Chapter One
'A Batchelor Dog'

It began with a life conceived and a life lost. A void was created and a response was necessary. Into our lives came a little black and white dog. Nothing was quite the same after that.

His name was Linus and he was eight weeks old. He was part cocker and part poodle, a Cocker Poo. We paid five dollars and brought him home.

The plan was for him to spend his first night in the service porch. That lasted for less than an hour. Okay. You can come in the house and we’ll put your bed in the hallway.

Thirty minutes.

Okay. Come in the bedroom. You can sleep at the foot of the bed. He spent the night, and many, many more, on top of the bedcovers. For about sixteen years.

From the beginning, he was a spirited puppy. We had a large, fenced yard and a detached two-car garage. While we were at work, this was his playground. It was a good plan, until canine puberty came into our lives.

Across the street from us was another Cocker Poo, a cute little all black girl named Lulu. It was adolescent puppy love at first sniff. Both of them knew how to dig under wood fences without leaving a noticeable trace.

We came home one afternoon to find a note on our door from the local animal control folks. “We have your dog. Please bring cash and bring a rope.” They didn’t take checks and he needed a leash.

We learned that each day, he and Lulu would go off on an adventure through the neighborhood. Animal control had


been trying to capture the dynamic duo for weeks. They finally caught up with Linus but his smaller companion safely made it home.

That weekend, two households underwent fence repairs. Lulu got out again and waited for him on the other side of the fence. Linus pined and moaned. He was on the wrong side. So far, it was no harm, no foul. Lulu was not in heat.
A family meeting was held. The consensus was Linus was lonely. Either one of us stayed home with him each day or we got him a companion. Linus went with the companion option.

There was an ad in the newspaper. Young female Cocker Poo for sale, with papers, $100. Wow. What a bargain! We arranged to meet that weekend. We would bring Linus with us.

It was love at first sniff. Of course, she seemed a little older than advertised. And, the papers were just some veterinary documents. But, they seemed to really get along well with each other. We paid half of the money and said we would give the matchmaking a try.

At that time, we were renting one room to a young college student. While Linus and Renee became more acquainted with each other in the living room, we slipped to the back of the house to change clothes. Soon, our boarder knocked on the door.

“I think you had better come out here. The dogs seem to be getting pretty friendly!”

So true. Renee was in heat. Young love was being consummated, a combination of fairy tale romance and false advertising. And thus began our canine first family.

Chapter Two: Parenthood