An Unplanned Family Addition
Dottie came into our life in September of 1997. We did not buy her from a breeder, adopt her from a shelter, or pick her out online.
One day she was simply looking in our window, then waiting by our door. She wagged her tail, was super friendly, and did her best to look cute. My youngest son, Cason, and I, thought she was adorable. My husband thought she was the homeliest dog he had ever seen. Our oldest son, Jeremy, agreed with my husband. Not living at home anymore, he did not have a vote. Our middle son, Jody, was in college, also did not get a vote. He would have been with the "Keep her vote", though. Our lab, Ruby, sided with the adorable crew, as did our cats. That made the vote five to one, on the side of keeping her.
The next day, Cason and I walked up and down our country road. We asked neighbors if they had lost a puppy. No one had, but everyone had stories of animals being dumped off occasionally on our road.
My husband came home from work that day to find a brown spotted puppy in the kitchen. She already had a pink collar on, was eating from a new bowl, and had been tentatively named "Dottie".
Dottie with Bone
"Dottie" it is....
We did all agree that "Dottie" was the perfect name for our newest family member. She was a medium brown color, with dark brown spots. I had never seen a dog that looked just like her. The vet said that she was about 4 1/2 months, so that would have made her birthday late April, to early May. I decided on April 25.
One day, I took some family pictures to work. A nursing assistant that I worked with was captivated by a picture of Dottie. "Where did you get the Catahoula?" she said. "What is a Catahoula?" I replied.
I went home that day, and looked up everything I could about Catahoulas. Proudly, I told all our family members, that Dottie was not a "mutt". She was a "Catahoula". From that day, she was always listed on her records as a "Catahoula mix."
Catahoula's Do Not All Look Alike
Catahoula Leopard dogs are the state dog of Louisiana. They do not all look allike. They carry the merle gene, which gives them splashes of colors. They can be white with black and grey spots, tan and brown, brown on brown, and many other variables. They can have either blue or brown eyes.
Their height is from 20 to 26 inches, and weight from 40 to 90 pounds.
They are often mixed with Australian shepherd dogs or bull dogs.
I believe Dottie was mixed with Australian shepherd. She had a coarse coat, which became more pronounced as she aged.
Catahoula Puppy Video
Loving AttentionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Everyone a Friend
Dottie's friendly personality soon won over everyone she met. It wasn't long before my husband, Mike, admitted that he did not think she was homely anymore. He loved being greeted at the door by Dottie, sock or toy, always in her mouth.
Our lab, Ruby, loved to swim. At the time, we lived in North Georgia, and had a lake cove behind our house. Dottie preferred wading, but could actually swim well. Mike would carry her out in the lake, then let her swim to shore. Dottie loved finding sticks to carry. Ruby preferred rocks.
Ruby and Dottie became fast friends. When Mike, and our sons, would play basketball at the side of our house, Ruby would try to get the basketball. Dottie would run around the pavement chasing butterfly shadows.
Loving Country LifeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Through the Years
Dottie loved to ride in the car, go camping, and just be part of our family. During her lifetime, she went on at least 100 camping trips. She traveled mostly throughout the southeast, but also took a few trips to Minnesota.
In 2004, we moved from North Georgia to South Georgia. Ruby passed away soon after. In 2008, we got our Border Collie, "Belle". Dottie and Belle became the new pair.
Dottie was with us as new life, and four grandchildren came into our family.
Over the years, her brown face turned to white. She lost most of her hearing ability, her vision became poor.
I guess she carried around too many dirty socks in her mouth, too. . She had teeth pulled on three different occasions. Eventually, she lost all her teeth. She didn't know it though, and still ate dry dog food, and sucked on dog chews.
Age didn't change the love she had for her family, her love of taking walks, and just being with us.
Pictures Through the YearsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Dottie's love is now a memory that will forever remain in my heart. She had what appeared to be a stroke while we were on a camping trip. She passed away a week later on June 12, 2013. She was sixteen years old. That was one of the saddest days of my life.
Everyone tells me what a "great life" she had. I realize 16 years in people years, is equal to about 112 in dog years. That doesn't make it easier, though. When our 5th grandchild is born this fall, that child will not get to know Dottie.
Except through my pictures, and stories. They will continue forever.
Looking at pictures, Mike now says... "She was an absolutely, BEAUTIFUL dog.