Post 615: ghost dogs

A family without pets is a sad family. A family with pets eventually learns sadness. That’s the way it is.

Two little dogs joined my family when it was just my mother, father, and Marijean. I don’t think anyone else in the family knew these dogs except by their rare photos and sad, short stories.

Jock MacTavish and Marijean

Jock MacTavish and Marijean.

Jock was a Scottish terrier, as you can see, a breed popular in the 1930s when Franklin Roosevelt famously had Fala. My mother, always proud of her 100% Scottish heritage — she was the only child of two Scottish immigrants — gravitated naturally toward this breed, and she talked my father into getting one. It probably was their major expense of the year.

Jock was like all terriers. High energy, playful, needed lots and lots of play time. His favorite thing was to play in the snow, something he did one day till he had a total collapse, and died.


Topsy and Marijean

Topsy and Marijean.

I think this is the sweetest photo of my sister! The little guy is Topsy, I think. I wasn’t coming around for at least eight more years, so this is just another ghost dog to me. I’m not sure I got  its name right.


Topsy in Gram’s living room, all dressed up.

Topsy also lived a short life. As I understand it, he (or she?) died of distemper. There would be no more pets till my grandmother got Laddie in 1948.


Technically, Laddie wasn’t “our” dog, but Gram had no problem sharing him with us, as if any dog could be kept away from four young children!

Laddie didn't have to protect me from my brother and sister. At least that's their story and they stick by it!

Laddie didn’t have to protect me from my brother and sister. At least that’s their story and they stick by it!

Laddie took it on himself to be my personal body guard,  letting no one get close to me except family until given the permission to let them by. Laddie used to eat at Gram’s, run up to our house and spend part of the day in hopes of someone spilling milk or dropping him a tasty treat off the table. He was a good boy, and he lived to old age.



14 thoughts on “Post 615: ghost dogs

  1. I’ve always had pets since I looked like the baby in the carriage – that is until I moved here to this condo and discovered they don’t allow them. It’s a hole a person can’t fill.

    • Being able to have a pet was one of the factors that sold me on where I live. The pet deposit of $100 is ridiculously low (I’ve seen what cats can do…!), and I don’t mind forking over even more at some point. The joy of having critters around outweighs the vicissitudes, including stepping in poop or hairballs in the dark! There have been times I thought I’d like to live elsewhere (when I had minor disputes about parking, etc.), but I’d never move if it meant giving up my cats or, if I moved after they join the ghosts, never being able to have more.

  2. And again – this reminds me of our dogs. The boxer dog that sat beside my buggy died of lung cancer. I was too young to remember that. And the mongrels my family had died under cars. My father brought back a German shepherd from school where he tried to get a job-education – it stayed with us for 3 years. After that no more dogs in our family.

    • There was one more dog – Peanuts – but he was more just my dog. The rest of my siblings were married or out of school by the time Peanuts came along. He was named after his mother, who was short-legged and brown (a peanut-looking dog!). Peanuts was long-legged, had beautiful long silky black hair and a beautiful white chest. He was a fun and funny dog, and had exactly one white hair on the end of his tail. Ha! I don’t have more than two photos of him. For some reason I didn’t take many. Doing this post made me feel a bit sad and sentimental. Time marches on.

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