent face painters/artists (much better than myself) so they raise my bar! I’m no fool. Dad would be proud of my efforts….Anyway – I love my nephdog Dino….no comment on the MinPins (I am happy Jenny and Joel love them and vice versa – nuff said). Keep on blogging – the Japanese sign was hysterical….a bit of “culture shock” or abyssmal English or perhaps a combo of the two? Could not believe the ageism of Beth’s share – unbelievable! and that poor dog still didn’t have a real home 6 months on…..shameful.

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer September 30, 2012 at 7:24 am

The mother also has to be careful not to seem to favor Dino over her other grand-dogs 😉

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avatar The GypsyNesters June 27, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for showing us this post on our site, we enjoyed it. Looks like Dino has become what we like to call a replacement kid.

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avatar Margaret October 25, 2013 at 8:59 pm

What a great story! And that face! You couldn’t possibly have passed him up at the SPCA. Dino is my favorite dog 🙂

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avatar Leyla Giray January 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm

What a lovely story! I’m typing with my Dutch shepherd’s (Beowulf) wet nose resting on my lap, helping with the keyboard, while his brother Merlin lies on the floor eyeing him jealously. Once I traveled the world for months, even years on end. Now I’m limited to three weeks, the longest I can comfortably put my ‘boys’ into the kennel. If I only had one, it would be even shorter – but they keep each other company. Ah well, I’d sacrifice a few months of travel for them… sigh…

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr January 13, 2014 at 10:53 am

Leyla, as my FB friends know, Dino is staying with his aunts and his dog cousin, Izzy, in Cambridge, MA while we are away for four months. They came to Philly to pick him up and he is obviously very fond of them. Apparently, the bed is quite crowded because the entire pack sleeps in it. If they hadn’t offered to take him while we’re gone, this would be really tough. As it is I do miss him. I’m hoping he’s living in the moment as dogs are wont to do and doesn’t feel abandoned. It sounds like Izzy (only a year old) is keeping him busy playing.

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avatar Alyson November 5, 2015 at 2:30 am

Awwww….lucky, lucky Dino!

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avatar Ruth February 22, 2016 at 3:22 am

Oh DINO is adorable.
We had a maltese shitzu pup that my son received from Santa that so reminds me of Dino in the face. We gave the pup to be looked after to a so called friends daughter. Sadly 6 months into our trip she had cancer but also wrote saying she would refuse to return the dog. Time to let go and move on, but Dino has that lovely apricot marking I so adore!
A great story Suzanne – thanks for sharing!

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avatar Valeria Terpytska March 10, 2016 at 1:42 am

Thank you for the awesome read, Suzanne. The last chance in bed with beloved Steve seemed to work out,

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avatar Barbara March 10, 2016 at 10:39 am

Here’s our warm and fuzzy rescue story…stories. Aren’t cockapoos the best?!
http://www.zeroto60andbeyond.com/puppy-love-a-warm-and-fuzzy-story/

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 11, 2016 at 12:15 am

Thanks for sharing your cockapoo story. They are the best.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr July 16, 2016 at 5:11 am

I love happy endings, especially for cockapoos.

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avatar Alana July 14, 2016 at 6:24 am

We have been petless for years. I grew up in public housing, which didn’t permit either cats or dogs. I have loved the cats my friends have owned throughout the years, but I am a bird person. Right now, I can not give a parakeet or other bird the attention they need (they need a lot of attention) but I do intend to become a bird owner again when I feel I can.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr July 14, 2016 at 4:17 pm

I’m always amazed at how some birds can interact with their owners and be wonderful pets.

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avatar Sharon Greenthal July 14, 2016 at 9:59 am

We recently adopted our second rescue dog. Our dogs are a huge part of our lives. I never imagined myself as a “dog person,” but I have become one full on. They keep me company all day while I’m working at home, and they are filled with love and affection. What could be better?

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr July 14, 2016 at 4:19 pm

We had a dog when I was growing up, but I left home not that long after he was adopted. None the less, he was the object of much affection even though he was never properly trained. Stuart Francis Campbell Moore Fluhr—RIP. He was named after an English friend.

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