As a girl, I was an animal lover. And still am. My parents gave me a fish tank, my first foray into the kingdom of animal ownership. In no time, I begged for a hamster. Later, a gerbil. And a German shepherd. And a cat. My parents indulged me, but they must have enjoyed the menagerie because they purchased singing canaries and a huge birdcage for nightingales and finches for themselves. Did I mention my parakeet and guinea pig?

Unfortunately, cats made me sneeze. Not that my allergy stopped me from wading out into a busy five-way intersection to rescue a gray kitten. When I rescued this kitten, there was so much that I had to learn. From wondering does my cat have allergies, having to get the vaccinations, to creating a space in the home for the new addition, it wasn’t easy. But with that being said, everything takes time and it wasn’t long before the little kitten fit into the family.

I had to look up the ‘best carpet cleaner for pets‘ pretty sharpish so I wasn’t sneezing from morning till night! I also took in several canine strays, including a humongous Doberman pincher that bonded to me quickly and defended me fiercely when on a leash. I finally brought the dog to a kennel to be boarded until its ski-bum owner showed up. The Doberman was wearing ID so I called and located the young man, who lived in another state. He’d lost the dog in a parking lot, then had gone skiing on Mount Baker for the day, anyway!

Once, I stopped on the freeway to save a wandering Boxer, a well-trained pooch and a treat to look after. I don’t recommend stopping on the freeway, a perilous and foolish stunt. However, I stand by the fact that if I hadn’t, the pooch may well have suffered an injury. Unless it was covered by pet insurance, its chances of recovery could have been slim.

Basically, I’m a dog lover. Large or small. Although I’ve been bitten by a few, including my own, I don’t harbor what my dear friend Earlene Luke calls “gut-fear.”

Photos of my favorite dogs. Do you recognize me with short hair?

Photos of my favorite dogs. Do you recognize the younger me with short hair?

In my early twenties, as soon as I rented a house, I bought a Borzoi, also known as a Russian wolfhound. What fun I had with my beautiful Stella, soon to become an American/Canadian champion. Borzois are sight hounds, relying on their vision to target their prey. Unlike horses and most dogs, they use a double-suspension gallop. They can run 30 miles-per-hour, no sweat, and have been clocked up to fifty, meaning they can catch practically any animal they pursue. But in the house she was calm, peaceful and loving. I’ve owned three adult borzois at a time and could walk them on leash together, thanks to obedience training.

I highly recommend obedience school, where I met respected judge and handler, Earlene Luke, famous for her role as the judge in the hilarious movie Best in Show. She instructed the actors how to handle the dogs, as she’d taught me.

Most dogs want to please, but can easily train their owners into putting up with bad behavior. Having your dog come when called is the most important command, but the hardest to teach, one the pooch won’t obey until it follows all other commands. More Earlene Luke wisdom.

Are you a proud dog owner? If so, you might want to consider sending your dog to a doggie daycare center such as Paws Playgrounds where your pet can get in plenty of exercise while playing in an exciting setting! For more information about dog daycare, go to pawsplaygrounds.com. One of my best friends takes her beloved pooch to doggie daycare and her pet always has such a good time.

I later switched to smaller breeds more suitable for city life: a Cairn terrier and then a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Both were American/Canadian champions, and dearly beloved pets. When asked, I can’t pick my favorite because I loved each dog so much. Sigh.

When I was in grade school, my mother took my sister and me to horseback riding lessons (English saddle) and I went to summer camp where I was assigned to ride a Tennessee Walker, a rescue-horse that needed a petite rider. Later, horseback riding was my sport in college. Fortunately I already knew how to ride, because the instructor had us jumping small hurdles the first lesson. On my bucket list is to drive an Amish horse and buggy.

Young Amish man on his way home from church service.

Young Amish man on his way home from church service. My dream is to learn to drive a buggy!

Are you a dog person or do you adore cats? Felines love me. A friend told me her shy cat that had never come to a stranger, sashayed right over to me. My friend said I have good cat etiquette. I’ve called myself a cat magnet, because when walking they cross the street to greet me.

Why does the neighborhood bully Tomcat beg for my attention?

Why does the neighborhood bully Tomcat beg for my attention?

Have you owned a favorite pet? Are you a cat person or a dog fancier? Would you consider driving a horse and buggy?

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Two Amish-made Potholders from Lancaster County, PA.

Leave a comment to enter to win these two charming Amish-made potholders from Lancaster County, PA. Plus a signed copy of one book from the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy: the winner’s choice of Leaving Lancaster, Pennsylvania Patchwork or Forever Amish! USA and Canada. Winner has 3 days to respond.

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