Sunday, June 21, 2015
Today is the perfect Father's Day, warm, full of sunshine, a great day to be outside with your Dad just the two of you or with the rest of your family, furry members included.
As I go about my 'motherly' duties today, caring for Annie, Orphée, Handsome and Belle, I'm thinking about my brother Artie and all the responsibilities he shares with me in caring for our furry family.
In my thoughts are my Dad, my Grandfathers and all my Uncles who loved their pets and instilled their love of animals in us. My Dad shared many stories of all his family's dogs and cats that were a part of his life growing up. I guess someone in the family must have liked these names because each dog was named Nellie and every cat was called Lulu.
My Dad's brother Louie had two dogs named George - both girls. He taught the first George to 'smile' on command. It amazed me to watch him train her using voice and hand commands along with rewards and affection - he was definitely ahead of his time as a trainer. One particular memory is fresh in my mind; it's of my Uncle training George to stay at the intersection until he gave her the command to cross. Of course this was a day and age when there wasn't traffic like today. Everyone would try to distract her but she never moved until my Uncle gave the command. After Uncle Louie moved to Pennsylvania, he adopted a second George (the original George died some years before) and he acquired two geese that turned out to be great 'watchdogs'. Back when my Uncle lived in Brooklyn he and his family shared their apartment with an assortment of baby chicks, a duck and a rabbit after the first George was gone.
My Mom's family had plenty of pets as well. My Grandfather doted on his two parakeets, Cisco and Pancho. When I was a baby my Uncle Rudy's dog Whitey was my first babysitter. My Granduncle John had a Black Westie named Tippy Mc Tavish. I loved that dog. My cousins owned a Beagle mix named Pepper. She was so fat she looked like a sausage with a collar.
In later years Uncle Rudy had a miniature Pinscher named Greta along with a Weimaraner named Baron. Imagine the sight of a 9 lb. Greta and an 80 lb. Baron standing side-by-side! My Mom's other brother Bob had a miniature Collie named Rip. Little children would squeal with delight at the sight of Rip who looked like a pint-sized Lassie.
Watching my brother with our brood, I'm reminded of all the men in our lives who gave us our love of pets. Happy Father's Day to all the Dads and Granddads the world over and I wish a special Happy Father's Day to my wonderful brother who is a great 'Dad' to our four one-time orphans.