Leader Of The Pack: My Life With Dogs

Me and Tippy
(Digital Images. Original Photographs and Text, Copyright (c) 2012 Cynthia Shenette)What is it about dogs that appeals to us?  They shed, they barf, they eat disgusting things..and don't even get me started about the inappropriate sniffing.

I love my dog.  And yes, she's MY dog.

"Do you know what YOUR dog did?" my husband always asks.  YOUR dog.

"How come she's always MY dog when she's done something wrong?"

"She's always YOUR dog," is the usual response.

Just because there's an empty tuna can and a shoe in my bed does not automatically mean we need to blame the dog.  Hey, it could have been a cat.  My husband is always a little too eager to blame MY dog.  He's a cat person.  You know how they are.

I love my dog, but I will be the first to admit she's not going to win any intelligence contests.  Let's just say if it was up to her to save the day, little Timmy wouldn't be getting out of that well any time soon.  And while she did manage to receive her Basic Obedience Diploma my husband is convinced it was a classic case of grade inflation. What she might lack in brains she does make up for in beauty.  You know how they say some people resemble their dogs?  I should be so lucky.  If I did I'd be tall, thin, and blond.

As far as she is concerned I am clearly the leader of the pack.  My husband's theory is that it's because I picked her up from the dog rescue transport and brought her home.  I SAVED her.  I'm convinced it's because she hears me issuing the same series of commands to my husband and son. No!  Off!  Sit!  Down!  Out!  Eat!  Car!  Clearly, I am in charge.

So when did my love affair with dogs begin?

I was four when I got my first dog, Tippy.   She was a mutt, half beagle and half standard poodle.  Of course this was back in the day when we still called them mutts. Now we have "designer dogs" (which are essentially the same thing but with a higher price tag).  I remember my mom put a big cardboard box on the floor in the back seat of our station wagon for the puppy, and then she and my dad and I drove to some mysterious, pre-determined location to pick out our dog.

I don't remember the puppy place specifically, it's more of a vague recollection.  I do remember the puppies though!  Oh, my goodness, they were cute!  There was a litter of tortoise-shell-colored, beagley-looking puppies!  Puppies were everywhere, jumping and wagging their stubby little tails!  I remember sitting on the floor with puppies in my lap and puppies all around me begging for attention.  I played with them until my parents decided which puppy was to come home with us.  I wanted them all!

Tippy was a wonderful dog.  Brilliant really.  Thankfully, she inherited the poodle brain (Sorry beagle people, but you know what I'm talking about...) For eleven years Tippy was my best friend.  We did everything together.  I didn't need a leash--she stayed right by my side.  We had a give and take relationship.  I played ball with her, and she let me dress her up in sunglasses and a hat.  I was the leader of her pack.  Even with living in the city my mom always said she never worried about my being outside alone if Tippy was with me.  She knew that dog would never let anything happen to me.  When someone smashed a window and tried to break into our house once they never made it past the outside back door.  Or when I had a bad day or was picked on by some mean bully at school I knew I could talk to her about it even if I couldn't tell my mom or my dad.

Sometimes I think the world would be a better place if people were more like dogs.  Dogs don't care what you look like.  They don't care what color you are or what religion you are.  They don't care if you can't walk or can't see.  If you feed them and love them and throw them a ball once in a while you've got a friend for life.  I still miss Tippy.  Even after all of these years she still has a special place in my heart.

My Girl, Fall 2007
Well, here's my girl!  She's an honest to goodness butt-sniffing, poop-eating, chipmunk-chasing dog.  But given the frantic reception I get every time I walk through the front door I know there is no one at that particular moment in time who loves me more than MY dog.  She might not exactly be Lassie, but hey, I'm not exactly Heidi Klum either.

Now, it's time for a walk.  Come here, girl!

Other Posts You Might Like:

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Flash Back! The Life and Times of Francois Chenet (Greatly Abridged)

Sightseeing Around Civil War Richmond, Virginia

Lincoln Statue at the
Richmond National Battlefield Park Visitor Center 

(Digital Images; Photographs and Text, Copyright (c) 2012 Cynthia Shenette)

Last year and earlier this year my husband spent some time working in Richmond, Virginia. My son and I took several trips to Richmond while my husband was there.  We all loved Richmond!  There was lots to see and do! While my son loved the Science Museum of Virginia I was interested in the area because of my Civil War ancestors.

My great-grandfather, Francois Chenette (1813-1886), was a Civil War soldier.  He and his son, also named Francois (1845-1864) both enlisted in the Union Army in Woodstock, Vermont on 10 Dec 1963 and mustered in on 16 Dec 1863.  Francois Sr. was 50 years old at the time and his son Francois was 18.  I found it interesting that Francois Sr. gave his age as 44 at the time of enlistment!  Both father and son served in the 11th Vermont Infantry, Company K.  Francois Sr. was wounded at the Battle of Cold Harbor.  Sadly young Francois died of disease in Strasburg, Virginia on 03 Nov 1864 and was buried at Bragg's Farm.  Francois Jr.'s body was later moved to the Winchester National Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia where my family and I visited his grave several years ago on our drive home from Charleston, South Carolina.  Francois Sr. transferred to Company A on 24 Jun 1865, and he mustered out on 29 Jun 1865.

American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar

Not surprisingly one of the items on my agenda was to visit the Cold Harbor Battlefield. While my husband was at work my son and I stopped at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and the visitor center for the Richmond National Battlefield Park at the Tredegar Iron Works which was only a short distance from our hotel in downtown Richmond.

Richmond National Battlefield Park Visitor Center

The iron works was quiet on the day we visited.  If you look at the sky in my photos you can see the storm clouds in the background that preceded Hurricane Irene which hit Virginia while we were in Richmond.  My then eight-year-old son was initially less than excited about the iron works, but one of the park rangers did an amazing job at keeping him entertained with a scavenger hunt activity while I looked around the visitor center.  We also discovered the gift shop sold a set of Civil War silly bandz (Remember those?) which included a silly band of Abraham Lincoln's profile, so thankfully the day wasn't a total write off at least as far as my son was concerned.

Richmond National Battlefield Park Visitor Center

The Tredegar Iron Works was the largest iron works in the south during the Civil War and survived the burning of Richmond relatively unscathed.  You can see a great vintage photo here.

Cold Harbor Battlefield

I'd wanted to visit the Cold Harbor Battlefield for quite some time. Unfortunately when we did finally visit the battlefield was closed due to damage from the hurricane which knocked trees down all around the area. While we were not able to drive through on the driving tour because of downed trees, we did take some time to walk around on the grounds near the small visitor's center.  I was a bit disappointed (My son was not...) that we were not able to do the driving tour.  It was interesting none-the-less to see the area where my great-grandfather fought and was wounded on 01 Jun 1864.

Cold Harbor Battlefield

The fields were lovely and serene the day we visited with a bright blue sky, the literal calm after the storm, and while the visit to Cold Harbor probably wasn't high on my son's "things to do list" he does know that his ancestors fought in the war.  It really is amazing to think that he is only four generations removed from a Civil War ancestor!  The battlefield visit might not have been the most exciting way for him to spend a day in Richmond, but I sure bet he'll have something to talk about when his class finally does get around to learning about the Civil War in school!

Cold Harbor Battlefield

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Tombstone Tuesday: Francois Chenette, Civil War Soldier
Flash Back! The Life and Times of Francois Chenet (Greatly Abridged)
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Grandma, Two Kittens, and One Little Boy - Wordless Wednesday

(Digital Image; Photograph and Text Copyright (c) 2012 Cynthia Shenette) I love this photograph of my grandmother, Antonina (Bulak) Szerejko.  It's the only candid photo I have of her as a child.  I don't know exactly how old she is in the photo, but my guess is about 11 or 12 which means the photograph was probably taken about 1907 or 1908.  I have no idea who the little boy is.  A cousin or neighbor perhaps?

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Green Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, and
Cherry Tomatoes
(Digital Images; Text and Photographs, Copyright (c) 2012 Cynthia Shenette) I was hoping to blog more over the summer, but as you can see I've been a bit busy. Right now I'm up to my eyeballs in peppers and cherry tomatoes!  Thank goodness the zucchini and cucumbers are done.  I love fresh veggies, but why do they all have to come at once?  We are eating cherry tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

This past weekend I spent two days canning with my mother-in-law (whose in her eighth decade I might add), and she helped me can pepper relish and make pickled jalapenos and jalapeno jam.  She also made enough stuffed peppers to fill an entire turkey roaster pan!  I honestly don't know what I would have done without her.  I still have lots of peppers coming, so if you have any good recipes that use peppers (or cherry tomatoes) I'd love to hear from you!


My Veggie and Annual Garden

Glads, Zinnias, and Dahlias

My Veggie and Annual Garden, Again

More Zinnias!

Cherry Tomatoes, Nasturtiums, and the
Last Zucchini (Thank Goodness!)  

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