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The Dogs of My Life

Updated on August 17, 2014

Part of the Pack

A life without dogs is not worth living. Just my opinion, of course. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of years in which there wasn't a dog in my life.

I was lucky to be born into a home that already had a dog. (That's me with my mom and that dog, Maggie, in the picture.) My parents didn't like the idea of life without a dog, either, so there was always a dog at home. There were a couple of years when I was on my own in an apartment, but as soon as I'd met the love of my life and moved into a house, we went out and adopted a dog.

Here's the story of those dogs, and a few other dogs I've known and loved.

All photographs are the property of bossypants. Please do not copy without permission!

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Maggie

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Maggie was some sort of Spaniel-Terrier mix, according to my parents. I don't remember how old she was when I was born. I'm an only child and when I was little my parents referred to Maggie as my "big sister." This is clearly the source of my tendency to anthropomorphize animal behavior.

Maggie was amazingly tolerant and patient, as any good family dog should be. I remember sleeping with my head on her soft rear end, on the back seat of the car, on the way home from dinner at my grandparents' house.

In fact, a lot of my memories of Maggie involved the car. Our family vacations were modest, usually driving to a neighboring state. Maggie always came with and shared the big backseat of the Oldsmobile with me.

Although always my companion, Maggie was clearly my parents' dog. She slept on their bed and was completely their responsibility.

When Maggie had to be put down after a stroke, I did not take it well. My parents thought it best I didn't see her, so I didn't get a chance to say good bye. I told my father if he didn't come home with Maggie, I'd never speak to him again. Of course I couldn't keep that promise and eventually all was forgiven. It never gets easier to lose a pet, but our time together is more than worth the sadness at the end.

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The back of this photo says "Kodacolor Print" and shows the date 1952. Old color didn't hold up so well, did it? By the way, this picture was taken before I was even a twinkle in my father's eye.

Those are my parents, with Maggie. The other guy in the photo is my uncle, holding his puppy, Jennie, another dog I grew up with. Jennie was a Collie Shepherd mix.

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Here's another one of those fine Kodacolor prints. This is my mom with Maggie.

Abigail

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Back in the days when my parents were looking for dogs, it wasn't uncommon for people to pick an ad from the classifieds and go to a nearby backyard breeder to choose a pup. My dad made the initial visit but knew better than to choose the puppy himself. My mom and I went along and my mother selected the blond Cocker Spaniel puppy and named her Abigail.

Poor Abby could have been the poster child -- er, pup -- for why one shouldn't choose a dog in this way. She had so many problems -- an underbite, ear problems, eye problems, incontinence -- and she wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, either. But, Abby had a very sweet nature.

My folks also weren't big on having Abby groomed, so she often looked like a ragamuffin. When the fur on her feet was at it's longest, she looked like she was wearing enormous fluffy bedroom slippers.

Abby had what my mother referred to as a "piddle problem." We learned early on that certain guests (my Great Aunt was one) so excited Abby that she'd wet the floor. So, we'd let her outdoors to greet new arrivals. Incredibly, Abby never wandered out of the yard, despite there being no fence. All my parents' dogs seemed to understand the homestead boundaries and had no interest in leaving the patch of lawn that fronted the house.

Abby was never a very active dog and could sleep like the dead. In fact, my dad nicknamed her crash, because she could be walking along and suddenly flop down on the floor and would soon be asleep. On reflection, I suspect she may have had a sort of narcolepsy or other sleeping disorder.

Despite her many health problems, Abby lived a long life. I had just come home from college and was talking to my mom when she said, "I can't believe you haven't noticed." Abby rarely greeted me at the door, often stirring from her deep sleep sometime after I'd been home to come over and sniff me. So, the fact that I had missed the fact that Abby was gone was really not so remarkable. My parents had had to have Abby put down while I was away at school.

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Becky

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Becky was a beautiful black and white Springer Spaniel my parents purchased. I was away at college at the time and Mom and Dad showed up one day and smuggled her into the dorm. My dad often remarked, after that, how smart she was because she'd been to college.

Although all my parents' dogs were spayed and didn't have pedigree papers, my parents always referred to Becky as though she did -- saying her "real" name was "Lady Rebecca of Wimbledon." I don't recall them giving Abby or Maggie fancy names, but perhaps they had.

Although selected for purchase in the same way as Abby had been, my parents got lucky with Rebecca. She was a healthy, happy, active dog who lived a long life. I was on my own, with my own dog by the time Becky had to be put down. It was especially hard on my mother, who seemed to adore Becky most of all their dogs.

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Talk about tolerant! There wasn't anything Becky wouldn't endure in what we assumed was good humor. We'd dress her up in t-shirts, hats, scarves and glasses and she would sit for what most pets would think of as humiliating photographs.

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Becky in her later years, and having a bad hair day to boot.

Dusty

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When the man who is now my husband and I rented a house together, we decided we needed to have a dog to keep us company. Off to a nearby humane society we went.

I was looking at a Great Dane. I looked down the row of kennels and saw my sweetie gazing at a Samoyed. It was clearly love at first sight. (We lived in an 1100 square foot ranch house -- not sure what I was thinking looking at a Great Dane, anyhow!)

She was named "Stardust" and had been given up by her owners at 7 years of age. All I could think of was, whatever the reason, it must have broken their hearts. After we completed the paperwork, Dusty eagerly got into the car with us and came home.

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Dusty looks a bit wet in this photo, so I'm guessing this was an "after bath" shot. Dusty got bathed more than she would have liked but when you make a habit of catching skunks, that's bound to happen. She even brought a baby skunk into the house once. Great white hunter.

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The book Sniglets taught us that this attitude of the head is called a "twinch." Samoyeds are expert twinchers.

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Yes, Dusty was our princess. But not as snooty as she looks in this photo.

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Dusty enjoyed opening her Christmas presents -- and anyone else's if they contained dog treats.

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Another Christmas portrait. Dusty started our tradition of sending cards from the dog: to the vet, the pizza delivery people -- all the important people in her life!

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There's that Sammie smile!

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Yes, she really did sleep with her leg up in the air. A good way to cool her belly, I guess.

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We got a free offer for custom baseball cards and made them up for Dusty. They even had stats on the back. Her position was fetcher. Her favorite team was the Chicago Pups and her favorite player was Andre Dawgson.

Tundra

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The day after taking Dusty to the vet for the final time, I was on the phone with our friends and with Samoyed Rescue. Within 2 weeks, we were driving to the other end of the state to look at a Sam girl who was in foster care.

The foster family was calling her "Sugar," defining it in shrill baby talk, "'cuz hers so sweet." They showed us how she would dance for a cookie. Because they had another large somewhat ill-mannered male Sam (which they owned), Sugar was penned in their breeze way. Although I think their intentions were good, we knew we had to get her out of there. The rescue had to approve us, so we couldn't pick her up until the next day.

We went to dinner and decided Sugar would henceforth be known as Tundra. When we pulled up the next morning, she was looking out the breezeway at us with an expression we chose to think of as "thank heavens you've come!"

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Tundra dearly loved rides in the car. When she developed arthritis, later in life, we were grateful for our four-door sedan so we could lift her in and out. She waited patiently for us to raise her into her carriage.

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Tundra took her squirrel duty responsibilities seriously. Here she is guarding the tree and keeping an eye on the squirrel above.

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Tundra was our chow hound. Perhaps because she had been a street dog before her adoption, she seized every offer of food. She was a good girl, though, and never took what wasn't hers.

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Tundra inspired the phrase "pack in the sack." She didn't sleep on the bed overnight, but loved a morning nap among the covers.

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Always up for a walk in the park, Tundra could be trusted off the leash -- most of the time. She may look like she's going in after the geese (off frame), but she didn't (that time).

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Tundra lived with us for 14 years after her rescue. We never knew her exact age, but we estimated she was at least 15.

Nattie

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Nattie, like her Sammie sisters before her, is a rescue. However, she was a breeder return, so we know much more about her, including her birth date and exact age and her pedigree.

Nattie has an entire web page that tells her story, so rather than post her photos here, I'll suggest you click on the link and read about The Dog Behind bossypants. In fact, there are several lenses, here on Squidoo that feature Nattie. Happy reading!

Pup Friends

Kristie - A Malamute Cousin

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Kristie was my uncle's Alaskan Malamute. This is a rare picture as she was a reluctant model. Most photos of her, when we did get her to sit, show her ears back and looking completely unhappy with the photo shoot.

Duncan - The Dapper Dresser

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"Don't laugh! You'll embarrass him," said my friend, Duncan's mom. I'm afraid that ship sailed when you dressed him, I thought.

In their defense, Duncan was an apartment dog and had a fairly long walk in Midwestern winter cold to relieve himself in the doggie-approved area. But he did make me laugh.

Henry - A Golden Boy

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Henry was the drooliest Golden Retriever I've ever met. He lived with my uncle on the Oregon coast. My uncle captioned this photo "just the right height" for Henry to rest his chin on the table.

Tell Us about the Dogs You Love - You don't need to be a Squidoo member to leave a comment

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    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 4 years ago

      Aww..I loved this lens. My parents, well actually my brother, brought a pitbull puppy home when I was 13 years old. He lived 13 years. He had to be put down but he lived a happy life. very sad day for our family. I got my Shih tzu Sasha 9 years ago and my other Shih tzu Toby in May. I agree with your parents, I can't live a life without a dog. So now I have two lol And I will continue to have one in my home until the day I die. =)

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 4 years ago

      Such a beautiful lens and animals. Woof Woof, love that sound.

      Great lens with beautiful pictures.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Jonathan

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      What a wonderful lens and tribute to all your dog friends! This brought back many happy memories of all the dogs that have touched my life. Well done! Really enjoyed your beautiful photos.

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 4 years ago from Johanesburg

      Cute pets and beautiful lens , thanks for sharing

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      aredey 4 years ago

      i love dog ,when i was a student i stay in my unty's home which has a dog names huahua

    • Tricia Deed profile image

      Tricia Deed 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Becky reminded me of our American cocker spaniel which had died 2 years ago from cancer. We have always had dogs. There is no greater friend.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! The first photos I recognized the time period because of the colors and especially Cocker Spaniels, they were so popular in the 50's

      Wow you have had a lot of dogs, and great enjoyment with them. Thanks for sharing this great lens...

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      Jacquelinecostlow 4 years ago

      I couldn't quite stifle my loud burst of laughter in a very crowded bookstore when I read the description of why Tundra had been called Sugar by her foster family. Fantastic assembly and descriptions!

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      ShelbyLinMarie 4 years ago

      I was born an animal lover according to my grandmother who continually inspired and confirmed my love for non-human animals. I have never in my life been without a fur kid (almost always more than one). This is a great post! Your pups are adorable.

    • steveffeo lm profile image

      steveffeo lm 4 years ago

      Love this lens, congrats on LOTD, Ever feel you met more good animals then people?? They have no hidden agenda

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      You've been blessed with beautiful pets. Congratulations on LotD.

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I loved reading abut the Dogs of your life. I could really tell that each one was so special. Our Bruno is a real joy. He is our 5th bulldog and we just love that breed.

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      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Sweet lens! We've nearly always had dogs too. Home seems empty without them!

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      HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

      What a great lens. I love dogs and feel very lucky to have met the fabulous furry friends I have in my life time. I enjoy just about every moment spent with them. My White Shepherd has gone over the rainbow bridge and I miss him so much ... but I am so very grateful for the many years we had together.

    • NuttSoRuff profile image

      NuttSoRuff 4 years ago

      Great lens! Although I don't have a dog right now, I did love having one. I wrote all about it in my lens...read if you're interested: http://www.squidoo.com/my-dog-stole-my-heart

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      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Coke, Jessie, Jenny, Jersey, Boo and BWD. I've loved them all. Your doglets are beautiful.

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      Stanley Green 4 years ago from Czech Republic

      So many lovable dogs! I had one but Ben was striked by car and didn't manage to survive... From all your dogs I like the most Henry, Golden Retriever.

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      RoadMonkey 4 years ago

      What beautiful dogs. We have only ever had one dog (border collie) and losing her was so hard, we never got another. They are great companions. Lovely lens.

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      Film_addict 4 years ago

      Just amazing!

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      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      What an amazing presentation here Nancy, it was so nice to view your photos filled with loving memories - really enjoyed this a lot :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've never had a dog but that doesn't stop me from appreciating a great lens when I see one. Congratulations on getting LotD!

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      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      My "dog" is a cat named Olivia Felini. She's a wonderful friend. Congratulations on receiving the LOTD for this outstanding lens. Your dogs are great and the photos are touching.

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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Congratulations to you and all the dogs in your life on Lens of the Day! What a well-deserved honor!! Woof!

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      eiramarie 4 years ago

      Our family loves dog since I've got consciousness in this world, and they are many to mention , but my most favorite "Puchi", ever loving & caring dog, don't like noises while she's sleeping, she will make a deep breath and a sigh as if saying "your too noisy! someone sleeping!"...

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      tonyleather 4 years ago

      What a wonderful, emotive lens! I am personally not a dog lover at all, but you obviously are, and your care shines through. Loved it!

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      Pam Irie 4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      YAY!!! This is one of the sweetest pages I've read in a long while. Love that it received Lens of the Day! Congratulations!!!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      We didn't have dogs growing up, but we got our Maggie when our boys were little, then when we moved to Arkansas we added King (who came with the house that we bought). Princess showed up on the doorstep a few years later, just before Maggie died. Princess adored King and copied everything he did - except she never could figure out how to howl (King's howls were of operatic quality). All three dogs lived long, happy lives. Now we have Daisy, our Lab and the unofficial mascot of our neighborhood. Everyone watches for "dad and dog" on their daily walks. She's 5 1/2 now and hopefully has many more happy years ahead. I loved reading about your dogs. Congratulations on your made-me-smile Lens of the Day!

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      Myreda Johnson 4 years ago from Ohio USA

      Although I never had pets as a child the man I married loves dog and I started out big with a Great Dane named Duke. Next came Gabby, another beautiful dane. She was followed by the wonderful Roxabelle Bear, a bullmastiff who would sit on your feet and look up at you with an irresistible smile. Presently we are owned by Brutus, a bulldog who protects us from the neighbors even if they are out in their own yards. Since becoming a dog owner I have never lasted longer than 3 weeks without a dog. They are truly angels on earth. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pets with the rest of us.

    • scrapquilter profile image

      Myreda Johnson 4 years ago from Ohio USA

      Although I never had pets as a child the man I married loves dog and I started out big with a Great Dane named Duke. Next came Gabby, another beautiful dane. She was followed by the wonderful Roxabelle Bear, a bullmastiff who would sit on your feet and look up at you with an irresistible smile. Presently we are owned by Brutus, a bulldog who protects us from the neighbors even if they are out in their own yards. Since becoming a dog owner I have never lasted longer than 3 weeks without a dog. They are truly angels on earth. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pets with the rest of us.

    • chrisilouwho profile image

      chrisilouwho 4 years ago

      Lovely stories, thanks for sharing!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading about each and every one of your doggies. The photos that you chose were (are) fabulous. I love all animals and have had a cat or two all my life. There's nothing like the unconditional love from a pet. Congrats on a well-deserved LotD too.

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      Ruthi 4 years ago

      I so enjoyed the dog show! Of course, your Nattie is my favorite of them all. I laughed over Rebecca's facial expressions. Oh my! She would melt my heart. As you know, I love my dog Tidbit and cannot imagine a day without her.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      A wonderful tribute to the dogs that enrich us beyond measure. I can appreciate each and every one of these dogs. We're never without a dog very long in our family. And, of course, my current second chance dog, Toby, has completely captured my heart (and taken over the bed). Congrats on LotD!

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      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      We had two until recently wnhen our Yellow Lab Saleem died but we still have a cat (Robin) and a Boarder Collie (Oliver Twist) BC for short, and four horses. Life is just not the same without pets!

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      Eugene Samuel Monaco 4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      We've several dogs over the years, Gizmo was our last, and best firend. Your lens is a wonderful story With great pictures. Congratulations on LOTD......

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      winter aconite 4 years ago

      What a nice lens and lovely dogs! Duncan is funny.....

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

      We travel too much to have pets. Congrats on lens of the day!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      So happy this lens got Lens of the Day! YAY YAY YAY!!!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I'm back to congratulate you on Lens of the Day! You are rocking and rolling here, and I'm so proud of you! WELL DONE!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm more of a cat person, but you done a marvelous job showing off your dogs over the years here. Congrats on Lens of the Day!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Oh my! I'm in happy/sad tears seeing all these sweet creatures and pictures from the past. I'm SO HAPPY and PROUD that our Lana girl is a recipient of a Nattie Christmas card. This is an absolutely wonderful lens! Life without dogs just isn't a whole life! :)

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 4 years ago

      I'm never without a dog for long. Roger was the first I remember, a loyal, feisty rat terrier mix. Inigo was my last, a giant and the Dog of dogs. Ruby is my current companion, a brilliant rascal by nature, a young pitt mix just coming into her own. In between... well, I grew up in a house that always kept a pack of three to nine dogs, each a blessing (if sometimes a mixed one). I love your tribute to your dogs, and enjoyed meeting your companions. I also love the phrase, "Pack in the sack." Ruby's really good at luring you in for a quick couch cuddle that turns into a four hour unintentional nap. The reproachful look Duncan is giving the camera slays me. And the baseball cards... so great!

    • crimenomore lm profile image

      crimenomore lm 4 years ago

      When I was very young I had a Cocker Spaniel that was my best friend. From there a german shepard and several other dogs and they are all remembered and missed.We now have two Springer Spaniels and they are my breed of choice. if Dogs don't go to heaven, just send me where they go! Long live Dogs

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      What a heart's treasure you have here...and I agree that Dusty seemed a little snooty but that's just not in a Sammie nature....they are smilers! I love that you even let the cousins get in on the act! I've loved many dogs over the years....they all still have a special place in my heart....and I'm hoping for one to warm that spot up again someday soon!

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      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I also made a page about dogs I've known and loved...and your lens is an excellent example of someone who knows her life isn't complete without a dog. Thanks for sharing these stories I enjoyed so much.

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      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      All of your dogs are beautiful. I had three different dogs growing up and right now my best friend in the world is named Scooby:) Beautiful lens!

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      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Well, first off, I have to say that Becky is my favorite. Those eyes! Nattie is beautiful as well (and all the other sisters and children you've been lucky enough to have!). We had a German Shepherd named Duchess who had some pups. We kept one--Hambiddle. Dogs are great. But cats rule! ;o)