Things my Parents Taught Me.... and I'm Very Thankful They Did
Nov. 13, 2010 6:52 am
Updated: Nov. 14, 2010 4:32 am
Things my parents taught me....... They taught me many things. Things like proper table manners, to say "Please", "Thank You", "Excuse Me".... to respect my elders, have a good work ethic, honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, the Golden Rule..... I could
go on and on. But, I think the things they taught me best, and what really matters is Compassion and Responsibility.
How did they teach those to me? Through having pets and learning to take care of them. When I was a kid we had a whole menagerie of pets. The only pet I wanted and didn't get was a snake, so I was content to go out in the backyard and catch the snakes there
and play with them. I'll never forget my 6th Birthday present - a Siamese cat. I named her Samantha and we called her 'Mammy Cat' for 14 years. It was my complete responsibility to feed her and take care of her. I have never been without a cat since that
time. I have also always had at least one dog. Dogs are my favorite animals. They are a major part of our lives and families.
When I was born, there was already a cocker spaniel living at my home. Topper he was called and he lived for 13 years. Topper really wasn't a very kid-friendly dog, but I still made him "play" games with me and he grudgingly complied with my wishes. Next
was Rebel, a Keeshonden; then Thor and Duke, mutts but loved all the same. Then Butch, a beautiful Springer Spaniel.
At that point I got married and my husband and I got our first family dog - a Golden Retriever, Goldilocks Belle aka Goldie. She was our first "child" and we had her for 13-1/2 too short years. Then came Royal Princess Buffy aka Buffy another Golden. She
only made it 12 years. We also had Daisy - a mutt we rescued and had planned to merely fatten up and find her a good home. Twelve years later she was still a part of our family - having found her good home with us.
Once my youngest sister moved from home my parents got a black lab. They named him Dakota Chief RoJo, and he became a Champion of the show ring rather quickly. His name came from my dad having grown up in South Dakota and the RoJo part comes from my parents'
names (Robert & Joanne). Once Chief became a champion they began a stud service with him. I loved telling my friends and co-workers that my dad was a Pimp for Labs. After Chief had sired several litters my family decided it was time to add a puppy to our
camp. A litter of labs was born on January 6, 1999, that had chocolate females - just what we wanted. We picked out a beautiful chocolate female and named her RoJo's Klassy Chocolate Artemis aka "Missy". Artemis is the Greek Goddess of hunting and she
was going to be trained for hunting. My parents picked out a chocolate male from the bunch (Prince) and our two chocolate babies grew up together. We have since added Suzy to our family - though she is no relation to the RoJo Labs, she is still a fantastic
dog and we love her dearly.
Another litter of puppies was born 6 weeks later that Chief had sired and my mom fell in love with a yellow lab. So, my dad bought that yellow lab for her. He became known as RoJo's Dakota Hi-Plains King. King soon became such a gentle, loving dog that my
parents decided to take Prince and King and have them complete the requirements to become therapy dogs. They passed with flying colors and my parents have spent the past 10 years visiting nursing homes and hospitals with their dogs. The residents of the
nursing homes may not remember my parents' names but they are always looking forward to the weekly visits from Prince and King.
Ten days ago, King became ill. He was lethargic and quit eating. His tail wasn't wagging the same wag where his entire back side would wiggle to and fro. His eyes and face were no longer "smiling". My parents took him to the vet where they did bloodwork
and determined that he had some sort of blood disease. He had apparently had it for some time, but didn't let anyone see him suffering in any way; my parents had no idea. He was too ill for medication to do any good; the vet told them it was less than a
50% chance she could pull him out of it and if she did he would have to take medications forever that were quite expensive. With a heavy heart my parents had him put down. They are still grieving the loss of their King and it will be some time before they
can talk of him without tears. They still have Prince, and another black lab (Dream), but there is an empty spot next to my mother's chair where King would sit with his head in her lap while she watched TV.
Since I didn't really mean for this to be such a sad entry - I'm going to finish up with a story that has a good ending. About two weeks ago at work a chocolate lab turned up at the front of the school. I went out to see it, since I love dogs so much, and
I was shocked - this dog looked exactly like my parents' dog, Prince! So much so, I called out his name. The dog ignored me until I whistled. Then he came trotting up to me; Yup! Same smiling eyes as Prince, he was definitely Prince's twin. It was amazing
how much he looked and acted like Prince, and really my Missy, too. Our school's D.A.R.E. officer was there and he said the owner was on her way to pick up the dog and it's name was Tom. She had called the police station and reported her dog missing the
evening prior. I volunteered to stay on the school porch with Tom until his owner got there. To keep Tom with me, I shared a poptart with him. Soon a car pulled up and a woman got out. Another shocker - I had gone to school with this woman (Cathy). She
said Tom was really her sister's dog, but since she was at work, Cathy had agreed to come get him for her. I told her how much Tom resembled my parent's dog, Prince. She turned to me and said "Well, he ought to resemble him, your dad's dog was the father
to Tom!" I called my dad to tell him the story and he checked his records - Tom's father was Chief, so Prince and Tom are half-brothers. How about that for a coincidence??!!