The Dogs in My Life

Family dogs out for a ride in my brother's car

Family dogs out for a ride in my brother’s car.

God so loved the world that she gave us dogs.

The first dog in my life was Teddy. He was a big brown and white collie mix that lived in the barn. He only came into the house occasionally to warm up, when it was really cold outside. My dad had trained him to be a faithful working dog. When it was time for the cows to come back to the barn for evening milking, my dad would yell as loud as he could, “Come, boss,” hoping that the cows would hear him and come home to the barn. Teddy would take that as his cue to run to the pasture or down the lane to the woods to get them. He would find them, gather them together by running around them and barking, and would herd them to the barn.

I couldn't find any of my own pictures of Teddy, but this what I remember him looking like.

I couldn’t find any of my own pictures of Teddy, but this what I remember him looking like.

I was a little afraid of Teddy. I liked to pet him and say, “Nice, Teddy,” but I never dared to give him a really big hug or play with him. He was a very big dog, and I was a very little girl. He died of old age when I was about 5.

Tippy

Tippy

Our next dog was Tippy, a mostly black collie mix puppy with white tips on his paws and tail. My dad had hopes of training him to be another cow dog, but my brother Danny and I had other ideas. We trained him to be a playmate. Although he still had to sleep in the barn, Tippy was at our side whenever Danny and I were outside. Unfortunately, after a couple years he was killed by a car speeding down our country road.

Rinny - c1955

Rinny

The next dog in our lives was Rinny, named after RinTinTin, the german shepherd on TV. Rinny didn’t look like RinTinTin – Rinny was another black and white collie mix. My dad still had hopes of training another cow dog, but Danny and I adopted him as our next playmate, and Rinny never paid much attention to my dad.

While Rinny was still in our lives, a stray german shepherd mix wandered onto the farm and decided to stay a while. I named him Bullet, after my other TV dog hero. Bullet became my dog and Rinny was Danny’s. While we were negotiating that deal, our mom told us about when she sold her dog Mollie for $2 to her brother Helmer. From a practical standpoint, Mollie was still the family dog, and Mom was $2 richer.

Bullet with me and my newest Kitten Useless.

Bullet with me and my kitten Useless.

After a couple years, Rinny suffered the same fate as Tippy. Left alone, Bullet must have been bored when Danny and I were away at school all day, and he wandered off to find another home that needed his love.

Danny and Mollie 2

Danny and Mollie

Our succession of dogs continued with our own Mollie, a brown collie mix, and Tammy, our first little dog, probably a beagle-terrier mix. By that time my dad was resigned to the fact that any dogs coming into our household would become playmates, not working dogs. That meant it was no longer necessary to get a dog with herding instincts.

Tammy

Tammy

As an adult, I lived without a dog in my life until I reached my early 40s. Mim had not grown up with dogs, so she didn’t know how much love they could bring into your life. I finally convinced her I needed a dog when she got a job working nights for the Night Ministry – I didn’t want to be home alone at night in Chicago without a dog. We made a visit to the Anti-Cruelty Society in downtown Chicago, and walked out with a 10-week old blonde collie-golden retriever mix puppy. I named her Megabyte. (I was a computer consultant at the time.) Megabyte was the perfect dog to turn Mim into a dog lover. I knew she was converted when she told me about the homeless man who told her one night that DOG was GOD, just spelled backwards.

Megabyte as puppy

Megabyte

Meg was a very affectionate and social dog. She loved to go for walks in the park and loved to play with all the dogs in the neighborhood. We even arranged play dates with Charlee, the puppy down the block who was about the same age. When Mim and I decided to move to Cambridge, we were concerned that Meg might be lonely without all her canine friends, so we made another trip to the Anti-Cruelty Society to adopt a sister for her. We were drawn to a 3-month-old black border collie-spaniel mix. Mim named her Maia. From day one, Maia tried to be the boss, but the two dogs quickly worked out their own rules for sharing the leadership role.

Megabyte and Maia with Marian in Chicago

Megabyte and Maia with Marian in Chicago

Both Meg and Maia lived well into their teens (their 90s in dog years).

Then came Abbey. You already know a lot about Abbey and all the love she has shared with us and the people who have lived with us. She’s been the perfect caregiver, with plenty of love, gentleness, kindness, and wisdom to share with everyone who has lived in our home.

Abbey head-on colorYesterday, Abbey went to meet all the rest of the dogs in our family – Teddy, Tippy, Rinny, Bullet, Mollie, Tammy, Megabyte, and Maia – plus many of her cousin dogs and people friends. For the last couple years Abbey has had a slow-growing mass in her brain that has been affecting her ability to walk. It finally got too much for her, and God invited her to come home to heaven. She had fulfilled her purpose on earth very well – teaching all of us more about God’s love than we ever could have imagined without knowing her.

Marian Korth Family Portrait - bronze 2

God loved us so much that she gave us Abbey for 8 years
to teach us more about God’s love.

20 thoughts on “The Dogs in My Life

  1. So very sorry about Abbey. Three weeks after Mom died in 2012 our sweet Wheaten Ailis died. Mom loved dogs and the dogs knew it. It pleases me to think of them together again. Praying for your loss. – Jane K

  2. What a wonderful history of M dogs! I am so sorry to read about Abbey. She has Gussie to play with as well… Gussie left on October 31. Losing them is difficult, loving them while they are here is so easy…
    They are a gift.

  3. I have seen Abbey in action. When Aunty Mary was approaching the end of her earthly life, Abbey was holding vigil. She was not only a beautiful dog, but one with a sweet, loving spirit. Doggy heaven must have welcomed her with open arms. Mim and Marian, you were so blessed to have had her in your lives, and she was so very lucky to have had the two of you.

  4. One of my favorite pictures is of Abbey sitting with your Aunty Mary and Doris on the love seat in the sun room of the farmhouse. Everyone is laughing till tears came to their eyes. Mary and Doris had such a good time with Abbey. (I tried to insert the picture in this reply, but I can’t figure out how. Trust me, it’s a wonderful image of pure joy.)

  5. It was always nice to hear about Abbey’s life with you and Mim. I remember many loving dogs in our life, two of which died on the highway between our house and Gol church in Kenyon. Thanks for the loving tribute to all your dogs. Diane Hagen

  6. I was happily enjoying this read today until I got to the end and realized you had lost Abbey. I guess we all got a little attached to her just reading your blog and I was very sad to hear that she has passed on. I’m very sure that she is happy now, but it’s so tough to lose those dogs that we love so much! They just grab a piece of our hearts, don’t they!

    • Thanks, Mary. Abbey had many friends on earth, and many who have already moved on to heaven ahead of her. I’m sure she’s surrounded by friends – both canine and human – in heaven just as she was on earth. But you’re right, we really miss her down here.

  7. I waited a few days to reply, as this is so sad. Abbey was the ultimate care-giver in your home! What a blessing for you both to have her in your family and for Abbey to find you as her forever Moms! I fondly remember the goose poop incident and how all of us were more upset about the smell than Abbey was! “Picking a dog may be the only chance you get to pick a relative.” XO and hugs!

  8. Oh, you two…I am so sorry to hear about Abbey. We are all so sad that she is gone, but feel she stayed as long as she must have been needed, right? I hope you can adjust to her absence–it must feel strange not having her by your side. We will pray for you as you mourn her loss.

    • Thank you. I’m sure Abbey had fulfilled her purpose in life, and was very ready to move on to her next life.We all miss her very much – especially when we walk in the door and she isn’t there to welcome us. But we’re very thankful for the 8 years Abbey was with us. Thanks for your prayers.

  9. It made me very sad to hear about Abbey from Laura. She was such a sweet dog. I know she was a joy to Aunty Mary when she was alive. Your tribute to your dogs is so heart touching. I have lost many of my “dog children and grand dogs” and know the heartache. They can never be replaced but thankfully new ones come into our lives and add more memories.

    • Thank you for your comments. Abbey was very special to a lot of people. It hurts to lose such a special family member, but we have moved into the process of finding a new dog. We thought we would wait till spring, but the house is too empty without someone running to the door to greet us.

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