The first dog I remember was a beautiful Irish Setter named...you guessed it...Rusty. This photo shows Rusty with my brother, Roger, when he was just a little guy...about 57 years ago. Of course, this was before we did color photos, so you can't see Rusty's gorgeous red coat, but you can imagine the color.
Roger and Rusty
The second dog I remember was an amazing English Border Collie named Bullet. I think my dad named him that because he was so fast!
Bullet as a puppy, taken in December 1962.
There were many stories about Bullet, like the times he took Angel, our German Shepherd, out in the woods when she was a little puppy, and left her, thinking she was gone for good. Angel would come home a day or so later, tired, bedraggled, and starving, but wagging her tail. You could almost see Bullet sigh and think, "good grief, is that dog going to come back every time!?"
Angel, March 1964 By this time, she was too big for Bullet to lose!
Bullet also learned to climb out of the fence - not jump it - but climb, putting his back against the corner fence post and shinnying up the fence, putting his feet in the links of the fence. We all worried that he would get his collar caught on the fence, but he never did.
We started having trouble with Bullet chasing cars, so my dad took him to a local farmer, thinking it would give him more space to run. Bullet came home twice before he finally got the idea that he was to stay at the farm. A short time later, the farmer called us and asked us to come watch Bullet at the end of the day. He was herding the chickens - the only animals the farmer had! The chickens didn't really want to be herded, but Bullet was determined!
After we moved to the city, we had a Cocker Spaniel we named Prissy, because she wagged her entire back end when she wagged her tail. In this photo, with my Dad, brother and several cousins at the lake, I am holding Prissy. My pet rabbit used to terrorize her, smacking her on the nose.
There were a few other dogs in my life, another Irish Setter, a pair of Dalmations, another German Shepherd...but the last one I will write about is my current dog, a Bichon Frise named Sweetie. When we first got her, we debated about a name for a while. We took her camping with us the day after we got her and a campground neighbor said we should name her "Sweet Spirit" because she was such a sweet dog. The name sounded like a fit, and Sweet Spirit she became. That is, until we arrived home and showed her to our second oldest grandson, Eric. He was 3 years old at the time, and he immediately called her "Sweetie Dog". That is the name she still has...our Sweetie Dog travels with us everywhere she can. Here she is on our boat, enjoying the sunshine! She is a great traveler and a wonderful companion.
Sweetie checking for Gators in South Carolina!
So there you have it - 5 dogs in my life. Rusty, Bullet, Angel, Prissy and Sweetie Dog. They were all precious in their own way, and all memorable. Bullet, however, sparks the strongest memories...he was an amazing dog!