Dogs and I are not the best of friends. I do have a very real memory of being chased by a huge dog when I was walking home from school. I am learning that not all dogs will chase me. My son had a dog once that I was willing to consider part of my family and let him bring her here and even into the house. (She did pee on my new rug but was so quiet I have even forgiven her.) My daughter has  a dog that jumps on me and she has learned to put the dog out of sight when I visit.

We have a visiting dog with the Otterbees. Gracie comes sometimes when her owner doesn’t want to leave her alone. Sue asked permission first. One member of the Otterbees feels the same as I do about dogs, but we have both learned to acknowledge Gracie’s presence with a “hello”  and the dog usually settles down in the middle of the rug and ignores us. That’s OK with us. (I have suggested Sue might teach her to quilt or knit.)

There are service dogs at the pool but no one is supposed to greet, pet or even talk to them and they are always very well trained.

Thus when I came across this high school writing  of mine, I was reminded of the dog that lived in our home growing up that I tried to avoid but was never afraid of.

If I Had a Dog; or No trouble At all
written by Frances Morse Upper III Dec, 12, 1949

“ If I get a dog I’ll take care of it all by myself. You won’t have any trouble at all.” This was the solemn promise of my sister, Mary, to my father.

“And who will pay for it?” was the typical reply coming from my father, even if he did know quite well who would.

“I’ll train her and teach her to sit, stay, and all the other things she should do.” Mary ignored his remark. Of course it never occurred to her that she would be away at school all winter, and that training a dog long distance is a little difficult but she got his consent.

It was in June that this was discussed, but it wasn’t until August that we finally began looking for a puppy. Now, Mary loves dogs. There’s no denying it. Whenever she sees a dog, she falls in love with it. That’s about the only trouble with her. We went to the kennel in Falmouth, and she fell in love with all the pups. If we hadn’t been there I think she would have taken all of them, but after much discussion she decided on a black and white cocker. So now we have a dog, Penny by name. Even I think she’s cute, and ordinarily I don’t like dogs.

Now I sit here and think over her first remark: “If I get a dog, I’ll take care of it all by myself. You won’t have any trouble at all.” Then I wake myself from my day dreaming with a sudden thought, the time. I’m supposed to feed the dog at nine. As I look at the clock, Penny gets up from her favorite stool, stretches, and walks to the door. Patiently, I get up, grab my coat and flash light and let her out. After much coaxing, calling, and three dog biscuits, she comes in and I feed her her milk. Oh no, no trouble at all, if only Mary would come home. (she was away at boarding school)

My sister is alone now. Her husband died a year ago. She now has a dog to keep her company. I have seen pictures. She’s a nice looking dog.  “Hello Lady”….

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3 Responses to Dogs

  1. It really was special to find some of your high school writing to back up your thoughts on dogs. I didn’t grow up with dogs…but fell in love with our beagle for fifteen years. Last summer was our last with her…we are contemplating right now (or at least I am), whether we can do it over again. xo nanc

  2. Special memories even though you were clearly not too happy about it. What fun to find an old piece of writing. You did your sister a favor and for Penny, too. I love the comment about teaching that quiet dog to knit or quilt. I think if they could, dogs would do just about anything for their owners.

  3. pamelahodges says:

    Your writing draws me in like a moth to a lightbulb at night by the back porch.
    This post reads like a weaving, blending in the past writing with today. You were writing with emotion and feeling in 1949. And then in the ending you bring me back to today, and your sister.
    Very powerful piece.
    Encore. I want an encore. I want to read more.

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