Growing up with Dogs

We always had dogs as pets when I was growing up. On the cover of the Springfield Republican paper one Sunday morning was a photo of a litter of puppies at the animal shelter in Springfield.


My father got my brothers and me in the car and we went and picked out a dog. We named this one Skunky; the mutt we had before was called Yogi, probably named for Yogi Berra, by my brothers.

Here’s Skunky as a puppy with my brother and me holding Fido.


Skunky was a big, fat mutt, as you can see.


Very lovable. Not very energetic. As a child, I remember Skunky as just “being there”, wagging her tail, soaking up all the attention and affection we gave her.


I don’t remember how she passed; that’s kind of weird to me as I am sure I was grief-stricken for losing her. I do remember my best fiend, Sue Cipriani, had the same kind of dog, a mutt, named Dutchess, and she was killed by a car on Westfield Street. We were heart-broken.

bathroom w pets

During the time my father owned the bar, he bought a black, male toy poodle and he named him Clancy.  How he came to choose a poodle, I do not know. As you probably know by now, there wasn’t a lot of discussion about matters between my parents and there  was  no “family discussion”.


By the way, here’s my favorite dog cartoon from The New Yorker:


I remember Clancy having a lot of energy and his favorite toy was a stuffed sock. Clancy had epilepsy, probably due to close in breeding and died one day after being hit by a car. That was back in the day when you just let your dog roam.

Joe bought another poodle–a gray female that he named Candy. Candy was very attached to Mare. Mare would take Candy with her in the car and Candy just loved that.She was sweet and very smart. I was in high school at the time when Joe got her and I left home shortly after I graduated high school. Even though I loved Candy, I wasn’t that attached to her.

Joe had Candy mated with a stud dog so that she would have a litter. He was so nervous and concerned about Candy and he kept telling my mother what to do when the time came for the delivery. Joe was working that evening, the 3p.m. to 11p.m. shift, and Mare was at home. Candy jumped into Mare’s wicker laundry basket and delivered 3 healthy puppies. Joe was very happy. He gave one puppy to his mother and brother who lived across the street and the 2 other puppies were sold.

The thing about dogs is that they just make life better. Liz Taylor knew that.


One time, after I had already left home, I took Candy to the veterinarian’s office for a check up. She had an ear infection, as many small dogs often get. As the Doctor was cleaning out her ear with a piece of gauze, she whimpered, and I saw the yucky output on the gauze pad.  I could feel myself getting woozy and I fell right down as I fainted. The next thing you know, I was stretched out, laying down on the Doctor’s sofa in his living room, in his attached house.


Candy eventually was put down and it was Mare who took her to the veterinarian’s office. Mare always got stuck doing the hard jobs.

animal hospital.jpg

Mare once told me that Joe had hunting beagles that he kept in the back yard in an enclosed area. She claimed Joe did not take care of them properly. One day she decided to get rid of the dogs and gave them up at the animal shelter. I am sure Joe had a fit.

Lesson learned~ A home is not a home without a dog.

Coming up: Interview with Freddy