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Prime Time | My dogs, part 2

After Mary and I had our children, we had a cockapoo, Charlie. Charlie loved to chase the beam from a flashlight as we shined it around the floor. Also, he loved sitting on Mary's lap.

Mary taught junior high English, and she often had theme papers and tests to correct and grade. Her favorite spot to work was on the family room sofa. She spread the papers into piles, one for each class, across the sofa. When Charlie was ready for lap-sitting, he jumped up on the opposite end of the sofa and walked across the piles and plopped onto her lap, which also held papers and her grading book.

When Betsy worked up north at a Lutheran Bible Camp at Lake Andrusia, she met a German shepherd that she fell in love with.

The camp counselors were gathered outside during a break. A car traveling down the road slowed, and someone opened the back door and shoved this beautiful dog out the door. The counselors went to save the pup and brought it back to camp. Of course, they could not keep the dog at the camp. Insurance would not cover if the dog hurt one of the campers. They found a family in Bemidji who took the dog until the end of the summer.

When I went to pick up Betsy at the end of August, she presented me with a problem. She told me the family could not keep the dog because they had another one and could not afford Shooterkid. That's the name that camp director - and later Betsy's husband - Mark Kuleta gave the dog. He called the campers "shooterkids," and when the shepherd joined their ranks, he said: "Now that is a real shooterkid."

Betsy looked up at me and said: "The humane society will euthanize him if we don't take him home with us." It reminded me of Dave and me bringing Mike to our dad.

Of course, we brought the pup home with us, and we loved the bugger very much.

When the girls' boyfriends came to pick them up, Shooter (I shortened his name for me) jumped up all over the boys.

He put his front paws on their chests and looked them in the eyes. He was a friendly dog, but they did not know it. Mary said: "Let's not tell them that he is friendly. That way they will be nice to our girls."

Shooter and Charlie got along most of the time. But once a while Shooter would chase Charlie around the house. When Charlie was fed up, he would turn and stare into Shooter's eyes and then chase the shepherd upstairs. Charlie was the older dog, and he was not going to let this pup fool around very long.

One night when Betsy was at St. Olaf, I was letting Shooter out to go potty at five o'clock in the morning. Shooter got loose and tore around the neighborhood at a hundred miles an hour. Off I went in my pajamas trying to call him back, but the more I followed him, the more he ran. I could always know where he was by listening to the neighborhood dogs barking.

Finally, at six o'clock, I had to get ready for work. When I went in to shower, Shooter came back to the house. Carrie and Mattie called him, and he came right in. I was worn out, and these two little buggers did so easily what I was unable to do.

When I was terribly sick with depression, I would lie down on the living room floor and take a nap. I had one dog on either side of me, both snuggling up to me. I obviously love dogs, and that was one reason I did.

A final experience we had with a dog was with a pomeranian. I forget his name. Dave and Lynn tried to get us to take him. I said on one condition. We would try him for a couple of weeks and then could give him back if he did not work out.

Mattie was a toddler at the time. The dog chased Paul, Betsy and Carrie around the house. The only way they could get away from him was to jump on the sofa or one of the chairs.

Every once in a while Mattie would come out of the kitchen carrying the dog - with her hands wrapped around his neck.

She was the only one of the kids who could control the pup. After two weeks we returned the dog, and Dave and Lynn brought him up to New York Mills, Minn., to be with Lynn's parents.

That is the end of my experiences with these beloved animals.