~ He ain't hairy, he's my brother! ~

Since I was a small girl the pets we have adopted into our home have been considered family. I'm sure a lot of people feel the same way, but when I say family, I mean siblings or children. The only exceptions have been the cold blooded pets, birds and fish, the pet had to be cuddly to qualify.
The first dog I remember was a border collie called Andy, a handsome laughing dog, who was very obedient. His life was all too short, as he caught hard pad and distemper and after a course of ineffective treatment, he left us to go to Rainbow Bridge. While he was with us, my sister and I considered him our very best friend and brother. Many tears were shed at his passing and we were sure there would never be another dog as wonderful as Andy had been.
Next came Skipper, not a very attractive dog, a cross between a whippet and a Jack Russell, very unruly, and destructive. He settled down after a year or so and became lovable, and although he could hardly be called cuddly, he was a great companion. He would join me on long walks into the countryside and although he chased rabbits, he was very good around livestock. After the shaky start he became our brother as well. Then a small boy claimed to have been bitten by him, a very small boy who should not have been out alone, but the evidence was there. A small bloodied mark on his cheek. My father felt the only responsible thing to do was to have Skipper euthanized. Before the event I took him for a long walk, sobbing as I told him him how much he was loved, he seemed to sense my anguish and walked beside me sedately with his head down. My father returned home from the vet's office, and went upstairs closing the door behind him. It broke dad's heart, but he did what he felt was the safest thing to do. Perhaps next time it would be more serious and someone would be badly maimed.
Shortly after that we moved to a new house. My middle sister who is the 'dog' person in the family adopted a mutt she called Jason. A very hairy dog, he would regularly escape the confines of house and garden, and make a beeline for the fields nearby, where he delighted in rolling in cow pats. Later he would arrive home and scratch at the door. As soon as he was admitted he would bolt into the living room and squeeze behind the sofa. Out he would be dragged and into the garden, where he would be securely tied up while a bath was prepared. An old tin bath was kept in the shed just for him, and it saw lots of service over the four years we owned him. He was a great chewer of shoes and they were always mine. No matter where I put them he found them, and reduced them to shreds. When we emigrated to Canada Jason was adopted by an elderly couple that my parents knew. Long after arriving in Canada they still wrote to us, sending photographs and reports on his activities. It was obvious they adored him and that eased the sadness my sister felt at leaving him behind.
Once in Canada it was a few few years before we felt settled enough to adopt any more pets. The dog shown here is Jesse, a Shih Tzu, that belonged to my parents. The day Jesse came home with them my mother phoned me...
"Sheila" she said 'You have a new brother"...

Me with Jason when I was 16


  1. Hi Sheila! Dogs are delightful , aren't they! I couldn't live without Spot...he is my "son' heh heh!

  2. Aloha Sheila,
    I love my puppies. they are my children, my girls, my brats, my siblings, my confidants..
    when I read this post, I realized that we share our time on earth with these creatures.. or is it them spending their time with us?
    Much peace, Kai.

  3. I have a friend who considers his family dog his brother, too. Although I have had dogs and cats growing up and in adulthood, I have never considered them "family". That is probably why I am no longer an animal person. I feel a little sad about that in reading your post.

  4. I don't have a dog now.. but we have had our share over the years.

    This story was wonderful to read dear Sheila.. thankyou, you are a terrific story teller xo

  5. Sheila, I loved the story of your various dogs. I smiled & cried!
    We have not had so many, but they all take a piece of our hearts when they go, even if it is off to new homes.

  6. What a face! At our house it's a daughter and she is loved.
    Cute post!

  7. We too always had furbabies, in the past. I still miss my Lucy, but DH is adamant - no more dogs!

  8. Oh Sheila,

    What a great post. I hadn't thought of my dogs as brothers or sisters, but certainly pets of the cuddly sort have always been important in our family. Nice to hear your reminiscences.

  9. I had to laugh about your mother's statement that you had a new "brother".
    When I was a child my parents had two unsuccessful tries at keeping a dog. One growled at little me constantly, and was given away, I don't know who to, and the other one became obsessed with retrieving sticks that holidaymakers would throw for him on the beach, and would never come home. He was given to a local farmer and became an excellent sheepdog.

  10. Jesse is adorable!

    What would we do without out pets. Mine are such a comfort and joy to me.

    Loved your story, Sheila.


  11. Oh Sheila...how wonderful this was to read. You know how much we love our pets and theey truly are our family! My family always called ourselves *sis* or brother* or Mom, etc to the dogs/cats.
    This was so sweet to read, espcailly on the eveing the we will watch the Westminster Dog Show!



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