©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pets Are Family Too

There never was a dog like Buttons. 
She came to us back in the late 1960s, before the uproar about puppy mills, before I’d even heard of such a thing as a puppy mill, so we bought her at a pet store. Now, I doubt she was anything other than from a litter of local puppies because she wasn’t a purebred; she was a Collie/English Shepard mix. As a puppy she was a roly-poly little white and golden happy-go-lucky mound of fur.
We were probably taking on more than we should as, at the time the girls were about 5 and 3 years old. There was certainly enough activity to keep us all busy. We lived in a small apartment with no real yard right on a major street but, for some reason, we all wanted a dog. Even Jim who had never had a pet looked forward to adding Buttons to the family.
Our early times with Buttons were not without their struggles. She never learned to walk on a leash properly. (I know that was my fault. I could have taught her better but I didn’t know how and couldn’t afford a trainer and never thought of reading up on the subject. This is long before the internet and ebooks. The library didn’t enter my mind.) She pulled and tugged and dragged me around from day one.
In fact, we had a dreadful event occur at a forest preserve. It was a family outing on a beautiful day. We were all looking forward to a good romp in the woods and maybe a picnic later. Of course, all dogs must be on leash at the forest preserves but we wanted Buttons to have a large area to explore so we had her attached to a long rope. No sooner had we all left the car then Buttons took off on a run. Unfortunately, Tammy was standing right in the middle between where I held the rope and the end on Button’s collar. The rope pulled tight and caught Tammy at the back of both knees, not only knocking her down but giving her terrible rope burns of the back of both knees. She was laid up for a week or so before that injury healed. Now you can’t blame the dog but I don’t remember too many more family visits to the forest preserve.
Due to living in an apartment building, we were fortunate that Buttons seemed to quickly learn the scent of the other residents because she only barked when a stranger entered. Showing her great watchdog abilities, whenever someone came to our door she barked frantically then hid under the couch. At least, she let us know someone was there.
The best thing about Buttons, though, was her gentleness with everyone. As I said, our girls were young and young children can be rough and tumble. Buttons didn’t care what they did; she tolerated anything and seemed to love any kind of attention they gave. She was the same with other children, and all people, who visited as well.
We moved to our house in the early 70s where Buttons grow-up with our girls and their friends. There Buttons had a litter of puppies before we had her spayed. We found homes for them all. She was a mainstay in our lives until she died at the age of 13. She will always be remember in our family. 

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