It was difficult to title this section simply our pets because anyone who has been fortunate to have an animal as part of their family knows that pet is such a misnomer. Beloved adopted child would be a much better way to refer to those sweet things that enter and go out of our lives always leaving something in our hearts that never goes away.
Parr's Terror of the Lake
Obedience training was one of the most pleasant jobs I have ever had. I need to regress a bit so you will understand why. First, my parents when I was younger had a kennel, I learned to train dogs for show, then for obedience. I must have been good because the dogs I trained really minded what you would tell them to do.
I can't remember when a pet wasn't part of my life growing up. Sometimes there was a bit of time in between but there was always one that came. In the first part of our married life we were rather strapped for cash and room. It was enough to take care of four young children. After we got our first house we or should I say I decided we needed a dog. Specifically we needed a dog like I used to have, a Samoyed.
We found and bought Terr, short for Parr's Terror of the Lake. Jerry went and got him and brought him home. From that day on Terr had it in his head that he belonged to Jerry. He was the kids playmate and I was the one who fed him and could teach him all the cute tricks, like sit up, etc. but when it came to housebreaking and obedience, forget it, he minded just like the the kids did, that's another story!! I felt like such a failure. Jerry was working 12 to 18 hours a day and didn't have time to train a dog too. Although we all cared for him we knew that it wasn't working out, he simply would not work for me and he spent so much of his time banned to the lower hall. Eventually we decided the best thing for the dog was to find him a better home which we did. We were so impressed with the guy that bought him that we'd decided if he didn't have the money he would be getting the dog for free!!
Parr's Scott McLaddie
Born August 7, 1972
We obtained Laddie as he was affectionately known because of a divorce in a family. Our first meeting with him took place because our eldest son was asked if he could care for him while the family went away for Easter vacation. He begged and begged telling me how he would do everything, I wouldn't have to worry about anything. After a few questions on my part I learned that the dog was not even housebroken so you can imagine my reaction. Course mother's do give in, the boy that had the dog said that we could keep him in the garage so there would be no problem about his messing in the house. We arranged a date that he would bring the dog over after school. The day he was to bring him the doorbell rang and there was the boy, it was still hours before school was over. He said they'd decided to leave early so he brought the dog. I'm thinking thoughts that every mother thinks at this time, like great, what the heck am I going to do with an untrained dog. Obviously with the family waiting for me to take the dog, I asked where he was. The boy said, right here, I looked around and said where. He opened his coat and two of the blackest eyes I've ever seen looked out at me from the tiniest white body. It was love at first sight on both our parts. Before I go much further let me tell you the dog never saw the garage the whole four days we had him. I'm not to sure if he even touched the floor much. I asked his name and misunderstood that he said McGladdie. So the whole time we called him Gladdie only to learn after the weekend that it was Laddie. I should also add that he never ever messed anywhere in the house. He did his duty outside.
A couple of months later when we were driving through the area where the boy lived, he saw our car and came running out. He said his mother and step-father were divorcing and that his mother said the dog had to go. She'd only bought him for breeding purposes with her female and never did get attached to him. Jer and I immediately wanted him but Jerry was questioning the difficulty of getting another dog. Since having Terr previously didn't work out to well and we ended up selling him to what we hoped was a better family than we were for him. After telling the boy we would think about it we went on home. After much discussion we'd decided we would get the dog course I had to promised to work with him every day. We'd also decided that since it was now going to be May we'd have to kennel him when we went on vacation in July as we couldn't take a dog that wasn't housebroke to our motel. We called the boys mother and made arrangements to buy him on payday May 1st, after Jerry got home from work.
Here I have to interject. A few years prior I was in a car accident. It wasn't my fault but it shook me enough that I gave up driving. May 1st arrived and I began clock watching. The whole morning seemed to just drag. Out in the driveway sat a relatively new car and I had the keys. I called the owner and asked if she was going to be home and if she'd take a check. Yes to both questions, so out I went to the car and drove over to her house. I paid for the dog, picked up his papers and him and out to the car we went. He was jumping back and forth from the seat next to me and the console and I was extremely nervous. At the first stop sign I pulled over and told him that I hadn't driven for years and I was as scared as he was in his not knowing where he was going. I told him that if he would sit there quietly in the seat until we got home I could promise him that he was going to have the best home he could ever imagine having, that he would have so much love he wouldn't know what to do with it. (I can hear all the scoffing, but it's the truth.) Laddie sat there in the seat beside me and only once started to rise up when we came to the second stop sign, I told him not yet and he sat right down again. When we pulled into the driveway I then told him he was going to get his second lesson on riding in the car. I said, stay, he did, I started to get out and he moved, again I repeated stay and he did. Then once I was out of the car I said come and he did. We then went into the house where he became a beloved member of our family.
The training began both in the front and back of the house. I began taking him out to do his duty in the front along side the highway knowing that in the winter he'd never be able to get out the back door because of the snow. At the same time the State had torn up the highway and I do mean tore up, took away and was replacing it with an all new roadway. So the guys working got a real big charge out of watching me bring this little white dog outside every hour on the hour just about until he got so I knew when he had to go. I did realize very quickly that he wasn't going to bark to go outside, he would simply stand by the door and wait for someone to see him there. Rain or shine we would go out. As time went on I began to take him with out his leash, just walk with him as he hated to be tied. First I would walk all the way down the drive to his spot, then I began to stop part way down, then I waited on the porch and finally I simply stood in the doorway for him to come back. It made no difference to him if someone came by or tried to talk to him, he would ignore them, do his duty and come straight back to the house.
Laddie, who by the way, was said to be not trainable by his former owners. He had in fact spent the first 8 months of his life chained to the mop board. One of the reasons he hated being tied up or leashed. I went out and bought a training leash and choke collar and began with the simple training, sit, lay, stay, etc. he was fantastic. Within two weeks he had learned and followed all the commands so I began silent training, using my hand or snapping my fingers depending upon what I wanted him to do, again he was fantastic. I then brought the kids and Jerry out one by one and showed them what the commands were and made sure that Laddie knew he should obey them too. He was unbelievable this so called not trainable dog. By the end of May he was not only totally housebroken but obedience trained to silent command. Rather than hold on to his leash, he carried it himself while heeling. It was something to see and he was something to behold.
The only problem we had was his sometime reaction to our second son. Once in a while when Craig would come in the dog would simply go berserk and we didn't know why. He also reacted to rolled up newspapers or the empty rolls of wrapping paper basically because that is what he was beat with. But his reaction to Craig was just unexplainable especially since he would express all kinds of love and affection to him all the other times. One day the kids came home from school and asked if I could bring Laddie up for a show and tell. Their teacher had remarked that dogs don't understand words, etc. that they knew you were angry or happy simply by the tone of your voice. There were a lot of other things said too that my children decided to challenge their teachers knowledge about dogs. So we set up a date and up to school we went. Laddie of course prancing into the room carrying his own lead. I then waved my hand for him to come to me and sit, which of course he did. At the time no one but the kids realized the command had been give. So I then began to chastise him in the sweetest voice I could muster. He looked up at me, first the ears went down, then the whole body until he was literally crawling on the floor with shame. I then shouted nastily what a good dog he was and he jumped up, wagging his tail as only one happy pup would do!! The teacher was absolutely flabbergasted. I then asked if she would like to see him mind with absolutely no words spoken. I put him through his paces with only hand signals and finger snapping and the kids just loved it. When I was finished a loud little boy piped up and yelled, that was my dog. At that precise moment Laddie began to shiver and shake and snuggled close to my leg. I looked up to see that the boy had the same type of haircut and color as Craig's and the light bulb came on really bright. It didn't take a rocket scientist to learn what happened between those two. The boy was a step-brother to the boy that owned him. He then bragged that he could get him to come to him, I answered I don't think so. My daughter not to be outdone said she could get him to come to her before he'd obey him. So the contest was on. Problem for Laddie was, he had to go past the boy to get to Deb so he didn't obey either one, he kept looking up at me. I then motioned my hand forward and he took off like a shot, the boy reached out and tried to grab him but he skittered sideways and ran on to Deb's arms. We all learned a lot that day, Laddie learned he was finally safe, Deb knew she had a dog and I knew why his reaction to Craig. From that time on, Craig tried to remember not to rush into the room and startle the dog.
School got out, vacation was coming up and Jerry announced that the dog would be coming with. His reasoning was he was better behaved than the kids were. In fact it was a standing joke in our house. Jerry always had a bowl of ice cream in the evening, it didn't take very long for Laddie to convince him that he absolutely loved ice cream so he would join him. The kids complained once that the dog got more ice cream than they did. That's when the saying began about behavior and I added obviously my mistake was not taking all four kids out to the backyard on a training leash. Before anyone gets all twisted with those remarks you do have to understand that my children did not take them seriously and in fact if I could remember half the remarks they made back you would be rolling on the floor. We were and are a family that jokes many of which are very dry ones and quite hysterically funny!! Maybe somewhere in these web pages I'll tell you about the pet pig we had on vacation. Just to ease your minds, no it wasn't a real one it was a pretend one, but you'll not convince the people that stayed in the next room of that!! So back to the first part of this paragraph, Laddie came along on vacation and he did every year. The motel in time changed to no dogs allowed, but that did not include Laddie. We could also leave him alone in the room when we went to eat as the owners knew if he barked something was not right and they would check on it.
He would ride in or on anything. He loved to travel. Deb had a basket on her bicycle that he would ride in. He would lay up in the back window of the car and watch the world go by. In the Model A coupe there was a narrow flat space between the seat and the window and that was his place. We did a mall show once with him laying up there and so many thought it was so adorable.
I mentioned before that he loved ice cream but let me relate to you what he did at birthday times. He was a very smart dog and knew that with cake and candles there was ice cream. He could hardly wait until the meal was over. One of his rules was that he stay out of the dining room until all were finished eating. There were three doorways into the dining room and believe me, he stalked every one until the last was finished. He was allowed in when the cake came in and he was also allowed to be either on a chair or in someone's arms at the table as this was a special time. When we would all begin singing Happy Birthday, he would join in and warble in his finest voice. Then bark like crazy after the candles were blown out because he knew that the ice cream came next. I would believe that his second most favorite food was Egg McMuffins. Jer had a friend who worked at McDonald's and used to go and visit with him bringing Laddie along. They gave him an Egg McMuffin one day and that's all it took. Every time they went to McD's he got an Egg McMuffin. Every time we drove by a McD's he would cry. That dog could spot those golden arches miles away!!!
Besides not being in the dining room or kitchen while we were eating, there were other places that he was trained not to bother. Knowing that people would come to the house and not necessarily like dogs we trained him to stay off one of the living room chairs. He was allowed on the couch and my recliner and even the foot stool that went with the chair, but not in or on the chair itself. He was also not allowed to go into our bedroom unless he was given an ok. He never broke these rules.
We learned very quickly that he wouldn't snap up food, he always waited like a gentleman while his food was being dished up. The youngest baby could be near him and even take away his food and he wouldn't even bat an eye. Course he might lick the baby out of love but that would be as far as it went. He didn't like raised voices, when the kids would argue with each other he would run at them and around them and nip at their ankles. Heaven help them if they yelled at me because he wouldn't just nip at them he would actually try to connect.
He was basically Jer's dog and of course mine. He loved everyone in the family though he did go to Jer's room to sleep at night. It was rather funny to see because he would literally steal the blanket and pillow from Jer during the night. After Jer went into the Army Laddie just moved down to the next in line and slept with Craig, then after he left home he would take turns sleeping with Tig or Deb. He loved Deb's big double bed but he had trouble jumping up on it because it was so high.
To continue on how he hated to be tied up instead of fighting or barking or carrying on about it he basically taught us how to get around it. I did mention that instead of our holding his leash, he carried it. He knew that there were times when we could not avoid having him on a leash. Once that leash was put on and in his mouth he never left the side of who put it on him. If we were staying on one spot he would lay right down and stay there until we moved. He attended many car shows and swap meets and all who saw him remembered him the next time. When we were in an area that most would tie up their dogs with a long lead we would let him walk out in one direction then say, that's far enough, he then would walk back to us and go in yet another direction until we repeated those words. He went in all four directions until he had his boundaries which he never ever crossed. One night it was really a challenge for him and he was applauded for his behavior. My parents were camping out and we'd gone to visit them. Laddie as always immediately did his boundary walk and they were set. We were sitting there enjoying the evening and chatting when a bunch of children came up from the lake, we'd then discovered that his boundary was set about a foot away from their path. As much as they squealed and called he never crossed his line.
Because I assume of his first months of life he did not have a I love everybody nature. He was quite shy with adults, especially men. When a male would come to the house when Jerry was gone he was real protective. I had a gentleman over to do some genealogical research. He sat in the chair that Laddie was not allowed in and I sat in the recliner. Laddie sat on the floor in between us right tight to my leg. The guy leaned forward to show me something on the paper he was holding and Laddie quietly growled a very deep throated sound. The guy looked at him and said he had a feeling that little dog would die trying to protect me.
When he came into our lives we had two black cats, Sonny & Cher, then later Reuben. The boys being boys taught Laddie to ''get the kitty''. It was a riot Laddie was taught not to go into the pantry if the cats were there as that's where their food was. He was also taught not to go upstairs until he was told he could. Believe me, the cats knew this!! So when the kids would holler get the kitty, off they would go, with the two cats it was quite a site to see as they would run in tandem for a while until he was right up on them, then they'd separate one going toward the pantry, the other toward the stairs. He would get so frustrated as one would sit in the pantry doorway while the other would sit on the second step knowing he could not cross the lines so to speak. We lost Sonny and decided to give Cher away as she'd never been one that was our favorite and the people that took her loved her dearly. We then adopted Reuben and once again it was get the kitty time. Even after Reuben died and we decided no more cats the kids could yell get the kitty and off Laddie would go running though the house.
Another thing he did well was to stay in the house and not try to run out when the door was opened. He knew that he must have his collar on before he could go out the door. You could stand there with the door open and call him from the outside all day and he would not cross the threshold. Something that we forgot to tell our neighbor when she volunteered to watch him when my father died and we had to go away to the wake and funeral. First we forgot to tell her that the dog sleeps until at least 10 a.m. She of course came up the first day before 7 and there was no way that dog would come downstairs. She said she called and called. She then came up every hour until finally after 10 he came down. Then of course he wouldn't go out. She just couldn't figure that one out because she'd seen him often enough go right out there all by himself. She never could get him to go out, once when she picked him up and carried him out and set him down, he simply turned around and walked right back into the house. So in the end, she simply fed him and made sure he had fresh water and constantly offered to let him out. This was only one day and over night. He did find the perfect place to go in the house. We were painting an upstairs room and had papers spread on the floor, so he used them!! Once she was told that he needed his collar it all made sense to her because she said he kept looking at the piano when ever she would try to get him to go out. The collar was sitting right on top of the piano.
The Wee Bairn of the Loch
Born July 15, 2001.
He was small but he sure was mighty. He stole every heart that came in contact with him and he still does.
Oh how I loves the wind thru my hair and boating!!
Me & my big brother on a jet ski!!
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