About Going to the Dogs at Evergreen

Pepper, Martin’s dog

On Saturday afternoon Sandy our Evergreen Assisted Living activities director who loves animals put on a dog show for us.  One was a friendly Collie that reminded me of Uncle Walter’s dog. On a one word command “fetch” his dog leapt to bring the cows to the milking shed.

Pepper was my childhood terrier.  If I laid down she slept on my chest. If I lay on my back she slept on my chest.   If I went for a walk by the run she chased after whatever she smelled in the woods, but if I called her name she was immediately at my side.

Whimper and Aunt Lizzie

Pepper was replaced by Wimper: a  boston terrier who earned his name by whimpering his way into our lives.  We enjoyed him in many ways. But when Rachel visited her grandparents, Whimper made a fatal mistake. He snapped at Rachel when she toddled near his box behind the kitchen stove.  The next morning at his wife’s request, my father took whimper behind the barn and ended his life.  That sounds cruel, but to my Mother Whimper’s life was nothing compared to the safety of her precious granddaughter.  Boston Terriers remain my favorite breed and I could tell several stories about them.

In Tampa, the dogs we adopted were usually killed by cars on the street in front of our house. Our neighbor worked for a vet and he promised a dog for Conrad, our little boy. One day I was met at the door by Rhoda with a little brown puppy in her hands.  He became the favorite dog of our married life.  The neighbor explained that he was one forth Chihuawa and the rest was anything we wanted.

Rhoda housebroke Teddy perfectly and he had a special attachment to her. He needed to be on a leash in a camp ground.  If I took his leash and said “find Rhoda,” he unfailingly led me to where she was.  He mostly traveled with us whereeever we went,

Also, he remembered wherever he had been as a puppy.  He had a special fondness for Lakewood Retreat. If he went there with us he became excited a mile or two before arriving.  It must have had a special small to him.

Crystal enjoying heat from the pellet stove

He went with us to a Mennonite Assembly in Aimes, Iowa.  We were sent to a girl’s dormitory for lodging.  We took Teddy with us.  I called the attention of the girl who checked us in to our little dog.  She said quietly, “I haven’t seen him”.  We went to our room on the fifth floor before I remembered to take him for his “walk”.  After he had finished his “business”. he pulled me into the dormitory to the elevator door, out on the fifth floor and down the hall to our  room.  He knew where Rhoda was.  He was our dog and we were his people.

(Written while Joyce was in Milford, Nebraska, with her sister celebrating the seventieth birthday of their younger brother.)

Tippy, Pepper, and Whimper
Dearie, Teddy, and Candy 
Goshen dog Crystal 

About Martin Lehman

I was born 91 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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One Response to About Going to the Dogs at Evergreen

  1. Freda Zehr says:

    I loved this “dog story”, Martin. Our daughter and husband and teenage sons have a dog which is like family. They took him to the beach with them for the first time last week and they said that he loved it. He is about twelve years old now, I don’t know much about a dogs length of life but I know it will be a sad day for those two boys if and when he should go. I have observed that dogs are very good for children. It teaches them love and caring for others. I’ll never forget one christmas when the boys were much younger and we were watching TV and an ad for SPCA came on depicting dogs being mistreated and both boys left there chairs and hurried to Toby’s side to hug him and kept assuring him that he would never be hurt that they would love him and take care of him. it brought tears to my eyes.

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