Stella's Successors - Duane
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Thursday, 02 April 2009 20:00

Serena & RockyThe Stella article described how a dog entered our family life and became friends with hundreds of people on our daily walks. Stella promoted a happiness through the daily habit of walking that left a strong impression long after her passing. I recall that she played an important role in training me for long-distance hikes that spanned the North American east coast.

My wife Tricia did not want to get another dog right away, and neither did I. Tricia rightly felt that no dog should be compared to Stella, so we agreed to think of another breed in the future.

One day the profile of a dog's head came into my mind. I sketched on paper a thin black dog with slight curls of hair on the ears. The name Pamola came to mind, a reminder of the wild peak of Mount Katahdin in Maine.

As it turned out, we went to look for a black dog, a "Labradoodle" in Maine, so the vision strangely came true. And yes, she turned out to have a slightly wild, independent streak, but Tricia named her "Serena." Give the dog a good name, as they say.

However, destiny arranged a little surprise for us in Maine. While Tricia visited a litter of black puppies, I sat under a tree admiring a clever 20-pound adult dog named "Rocky." He trotted out to greet me with a little 4-pound ragamuffin in tow. As the tiny one cavorted nearby, I called out to Tricia, "look at the orange eyebrows on this one." I enjoyed watching him imitate his father and circle around me.

Shortly afterward, Tricia and I took a walk to sort things out. It was the occasion of our 35th wedding anniversary, on which I was giving my wife a dog. Nobody expected the little ragamuffin to choose me for a new parent or for us to entertain the possibility of raising two dogs. Yet, it was obvious, Tricia remarked, that the little dog had chosen me. She decided to give me a dog, too.

So in a brief span of time Tricia and I decided to sign up for double trouble. The second one would be "Little Rocky," named for his father. I later joked to the veterinarian, "It's your job to get these dogs through to our 50th wedding anniversary."

Serena and Rocky in water

During the summer we visited Myles Standish State Park, where Little Rocky ran in and out of a pond, getting covered with mud and sand. I picked up the unrepentant little dog for Tricia to snap a picture, as if to say, "Look what a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into!"

That picture later resurfaced as my "signature picture" because it always makes me smile. Now you know the story of how Little Rocky, our walking club mascot, came out of nowhere.

At the end of winter we took an afternoon walk along the ocean, where the accompanying photos were taken.

The two little dogs have become a handful, but a more doting Papa Bear you'll never see on our daily walks. Serena and Little Rocky have become inseparable, on and off the leash. Someday these pups will have big paws to fill - Stella's friends are watching.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2009 21:10
 
 
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