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Although I don't have any kids (I'm divorced), I have always had a very soft spot for "hard luck" animals. I currently have one cat, Sammie, and two dogs Jodi and Charlie. I also have about a dozen fresh water tropical fish in a 55 gallon acrylic aquarium that include some clown loaches (my favorites), several kinds of barbs and several gouramis. I don't get attached to the fish like I do my cat and dogs, but I do enjoy their beauty and behavior nonetheless.

Besides the four legged critters in my family, I have one younger brother who is married and lives with his wife and two kids in Kent. My mom and stepdad live in Bellevue. It's nice that we all live in the same general area so that we can get together on the holidays.

(Note: You can click on any of the images below to see a larger version.)

Sammie has been in my life since 1987. She is a Russian Blue. She is 9 years old and is the sweetest cat in the world. She gets along with my two dogs really well. Unlike most cats, she is pretty friendly to some strangers but is always wary of strange dogs and other cats.

She came from the Seattle Animal Shelter along with six week-old kittens in 1987. They found her and the kittens in an alley. After the kittens grew up, they were given away to friends and family.

Jodi is another long time friend of mine that came to live with me back in 1988. Like Sammie, Jodi was a cast-off pet biding time at the Humane Society. She was living on a ranch and kept killing chickens, so her former owners put her up for adoption. She was just about a year old when I got her which makes her 9 years old. She has always been a very healthy dog and has never been sick at all (knock on wood). Even at her "ripe old age" for such a large dog, she is as active and playful as a puppy.

I think in a former life she used to pull sleds in Alaska as she is about the strongest dog I've ever know. She loves to run and run and run.... She is extremely friendly, but with her looks and size, she can be a bit scary when you first see her. Jodi is particularly fond of Sammie (as you can tell from the picture). She is very attached to people, yet loves to make new dog friends as well. Jodi is very affectionate and sensitive. In her former home, I think she was abused as even today, she cringes and runs away when anyone around her yells or makes any loud noises.

Jodi is a beautiful dog with her Husky-like looks and ice-blue eyes. She is pretty smart and as I mentioned also very strong. She is very lithe and agile and can be amazingly graceful, but she is about the clumsiest dog there is when it comes to catching things!

Charlie has lived with me only about a year, but I really love this guy. He is Mr. Personality and loves every person he meets. A friend of mine wanted to give Charlie away as he was my friend's ex-husband's dog. She did like Charlie, but he just kept reminding her of her ex, and she wanted to forget him, so she wanted to get rid of poor Charlie.

I could not believe she was going to give him up to the Humane Society, so I offered to give him a home. At that time, Jodi had been an only dog for about a year for the first time in her life, so she certainly enjoyed having a new friend. She and Charlie hit if off right away and are real buddies.

Charlie is about 10 years old and has mild arthritis in his hips. He can't begin to keep up with Jodi, but he does OK for his age. He still loves to swim (it's bred into him), but he does limp for a day or two after a swim due to his arthritis.

Dogs gone but never forgotten...

One of the downsides to having pets is having to let them go when their time is up. It is very sad, especially when they have been in your life a long time and you dearly love them. I had the very sad experience a couple of years ago of losing two dogs I loved over a span of just 5 months. Both had lived very long and happy lives and both of them had gotten a "second chance" at life as I adopted both of them from the Humane Society. Nonetheless, it was a very sad time for me.

Sheba was a Great Dane-Shepherd mix that I adopted when she was a four month old puppy (a BIG puppy) back in 1981 from the Bellevue Humane Society. This picture of her was taken in my back yard as she spied on my neighbor's dog though a knothole in the fence.

She was a great dog - she was so big (90 pounds!) and very intimidating, but a total frady-cat that got scared by her own shadow! Sheba was quite the lap dog too - as much as any big, 90 pound dog could be a lap dog.

Sheba developed kidney failure near the end and slowly lost weight and also became somewhat crippled with bad arthritis in her hips. I finally had to have her euthanasied two days before Christmas in 1993. Needless to say, it made for a miserable holiday. But like I said, she lived a long and happy life. Most dogs her size live only about 8 years and she lived to nearly 13.

I still think of her often.

Monty was a Rotweiller/Shepherd mix who also came from the Humane Society. His previous owners were moving out of state and could not take him along for some reason. They obviously loved him very much as he had lived with them for ten years. When people put up dogs for adoption at the Humane Society they fill in a form with some basic information on the dog. There is a space to list any problems the dog has. On Monty's papers, his former owners said "Monty is the perfect dog". I would have to agree with that.

Monty was at the Humane Society for over six months with no hope for adoption - everyone wants cute puppies, not ten year old full grown dogs. Fortunately the Humane Society has no fixed time period on dogs before they euthanized them. They only do that when a dog is very ill or they run out of space. When they do run out of space, the old and not-very-adoptable dogs go first. Monty was at the top of the list when they put him in my local paper in a "Pet Of The Week" ad. Since I have volunteered there a few times, I know that these ads are for the dogs on "Death Row". His story was so compelling, I drove over the next day and brought him home.

The only thing he could have been better at was getting along with other dogs. He would just as soon rip another dog's face off as look at them. He really loved people though. It took him several months to really get along even half way decent with Jodi and Sheba.

Monty loved to fetch anything you could throw, but he especially liked frisbees. He was no champion jumper as he was a very stocky and hefty 65 pound dog. But he could catch frisbees pretty well and even lost a couple of his small front teeth over the years from trying just a little too hard.

After I adopted him, Monty lived for another 7 years to the amazing age of 17 before I had to have him put down in 1994 due to very poor health. He lived a long and happy life. You might even say he lived two lives after getting a second chance at the ripe old age of 10!

Buffy was about two years old when I adopted her in 1980 from the Humane Society. She was a really beautiful and intelligent dog. Shortly after I got her, she came into heat and got pregnant which was not at all planned! She had six very cute puppies of which I kept one. The other five were given to friends and neighbors. Sadly the one pup I kept, Bernie, got hit by a car when he was about a year old and was seriously injured. He seemed to recover after a few weeks, but his aorta had apparently been torn in the accident. One day he suddenly yelped and died very suddenly when it ruptured. Buffy lived to be about 13 before she developed a large tumor on her liver. By the time I discovered the problem, it was too far gone for surgery and I had to have her euthanized.

By the way, as you can see from the photo, Buffy also got along well with cats! That fellow in the picture with her is Mickey, one of the six kittens that Sammie had many years ago.

Last updated: November 03, 1996