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Eleanor

Eleanor C. Grossie
On Dogs and Cats

   Dogs I remember:            

I guess the first dog that I remember was an Airedale named Laddie.  It arrived at the house in Portland as a gift.  Aunt Julia lived in Susanville, California that was then a small logging town.  Uncle Arch was an engineer who was in charge of mapping roads in the timber for the Fruit Growers Supply Company.  The logs were used to make fruit boxes.  Aunt Julia raised Airedales.  Ruth and Laura went down to Susanville to stay with Aunt Julia for a few weeks.  During that time one of her dogs gave birth to many puppies.  The average litter is at least 6 and maybe more.  So it necessitated many telephone calls to mother asking for permission to bring a dog home.  I don’t remember how they got it home--probably was shipped by rail.  It was a beautiful dog and somewhere I found a picture of him.  He was definitely a family protector.  I remember he had quite a temper when other dogs came into the area.

The next dog I remember was Gyp.  George had gone downtown for something.  He must have been around 17 or 18--that would make me about 3 or 4.  Naturally he called and persuaded mother to let him bring home the “cutest dog you ever saw.” So mother said yes--she was a pushover for dogs also--and George came home with a little reddish-orange dog.  Unfortunately it was wormy and had fleas, which Mother had to treat for quite a long time.  After she looked at the pitiful little pup, she told George “you were really gypped--and that was how he got the name of Gyp.

I am sure there must have been other dogs in the family but I don’t remember any more until I won the prize.  At that time there was a dog food called Walter Kendall.

The man who owned the dog food company raised Scotch terriers.  They were beautiful little dogs and he ran a contest to create a slogan for the dog food.  I saw the contest entry at the grocery store and decided to enter.  This was after I had graduated from high school and Father was in and out of bed--the aftermath of having had a severe heart attack during the blizzard of January, 1937.  Anyway, I kept going through phrases trying to decide what would be a good slogan and finally came up with “the best food yet to feed your pet--Walter Kendall.”  It had to be ten words or less, and I had just the right number!   I forgot about the whole contest and spent my days trying to be a help to mother who wasn’t feeling very well herself.  I did the “heavy work” such as cutting the lawn, sweeping sidewalks, hanging up clothes and stuff like that.  I had graduated from Grant High School by that time and since father was on sick leave, then retirement there was no money for me to go to college or business school.  So I was home until something else happened.  Anyway, to get back to the dog, you can imagine my surprise one day to get a letter in the mail from Walter Kendall dog Food Company.  Hoping it was a money award, I opened it and to my surprise I learned that I had won a Scotch terrier--with papers--not the kind you put on the floor but papers I could complete and register the dog.  She was a cute little dog.  I had to go to their home to claim the dog and learned that the Kendall’s had called her Virginia after somebody named Virginia who was adept at getting out of jail.  I never learned the rest of that story.  Needless to say I didn’t like the name “Virginia” which was soon shortened to “Ginny” and then to Jeannie.  But first my problem was that I had to convince Father that I wanted to keep the dog.  So after breaking the news to him that I had won a dog, I very carefully carried the dog upstairs to show him the cute little dog.  I held the dog for a few minutes.  Father was sitting up in a chair at the time.  I put the dog down on the floor--he wagged his tail and walked over to Father and sat down partially on his feet and looked up at him as if to say, “ I think I’d like to stay.”  She than laid down across his feet and was then accepted as a member of the family.  Needless to say she became Father’s special friend.  Shortly after Father was able to get up, come downstairs and eventually go outside for a bit of exercise.  He would put Jeannie on a leash and walk the dog up and down the street.  Time passed and when Father died in August of 1940 Jeannie became Mother’s dog, more or less.  When Harold came home from overseas and we set up housekeeping at the house on 55th street, I couldn’t take her away and since I was working, I left her there with Mom.  She lived for several years more and died of a heart attack while Mom, Ruth and Adelene and possibly Charles were at the beach one Sunday.

While we lived at 55th street, we decided to get a dog.  We followed ads in the paper until we came to one that sounded pretty good.  We finally found one that was a cross of several spaniel types!  We brought home an all black dog, rather long legged for his size, with big feet, floppy ears and a long wagging tail.  He reminded Mother of a dog that she and Father had when they first moved to 47th street who was named Prince.  So we decided to call him Prince.  He was a very friendly dog.  Fortunately we had a fenced in back yard and a full cement basement so that worked out very well.  He stayed down in the basement at night, with a blanket or something like that to sleep on and his bowl of water and food.  In the morning, he was let out in the back yard to run around for a while.  The back door of the house had a large window in it, similar to the back doors the house in Stevenson.  After the dog got large enough, he would come up to the door and jump and jump--looking in the window.  That was to let us know that he was ready to come in the house and get his breakfast.  I was still working then so down the basement he would go until we got home In the evening.  Eventually I became pregnant and stopped working and stayed home.  He was delighted because he was definitely a dog who loved his family.  I have a picture of him and Charles sitting on the steps of the house on 55th street. He delighted in jumping on the bed with us first thing in the morning.  I would get up, let him upstairs and then try to get back to bed before he got to the bedroom.  Sometimes I got there before him, but not very often.  He would play with us for a while until he decided he had to have something to eat, and then it was off the bed waiting impatiently until we got up and dressed and then start our day.  Of course this only happened on the weekends.   After Bill was old enough to sit in the playpen, things changed.  He greeted each child and from then on became his or her protector.  His funniest trick was when Harold came home from work.  He always knew when he came up on the porch so Prince would go to the playpen, reach his paw in and get one of Billy’s squeaker toys and carry it over to the door and wait for Harold come in.  He was wagging his tail as if to say what a great dog he was.

Now during this time, back at 47th street, Charles was becoming concerned with a little dog that was owned by neighbors.  The dog was very cute and was known as Pixie. He would come up to the house and Charles would play with her.  Mother finally decided that it would be a good idea if Pixie was transported to Stevenson where we then lived, this was about 1950.  Of course having a male dog and then a black female dog, nature took its course and soon we were presented with a litter of 5 puppies--five black and white and one light brown.  This was a throwback to relatives of Prince.  The most interesting thing about the whole affair was that all 6 puppies were male.  The vet to whom we took the pups to was amazed since that was a very rare happening.  Charles wanted one of the pups for his very own, so he picks out a cute black and white pup.  But after checking out the dog and also the brown one, he changed his mind and took the brown one.  He was named Rex.  Mother was always amazed that whenever I went down to Portland Rex always greeted me as a very special friend.  I think he looked on me as a substitute mother! 

Prince and Pixie lived with us for quite a long time.  Pixie as killed by a car speeding up the street when Bill, Margaret, Bonnie Keehn and Pat were playing out in the driveway.  That really scared me because it seemed to me that the car swerved a bit in the driveway to hit the dog on purpose.  Prince lived several years longer but died of cancer.  We had been giving him drugs, prescribed by the Vet that were eventually similar to the drugs that were later given to humans.  They cost an arm and a leg but did prolong his life a few years.  Then we were dog less for a few years.

It is hard to think of all the dogs that we had in proper sequence.  Among them were Lady and Ranger.  Lady was a sheltie and Ranger a shepherd, Australian, I think.  They came around - obviously lost and came into the yard where I immediately made friends with them.  Lady wanted to stay, but Ranger kept running off and trying to get Lady to go with her.  Finally she decided that this wasn’t such a bad place and they both decided to stay.  Of course both being females and living in the midst of many male dogs, nature took her course and soon we had a very pregnant dog on our hands.  I don’t remember who had offspring first but we had a hard time getting rid of the puppies.  Finally we decided that the best thing to do was to have them both spayed so it was off to Dr. Ruggles in Portland (the place is still there but I don’t know if it is still a veterinarian place of business or not.)  Anyway, that worked very well for Ranger, but Lady died of an embolism.  So we were down to one dog again.  Ranger was a very nice dog, loving and put up with the kids just fine.  After we had her a few years Margaret came home and said that one of her classmates was going to move and they had a dog--a bit past the puppy stage and could we have him.  After much discussion and some contrary comments from Pop I drove over to their house and picked up the dog.  He was scared and I guess was wondering how he got in this situation.  I carried him into the house and Ranger was sitting on the daveno.  She took one look at the dog and growled--something she never did.  Of course the poor scared dog looked at her and had a tremendous bowel movement right there and then.  I just about had hysterics--it was so funny.  After that Ranger accepted him.  Then we had to choose a name.  The people who owned him had called him Fido.  Of all names for a dog that was the worst.  I said I would rather call him Joe than Fido and it didn’t take Joe very long to know his name.  The problem with Joe as that he always was looking for excitement in the form of another female dog.  He had several bouts of pneumonia--one time wearing an old sweater of Pops.  It was sewn on him but after a couple of weeks he was able to get it off--lost it and that was that. 

I don’t remember which one joined the other former pets in doggy heaven but after that we were dog less again. 

By now the kids were all grown and Mike was stationed at Mt. St. Helens area.  He already a dog - Oscar and they didn’t want another so when a stray dog turned up he decided they would take it to the animal control officer in Stevenson.  He and Debbie brought this dog - a rather strange dog to Stevenson.  At this time I don’t remember whether the dog was a he or she.  Anyway the Animal Control Officer would not be able to pick up the dog for the trip to Vancouver and so he was left on our front porch.  He had a bowl of water, food and an old blanket.  He always acted as if he was waiting for someone and was very alert.  He was well trained, but rather aloof.  He wagged his stub of a tail when I talked to him but somehow he appealed to me.  So I talked Pop into keeping him.  Since he as a dingo, we called him Dingo.  We had him several years, but he had to be put down because of cancer.  He was going down hill very rapidly and we decided not to prolong his suffering.  That -- is, Pop didn’t like to tell the Doctor to give the dog a shot.  We both shed a few tears, as well as the Doctor. 

We were a couple of years without a dog.  Finally we started to think it might be a good idea to talk to Mike.  I wanted a Lab, but they are hard to come by.  Finally one day Mike called from the office and asked us if we still wanted a dog.  Tina, the Animal Control Officer had come into the office with a dog that had been abandoned.  Mike said it was a cute little dog and it was friendly and did we want to see it.  I said of course we did so Mike and Tina brought the dog up to the house.  Tina had to wait three days to se if anyone reported it missing, so we just checked the dog out.  It was a spaniel type and very cute and happy.  He had been neutered and was housebroken so we said that we would like to have him.  We waited three days and Mike had Margaret Warrick give him a bath and a trim then brought him to us.  The dog settled in very well.  He claimed Pop’s lap and we discovered he had this odd habit of laying on him back.  He tucked himself under an arm and sprawled out on his back and went to sleep.  Of course he slept on our bed.  Since that was where we slept, that was where he slept also!

We were still interested in what breed he was so with a bit of searching at the library, I got a book of pictures of dogs put out by the British Dog Kennel.  After going through the book and matching up appearances, size, weight and other information, we decided he was a King Charles Spaniel, a breed that had been owned by King Charles and other Royal families.  I recently saw a dog that was an exact replica of Cutie, in a dog show on television.  Yes, Cutie was his name, no doubt named because he was such a cute dog.  He had to be put down in August,1998.  He had many problems and I felt like a murderer for quite some time.  However, I thought more of the suffering he was having.

Of course, there a still a few dogs I remember - Oscar and Taffy who belonged to Mike and Debbie - Taffy remembered me when I was up to Moses Lake last week.  And there is Cassie who belongs to David and Melonie.  Then there was Jacque who had belonged to Laura.  When she died Pop and I were the ones to whom the dog was given. He had more problems than I realized including tonsillitis.  H was a nice dog, though. A typical French Poodle.

Next were cats. 

We started with two that mother decided we should have.  The mother was a black Persian and very loving.  She had a daughter who we called Inky Dink.  Of course unfortunately we couldn’t get into the spaying situation because of lack of money, so the tribe increased many fold until we finally had around 25 to 30 cats.  I read an ad in the Columbian that a man in Vancouver was asking for cats - he sold them and would take any strays.  So after a telephone call, we got four cardboard boxes, punched a few holes towards the top and bundled the cats in.  I think David was still a little guy who sat on my lap in the front seat.  The other four sat in back with the boxes of cats.  I think that we had a station wagon--anyway, it was quite a trip.  The cats were terrified, squalling and trying to get out of the boxes, getting sick and worse, and we finally got to Vancouver and found the house.  The man boarded cats also.  So Pop got out of the car and went in to make sure this was the place.  When the man saw the number of cats we were bringing him, he told Pop he would have to have some money to take care of the food for a few days.  But no matter the cost, we were thankful we could get rid of them.  We did keep a couple mostly due to the kids wanting them, but we never found ourselves with that number again.

And that finishes the chapter on Cats.   Of course it doesn’t really because we did and do have cats.  However, we decided that we would keep them from multiplying and give the cats a ride to the Vet to be “fixed."

Of course the really funny thing that happened was this.  We took the cats to the office where Monica Hegewald Townsend practices to have the job done on various cats we have had.  We always have to give the cats a name.  With the last one, I told Pop he had to name the cat since I had supplied all the names so far.  As we were driving to Camas, he said ‘all right, we’ll call it Sue.   When we went down to Camas to get the cat, The gal in the office kind of smiled and said “Sue is a boy”!  We should have named him Johnny Cash for the song he made famous!

 (Note: There were at least two more dogs that I remember – a German Shepherd named Andy that would allow the cats to curl up next to him. I saw this one-day, reached down to pet the cat, and Andy being very protective bit me above the right eye. A car that was going up the street in front of the house also struck and killed Andy. I remember my Dad making a coffin to bury him in.

There was also Sandy – another shepherd mix that came to live with us when she was a pup. My Dad had retired from teaching, and Sandy became his dog.)