My Brother Has A Tail And Other Pet Stories

My Brother Has A Tail And Other Pet Stories

My wife and I have been married for over 34 years. Over that time we have had seven pets (not counting the fish), three dogs and four cats. Today, we have three unique felines. We have some great pet stories to go along with these unique pets, including the day my daughter told a farmer, “My brother has a tail”.

BeagleOur first pet, Sam the Beagle, was unique in every respect. We adopted Sam when he was about 8 weeks old. In those days he could fit in the palm of my wife’s hand. His ears, however, almost dragged on the ground. Sam was a super-sized beagle, and I don’t mean that he was fat. A friend of ours once remarked that you could put a coffee cup on Sam’s back and he wouldn’t spill a drop.

My favorite story about our Sam took place after we had moved to my wife’s hometown, Port Washington, Wisconsin. My daughter who was probably 3 1/2 at the time went out to buy a Mother’s Day plant and a card. We went to the local Pharmacy for the card and we stopped by the farmer’s wagon in front to by the plant. My daughter who was very talkative and not at all shy talked to the farmer. He remarked to me that she was very cute and smart (She still is). He then asked her if there were any others at home like her. Oh yes, she said, I have a brother. He has a tail and fur. His name is Sam. The farmer appeared startled and I dryly remarked, Sam is our dog.

We acquired a Black Lab mix who we named Callie to join Sam. We had moved to a different town with a large fenced-in backyard. The two dogs loved it. They could roam all over. They even rubbed themselves in the goose or duck poop, depending on the time of year. One summer my wifeSandy and Liz Billies, Fish Day, 1982, Port Washington, WI washed one of them an average of every week. I fortunately got to go to work. Of course, on my arrival home Liz who was probably 8 by then announced, “Mommy had to wash Sam (or Callie) today”.

We lived on the Milwaukee River in Thiensville, Wisconsin and Sam found a way to climb on the rocks and around the fence. Usually, Callie would come to the back door looking guilty and we knew Sam was on the loose. He never went far but he always made you carry him back. My aching back. Sam weighed over 50 pounds!

One time, he was out alone and I was watching a game with Callie. The next thing I heard was a bark at the front door. I opened it and he strutted in loving for his usual treat. Once, he tried to escape back into the yard.

Sam was very territorial. Most beagles are. Our first house in Port Washington had a sidewalk. As soon as someone crossed his perimeter he started to bark; 80 feet later he stopped dead. When we moved the the river house and adopted Callie, Same made sure that she knew who was in charge. He was the sergeant, she was the private. He trained her to spot intruders, like the mailman, coming up the driveway. Meanwhile, he commanded the rear view from our bed, looking out through the sunroom for those pesky ducks and geese.

Life with Sam was never dull. I suspect our friends got tired of hearing about Liz’s “brother”.


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