My Dogs - A Lifetime of Wonderful Memories

Memoirs of John McTernan

      “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” Proverbs 12:10.

  "If your dog doesn't like someone, you probably shouldn't either."

  Late in 2005, I was rummaging through a huge box of family photographs. I was looking for a picture of my father and me when I was very young. I inherited a significant amount of photographs from my mother and grandmother. It had been many years since I looked through this box. As I was rummaging, I came across picture after picture of my dogs. Each picture caused me to pause and think about them, and the memories started to flood into my mind.

Me and Brummer: The Day She Patrolled Halls

I decided to collect the photographs of each dog and place them in my family album. Then I decided to write down the name of each dog and a few thoughts, and that is how my memoirs were born. As I thought about each dog, more and more memories came until I had enough to fill a booklet. It is wonderful to have so many memories.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing these memoirs which captured a significant part of my life. The memories made me smile and laugh. They made me melancholy, as I thought about my youth and growing up. The dogs still bring tears to my eyes when I think about their passing away. These were my friends, and in some cases, my best friend. Every one of them still lives in my memories. I thank God for each one of them. They brought joy to me and an everlasting friendship that will last as long as I can think. And, by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ into eternity.

I could not write these memoirs about my dogs without first mentioning my father, Francis Joseph McTernan, and grandmother, Elizabeth Kane. They both always loved dogs, and I seemed to have picked this love up from them. I think more from my dad.  He had dogs when he was young in Ireland . My grandmother and grandfather John Kane also were from Ireland . When I was young, my dad told me lots of stories about his dogs. I remember the stories about his Greyhounds chasing rabbits. Dogs and Irish people seem to go together. So, I guess I was destined to love dogs. It is in my Irish blood lines!

I have continually had at least one dog since 1958, usually more than one. The following is a chronological list of my dogs with some memories for each. Each dog had an outstanding characteristic or two which I listed. When you live with a dog, just like a person, you can identify outstanding characteristics. I am so glad to have pictures of all the dogs. Some pictures are included so you can see the dogs I have written about.

  Pixie: 1958-59. Small mutt. Outstanding characteristic: I was too young to determine one.

  I remember the day we went to a pet shop and picked her out of a group of pups. It was on Newbridge Ave , East Meadow , NY . It was 1958 and I was 10 years old. I was so excited this was my first dog. My mother picked Pixie out a group of puppies that were in a fenced area. Pixie really took to my mother and kind of ignored me.

I once put the pick-up nozzle of a vacuum cleaner on Pixie and that seemed to end any chance of a close friendship. One day, she got out of the house and a car killed her just down the block from our home. The driver was really upset. My stepfather got a box and put her in it. He then buried her in our backyard at 2609 Susan Dr , East Meadow , NY . It was the first time I came face to face with death and did not like it. I still do not like it, who does!

  Princess: 1960-75.  Mostly black, mutt fox terrier.  Outstanding characteristic: friendship, loyalty.

  We grew up together. Princess was my best friend. My father, not my step-father, found her in Manhattan near where he worked. A bunch of kids were playing with her. She was just a very young pup. Dad talked with them about the pup, and found she was living in a coal bin. None of the kids could keep her.

He immediately thought of a dog for Johnny, that is what he still calls me to this day. He paid the kids five dollars for the pup and also bought them some food. To me, this was a great deal. At first, dad had no idea what color the pup was because she was covered with coal. He had to wash her a few times to get all the coal off. It turns out she was mostly black.

My mom and dad did not talk, so I was the go between with the dog. At first, my mother was not interested in getting a pup, but she soon had a change of heart. My mom also had a soft heart for dogs, and I think she missed Pixie and wanted a dog.

Dad called and told me he was on the way. He mentioned there was something special about this pup. I can still remember him saying a few times, “she is a beauty”. I was so excited waiting for my dad to arrive. I can still remember sitting by the front window and waiting for him. Finally, his car pulled up, and he arrived with the pup. The pup was a female and mostly a fox terrier. My dad let me choose the name; however, I do not remember why I picked the name Princess. But, a Princess she was.

What memories of this dog. What a friend, my best friend. We were inseparable.  She slept with me all the time. She had to be locked up, if I went out, because she would try and track me down. If Princess got out of the house, she would go to my best friend, Jimmy Deines’ house, on her own, looking for me! If I was not there, Mrs. Deines would tell her to go home, I was not there!

My dad had a dog named Teeny. He would come to visit me and we would take the two dogs with us. Dad liked to walk in the woods and of course the dogs came with us.  Princess loved to hunt squirrels. We lived in the country and Princess taught dad’s dog to hunt and tree squirrels. Once they started after the squirrels there was no stopping them.  I would really enjoy seeing my dad and taking the dogs with us. I was so very happy with my dad and the dogs.

Later, dad had a second dog named Baby. This dog was a very gentle female German Shepherd. Teeny trained Baby to hunt squirrels! Dad said he would take them in the park to play, and the dogs would go crazy chasing the squirrels. The mere sight of a squirrel would set his dogs off! This all went back to Princess!

I still remember the day Princess was chasing a squirrel and a car hit her. I could see it coming. I hollered and hollered but she kept running and went directly under the car. She was running with her head up looking at the squirrel as it ran along telephone wires. I watched the car run right over her. There was nothing I could do to stop it.

I ran to her and, to my amazement, she was still alive. The driver was crying he was so upset. I told him it was not his fault and to go. I was crying. My friend Jimmy Deines was with me.  He had his car, and immediately we drove her to the veterinarian. I really loved this vet (I can still see his face and the location of his office in Smithtown , NY but can’t remember his name.) The vet said Princess had a broken back and a 50/50 chance of living. He had to keep her overnight to set her back. She lived!

I took Princess home and kept her on a pillow until the back healed. We had to carry her outside to do her business, which she would only do for me! My mother was amazed, as the dog would hold herself until I took her outside. She fully recovered.

I would ride my bike all over and take her with me. The way I traveled with her was to wrap her around my neck. I would hold her feet with one hand the bike handle with the other. She would not move at all, and I never dropped her. When I began to drive a car, she would go all over with me. She loved car rides and would jump in the back and lay up on the back window sill.

There are so many stories about Princess. She was a big time rat hunter. One day, there was a big pipe in the back of our property, and she was barking and carrying on around it. We were having trouble with rats in the area, and I figured she had trapped a rat. The pipe must have been six feet long. I pick the pipe up and could feel something sliding inside. I turned the pipe up and the object slid out. I watched Princess as she crouched real low and waited. Out came this rat and as it hit the ground she grabbed it by the back of the neck, shook it violently, and flung it in the air. She again crouched low and grabbed the rat as it hit the ground the second time. She was amazingly fast and the rat did not have a chance.

Princess was also a big time mole hunter! Our back yard was full of moles, and they did a lot of damage to the lawn and shrubs. As the moles traveled underground, they would slightly raise the ground about them. Princess picked up on this and would follow a mole, and then she would figure out the path it was taking. She then started to dig a hole in its path. When mole came out in the hole, she would grab it, and shake it violently, and fling it up into the air. I watched in amazement as Princess hunted these moles. No one taught her to do this; she learned this all on her own. I had to fill in all the holes she dug, but it was worth it as she got rid of all the moles.

The town I lived in went from country to suburban, seemingly overnight. Princess had a difficult time adjusting to our new neighbors and their animals. One day the neighbor across the street came over and talked with me. He said Princess was raiding his chicken coop, and he tried everything to keep her out! He liked her and did not want to hurt her, so he was putting a cement footer around the coop so she could not dig underneath the fence! That was the way she was getting into his chicken coop.

Soon after this incident, a neighbor down the street came to the house and he was furious. He threatened to kill Princess; in fact, he wanted me to bring her out so he could shoot her! He had large white ducks which were fenced in. Princess would climb the fence, yes climb it, and chase his ducks all around the yard. I do not think she killed a duck.  He wanted her real bad. I chased him away from our house.

My sister vividly remembers this incident, and said she was very scared. She was about five at the time and remembers him yelling he wanted to kill Princess. She heard him hollering about wanting to shoot Princess. Whatever happened I do not remember, but there was no more trouble with Princess and his ducks. There are so many memories about this dog.

One day, mom took my brother, Bob, to a little league game. Princess went with them. Mom came back a few hours later all excited, and said Princess had jumped out the window and ran into a swampy area. She called and called and looked all around, but there was no sign of Princess. I could not believe that my mother left without Princess.  I would have stayed in the woods all night to locate her. I yelled at mom for coming home without the dog.

I knew where the ball field was, and it was a good ways away. I jumped in the car and with tears in my eyes raced to the ball field. When I got there, Princess was sitting in the parking lot! I pulled up and opened the door, and she leaped into the car. She was so happy to see me. She kissed and licked me and cried. I guess she was afraid of being left. When I got home, mom was so excited that I found Princess. She had tears in her eyes thinking that Princess was lost. Whew that was close.

Princess was never close to Grandpa Kane. He did not like dogs in the house. Grandpa was a farm boy from Ireland , and believed that dogs should live outside. That is what grandma told me.

When I was about 13, I moved in with my grandparents. Looking back on this time, grandpa made an exception and allowed me to have Princess in the house. He never said a word about her in the house, but I knew he did not like dogs in the house. So, for my sake, he allowed Princess to live in his house. I never realized this until now. More than 40 years later, I just came to realize what Grandpa Kane did for me. When I came to live with Grandpa and Grandma Kane, I guess it was a package deal, me and Princess. Grandpa John Kane really loved me, and I loved him. My parents named me John after Grandpa Kane.

Grandpa never took much interest in Princess, and in fact, ignored her. When he became real sick and was dying Princess devoted herself to him. She never left his side. He became very close with Princess. She wanted to be in the bed with him all the time, or she would lay on the floor next to his bed. Grandma pointed this out to me. Whatever way Grandpa turned, Princess moved to the way he faced. He would put his hand down over the bed and pet her. He did not like dogs in his bed, but now Princess was an exception. She wanted to get in the bed with him all the time.

Princess and I were in the room when Grandpa Kane passed away. I took her out of the bedroom and brought her upstairs. I then came back down and was alone with grandpa. After grandpa passed away, life was never the same, even these so many decades later. I am so happy Princess gave grandpa such comfort during his illness. Truly dogs are man’s best friend. I am so glad grandpa loved Princess at the end.

I went away to college and Princess stayed with grandma. She then, kind of, became grandma’s dog. Grandma loved dogs, and she really loved Princess. In a way, we shared her.  What greetings I would get from Princess when I came home from college. After marrying, I had my own house.  I then wanted to take Princess, but grandma asked me not to. We had a long discussion about Princess, and grandma said she was very attached to the dog. At this time, I had two other dogs, so three would have been too much, so Princess stayed with grandma. Princess was still my best friend.

Princess died of old age right around Christmas 1975. My cousin, James Quinn, buried her in grandma’s back yard at 1229 Terry Road , Ronkonkoma , NY . I never asked grandma for the location. I just did not want to know where Princess was buried. At 27 years of age, I cried over that dog. Later in life, I shed many tears over my other best friends.


Sugar: 1968-75(?), mutt smallish and the color of brown sugar.  Outstanding characteristic: nervous.

  I worked in an Exxon gas station on the corner of the South Service Road of the Long Island Expressway and Old Nichols Road in Hauppauge , NY . There was a Shell Station next to where I worked. Sugar belonged to the Shell Station. She was about two years old, beaten, and mistreated. I was very angry the way they treated Sugar. She was afraid of everyone and starving. It was easy to see she was mistreated.

It took a while to gain Sugar’s trust. I would feed her and finally gained her trust. Sugar would come over to me, and we became friends. She even let me pet her. She began to spend most of her time with me and even followed me to the gas pumps. We became good friends, and as I remember, Sugar only let me get close to her.

One day, my mother came for gas. Sugar was with me at the gas pump. I opened the back door to mom’s car and put Sugar in. Mother was questioning me, and saying, no, no, not another dog. I told her just take Sugar home, and I would explain. When I got home, Sugar was with grandma. They fast became friends. Sugar was very nervous and never got over this nervousness. She did not like strangers. She loved us, but when company came, she went off by herself.

I had a friend who owned a gas station. His nick name was “Greasy John” because he looked like he always needed a shower. John came to the house a few times, and immediately, Sugar would attack him. John never did any thing to her, but the mere sight of John upset Sugar. I think John smelled of grease gas, and it reminded her of the gas station where she was mistreated.

Sugar just stayed with grandma. She got along real well with Princess. Sugar was a real house dog and was happy just with grandma. As Sugar got older, she became nasty and aggressive with kids. Grandma did not like that, and she was afraid Sugar would bite the neighbor’s kids. These children were spending more and more time with grandma.

I came over one day and Sugar was gone. Grandma had her put down because of how vicious she became toward kids. It was a sad day, and I had hard feelings toward grandma for doing that without talking it over with me. I would have tried to find a home for Sugar, even if I had to take her. My daughter Rachel was not born yet.

  Brummer: 1971-77, Pedigree German Shepherd. Pedigree name: Brummer of Prucklish. Outstanding characteristic: Warrior and loyal.

  My grandma’s nick name as a child was “Brummer.” No one knew how she obtained this name or what it meant. Brummer was my first pedigree dog, so I thought it would be cute to name her after grandma. Prucklish was grandma’s home town in Ireland . She thought it was very funny to name a dog after her like this. Now, most people might not like a dog named after them, but grandma loved dogs and thought it was funny.

Brummer was a handful. She was high-strung and could be vicious, although she never bit anyone. I was tense with her, but that dog loved me. When I went out, she would sit for hours by the door waiting for me to return.

When Brummer was about a year old, I went back to college for a visit and stayed with my old roommates. Brummer and I stayed in my old room. I went out for breakfast and left Brummer in the room. I knocked on each roommates door and told them to leave her alone and do not go near her. Naturally, one did not listen to my advice and opened the door. Brummer came out after him, chased him down the hall to his room, nipping his butt on the way! Brummer was now loose, and she trapped all my old room mates in their rooms. She would not let them out of their rooms! They were all trapped. She patrolled the hallway growling at their doors.

I was away for about two hours and when I came back, Brummer greeted me at the door. I knew there was trouble. I heard my roommates hollering, “Is that you John!” They all had to go to the bathroom; Brummer would not let them out of their rooms. She was growling at their doors! They all ran to the bathroom and were fighting to be the first in. I was laughing hard at this situation. It was so funny seeing four men fighting to be the first in the bathroom. In my presence, she was calm and friendly with them. One or two even managed to pet her.

My brother had a friend Craig. He was afraid of Brummer. She sensed this fear and would terrorize him. She never bit him, but he was really scared of her. One day, I was visiting my mother’s and Craig came. He did not know I was there. Brummer was loose and they met face to face. Poor Craig ran for his life with Brummer after him. When it came to Craig, Brummer would not listen to me. He ran to the side door of mom’s house and actually kicked it in with one motion. He never stopped running, but on the run, he just kicked the door in. Brummer chased him right into the house. She did not bite him. During this incident, I think if Brummer really wanted, she could have bitten him, and it would have been his butt!

Brummer had two pups, and what an irony as Craig took one. He loved that dog from Brummer. Craig then lost his fear of Brummer, and at the end they got along fine. I can still see the fear on Craig’s face the time Brummer chased him into the house. I was really afraid she would bite Craig, but she never did. Thinking back, maybe it was just a game with Brummer.

Brummer would steal food off the oven and table. She was real sneaky, and I never caught her in the act. I fixed her but good. I made a sandwich and loaded it up with ever awful tasting food I could find. On the outside, I spread honey all around. On the inside, it was loaded with hot peppers and Tabasco sauce and whatever other nasty things I could find. I laid the sandwich on the counter and went into the bedroom. Sure enough she took the bait and stole it. I found the sandwich on the floor with a big bite out of it. She was gasping for water. Her tongue was out of her mouth and she was panting. I would not give her any water to fix her. It worked and that was the last time she stole our food.

Rachel was born while I had Brummer. Brummer loved her and came running whenever Rachel cried. She would try to lick Rachel through the side of the crib. She wanted to lick Rachel all the time. As Rachel got older, I became nervous. Brummer did nothing to even suggest she would hurt Rachel, but the dog was so high strung. I was uneasy with her. I was afraid. My father agreed to take Brummer.

Dad had a German Shepard named Baby. Brummer and Baby were best friends. One day, Brummer got out and was killed by a car right in front of my dad’s house. My dad and Ann, my step-mother, were heart broken. He buried Brummer in his backyard in Palenville , NY .


Mac: 1972-84, Mutt mostly German Shepherd. He was mostly black. Outstanding characteristic: gentlemen.  Nickname: Mackie, Macster.

  I named him Mac for McTernan. What a dog Mac was! The best way to describe him was a gentleman. He really was. Nancy, my wife, found him where she worked in Lake Ronkonkoma , NY before we were married. He was a real young pup, and she kept him in her car. He was used to eating old bread and at first would not eat good food.

You had to love Mac. He was really the opposite of Brummer. I had Mac and Brummer at the same time. He was totally laid back and did not have a mean bone in him. He and Brummer got a long fine.

Mac virtually never barked. In fact, it was odd to hear his bark. One day, the neighbor’s kid was wearing a costume and walking past our house making a weird noise. Mac was at the front window growling and carrying on with the hair up on his back. I ran to see what was going on because of the way Mac was acting. It was so strange to hear him bark and growl. I think it was the first time I actually heard Mac growl. Here, the neighbor’s kid was dressed like a monster or spaceman and Mac was all upset. I laughed and laughed.

We lived near a small lake, in North Patchogue, NY called Canaan Lake . Mac loved to swim and fetch sticks out of the water. There were two swans in the lake, and they hated Mac. They would hiss at him and were aggressive with him.

One day, the two swans were flying low and gliding into the lake. They looked down and saw Mac. I had taken him for a walk. The swans lowered their heads and started to hiss at Mac. I could see their tongues hanging out of their mouths. They weren’t looking at where they were flying and were heading right for telephone lines! When they looked up, I could clearly see the panic in the swan’s faces! With everything they had, they furiously flapped their wings to get over the wires. They just cleared the wires and landed in the lake. They then swam back to us and continued to hiss at Mac. He just ignored them.

Mac loved watermelon. I mean loved it. During the summer, we would sit on the front steps and eat watermelon. Mac would sit in front of me, begging. I would throw him the rind with some red melon on it. He would take that rind in his paws and lick all the melon off it. You could see the delight in his face. He just loved watermelon. When Mac finished, there was no red to be seen.

The neighbors across the street had a big nasty black German Shepherd. One day the dog came on our property and urinated a gallon or two on a bush. Mac went over and urinated after him. The dog turned back and attacked Mac. In a flash, Mac was on his back with this nasty dog at his throat. Mac never fought back. He just did not have a mean bone in him. I ran to help Mac and got that dog off him. I then put a fence around the property, in part, to protect Mac from that nasty dog.

One of the funniest incidents involved Brummer’s pups. Brummer had two huge pups (One I gave to Craig). Mac was so curious of them. When they cried, he would get all upset. When the pups started to walk, they began to think Mac was their mother. They would try and nurse off Mac. Poor Mac as these pups were after him. They had razor sharp teeth, and he would howl when they got him. One day he was painfully crying, and I went running to him. Here both pups were hanging on to his sides with their razor teeth dug into him. Ole Mac just stood there crying in pain. I gently loosened the pups from him. After that, I had to set up a fence to keep the pups away from Mac.

Mac loved car rides. He would sit up in the passenger seat with his head held high. It gave him a regal look. He would look around as you were driving. When you stopped, he would look at the vehicle next to you. People would wave and talk to him. One day, I drove off with him next to me. I did not fully close the door, as I turned the corner, Mac fell out. I was not going fast, but I was terrified he was hurt. I jammed on the breaks and ran around the van. There was Mac standing on the side of the road. I checked him over and all seemed OK. I put him back in the van and off we went, just like nothing happened.

Mac loved the ocean. Nancy would make a picnic type dinner and have the kids ready when I came home from work. We put Mac and the kids in the van and off we would go to the ocean. There was a certain point in Westhampton Beach that Mac could smell the salt air and would go wild. He knew where we were heading. At the ocean, he had a ball. He loved the water and waves and would swim out into the breakers to get a ball. He had no fear of the ocean. I loved going to the ocean just because of Mac. Mac never tired of playing ball; he would fetch a ball or stick all day long.

Mac grew old and couldn’t get around.  He was in pain. This condition came on him fast. I took him to the vet (can’t remember his name but he was in Setauket , NY . I had complete trust in this vet.) I had to carry Mac into the van, as he had no strength. I went into the vet’s and explained his condition. Two workers came out with a small stretcher and very gently put ole Mac on it and carried him in and laid him on a table.

The vet came and examined Mac. He was very kind and to this day I remember that vet. He said that Mac’s kidneys had failed, and he did not have much longer to live. The vet said he could keep Mac alive for a couple weeks to a few months, but that was the best he could do. I asked the vet what he would do, and he suggested putting Mac down.

Never did I dream I’d have to make a decision like this. I was speechless, and asked the vet if he would leave me and Mac alone for a few minutes. The vet went into the next room. I told Mac I loved him and wouldn’t do anything to hurt him. I put my hand under Mac’s chin and held his head. I looked him the eyes and said, “Mac do you want to live?”  He lifted his head out of my hand and looked away to my right. I put my hand again under his chin and looked him in the eye once again. I asked the same question. He again took his head out of my hands and looked to my right. I said OK Mac; I’ll do the best for you.

I called the vet back in and said it is time to put him down. The vet once again said it was the only thing to do. The vet got a needle. I still had my hand under Mac’s chin. I gently held his chin. The vet put the needle in his back someplace and Mac’s head just slowly fell. I held him all the way down to the table top. I looked in his eyes all the way down. On the bottom his eyes looked just like when it started. There was no indication he had passed away. The vet got his scope and listened to Mac’s heart. He then said Mac had passed away. I started to shake and cry. Mac was my friend not just a dog.

The vet said the law required that he had to cremate Mac. I told him there was lots of land on my farm and asked if he could be buried on the farm. He asked how much land, and I said three acres. He agreed. Together we put Mac in a plastic bag.

The vet put his hand on my shoulder and said, “When the Good Lord made dogs it wasn’t with a long life span”, and “remember him as your friend.” I went to pay and could not. This had traumatized me. I had to give the permission to euthanize one of my best friends. He was not just a dog but part of the family. Mac was like one of my children. I took the check book out and started to write. Tears flowed and covered the check. I asked his assistant to fill out the check which she did. Alone, I carried Mac and placed him in the back of the van.

I was crying so hard I had to stop driving a few times and pull over to the side of the road. I got home and Nancy and the kids greeted me. Everyone started crying. I asked them to go inside. I buried Mac just outside the fence that surrounded the back of the house. I buried him next to Scottie.

If you do not love dogs I guess what I wrote was nonsense or foolish. I love dogs and this traumatized me. Dogs feel our love. There is a special bonding between people and dogs. They feel our love and we theirs. They become part of the family. Anyone that mistreats a dog, I think something is wrong with them. My dad told me not to trust anyone who mistreats a dog. I held this belief all my life. I could never be a friend of someone who mistreated a dog.


Scottie: 1981-84, Mutt mostly Scott Terrier.  Small and black in color. Outstanding characteristic: Mischievous, fun, and stubborn.

Scottie! Wow, he just exploded into our lives. One day, he just ran into our house. It was during the summer and we had the front door open and in popped Scottie. I have no idea where he came from. He was young and had no identification. Instantly, he became part of the family. Because he looked so much like a Scott Terrier, naturally we called him Scottie. He was full of life and lots of fun to be around. He was by far the most stubborn dog I had. He was very smart and stubborn which was a nasty combination.

When I was driving, Scottie would stand on the back seat, lean forward and rest his head on my shoulder. I’d drive all around with Scottie’s head resting on my right shoulder. He loved to go for rides. He just loved to be with us.

He loved the kids, and Nancy would walk him and the kids to school. He found the way to the school which was big trouble. We let him out in the morning, but he refused to come back in. He would wait outside for the kids and then go ahead of them to the school. One day, he went into the school and ran through the halls! I would let him out real early and then get him back in so he would not be able to follow the kids. He got smart to that and no matter how early I let him out; he refused to come back in the house.

He then started to stay out at night. He would bark and bark all night long. I remember wanting to club him. I was upset with him staying out and barking. I would lie in bed hearing him bark. He seemed to be out of control. At this time, we had about two dozen chickens. One day, Nancy said most of our chickens were missing. I did a head count and about half were gone. There were raccoons in the area, and I figured they were the chicken bandits.

I bought a have-a-heart trap and set it up where the chickens entered the coop. The first night I caught our cat. The second night, there was a loud commotion outside and here Scottie had two raccoons on the run. That was why he was barking all night long! He was battling the raccoons! I named the raccoons Bonnie and Clyde .

The next night I made sure Scottie was inside. I set the trap with a raccoon’s banquet. I listened and heard a commotion. Scottie and I ran out and into the coop and here was Clyde , a huge male raccoon. Clyde was huge because he feasted on my chickens. He had pushed the trap aside and tore the wing off my favorite chicken. Yeah, we named our chickens. This one was old and we named her Grandma.

Scottie was going wild. He was now face to face with his public enemy number one. The raccoon was huge, at least three times Scottie’s size. I feared he’d kill Scottie. I tried to get Scottie out of the coop, but he wanted to tangle with that raccoon real bad. All I could do was try and keep Scottie away and keep the raccoon blinded with my flashlight.  The raccoon was really agitated and was prancing back and forth.

Finally, the raccoon went out of the coop. Scottie was waiting outside and ambushed it. The raccoon was three times Scottie’s size, but that didn’t matter. The best way to describe what Scottie did was a football tackle. Scottie hit that raccoon at full speed, and I could hear the collision. The raccoon ran into the brush and went for the trees with Scottie after him in attack mode. Even with my flashlight I could not follow them but only heard the action. Then just silence. The raccoon went up a tree. Scottie was running around barking up at the trees. I searched and searched but could not find the raccoon.

For the longest time I hunted that coon. Finally, way up at the top of a tall Long Island pine tree, two red eyes were looking at me. This is a real smart raccoon as it was hugging the tree. One blast of the shotgun was all it took to put Clyde out of action. Bonnie never did come back.

After work the next day, I hacked my way through the brush and found the raccoon. I dragged him out. Scottie got real low and slowly approached Clyde . He’d sniff and jump back. He’d move closer, sniff, and jump back. Then Scottie got close and sniffed the coon all over realizing it was dead.

The battle was over and the chickens were once again safe. Scottie was a hero after all. He was absolutely fearless to attack that raccoon. I’ll never forget the sound of that impact when Scottie hit Clyde at full speed. The battle was on.

Scottie would never listen and would wander around the property and sometimes out on the road. One day a car came down our driveway. I went outside to see who it was. When I went outside, there was Scottie sitting by the door. He did not look right. The people asked if that was my dog. I said yes. They said a car had just hit him and they were eyewitnesses. They said Scottie was standing in the middle of the road, on the line between lanes, and a car purposely swerved and ran him over. Scottie staggered up the driveway. They followed him all the way to the house and were angry at the driver who did this.

I looked Scottie over and he looked fine. He was not acting right, but he looked fine. I thanked the people and then took Scottie right to the vet. The vet looked him over and said he appeared to be OK. We left him with the vet. Later in the afternoon, the vet called and said he had bad news. Scottie had passed away. He had internal injuries and when his blood pressure rose, he bleed to death. The vet allowed me to take Scottie’s body, and I buried him in the back yard just outside the fence.

I felt a lot of guilt about Scottie’s death because he was loose. But, he was so stubborn. He would listen to no one. He was not a house dog but loved the outside. Scottie was so much fun. Who could kill a pet like that? What kind of heartless person could swerve to kill a small dog on the road? I wonder if that driver has ever thought about killing Scottie. Maybe God used this cruel act to convict him of his hardness of heart, and the need for the Lord Jesus to soften it.

Mac died soon after Scottie. I buried them both next to each other right across from the Center Moriches High School off Frowein Ave. I did not have a street address at this time.

About a year later, we moved to Tennessee . When driving down the driveway for the final time, I looked to my left where they were buried. The last thing I thought of was Ole Mac and Scottie. They were such fun and good friends.


Taffy: 1985-96, Pedigree Welsh Corgi. Pedigree name: Taffy of the Moriches. Outstanding characteristic: She was a lady almost dignified. Nickname: Her ladyship.  

Taffy was named after Nancy . One of Nancy ’s nicknames as a kid was Taffy. We lived in Center Moriches, NY at the time, thus she was named Taffy of the Moriches. I took the deaths of Scottie and Mac very hard. I did not want another dog right away. After a while, Nancy began talking about the Welsh Corgi breed. She had been reading about these type dogs. I never heard of this breed and did some research on it.

I found a breeder in Dix Hills , NY . She had some pups available so I went over to her house for a look. She had about four left and let me pick one. I chose Taffy. Taffy at this time was about two weeks old. We figured that around Christmas would be the best time to take her. I said nothing to Nancy about this and kept it as a surprise.

We decided to visit Nancy ’s parents in West Virginia for Christmas. I called them and told them about the surprise. The breeder’s place was on the way to West Virginia .  I told Nancy I had to stop at someone’s home to drop off something for work. I went into the house, and the breeder had Taffy wrapped like a Christmas present. I went back to car and told Nancy she had to see something in the house. Nancy came in and saw the Corgis pup. The breeder was holding Taffy. Nancy pointed and said a Corgi pup! I told her it was hers. She was so excited that she didn’t even hear me say it was hers. She asked if she could hold the pup and I said yes, it was yours. Nancy was dumbfounded. What a surprise Taffy was.

Taffy turned out to be a lady. She was very big for a Corgi, but always a lady. Her ears never stood up like a normal Corgi. They flapped over and hung by the side of her face. Taffy loved to play ball and would play soccer with the kids. My memories of her are always linked to the kids. Nancy and the kids took her for obedience training and no way. Taffy was not going for that.

She was smart, real smart. She knew we hated her to drink out of the toilet bowl. When she wanted water, she would go into the bathroom and threaten to drink out of the bowl! She would look back at us with a smirk on her face like she was saying: See what I’m about to do! We would quickly get fresh water for her to drink.

I let her out at night and often she would not come back in. I would call and call and nothing. It turned out she was in the woods just outside the house and did not want to come in. I would call Taffy, treat for you, and then she would come running. She would come for the treat and nothing else. She went everywhere with us and was just part of the family. What a nice loving dog she was.

Oh, one thing about Taffy. She loved the winter. There was a small hill a short way from our front door. When there was snow, Taffy loved to get on her back and slide down the hill! It was amazing to watch her play sled with the kids.

Old man age caught up with her. She became sick. The vet did not know what was wrong, but she was failing. She went fast. She was having trouble and was in discomfort one night. I was going to take her to the vet the next day. I dreaded this, because it surely meant putting her down.

She was in such discomfort that I stayed up with her all night. Toward daybreak, she had trouble breathing. I picked her up and held her in my arms, petted, and talked to her. It was in the basement, not more than five feet from where I’m writing this. As I held her, she passed away.

I waited a while to make sure she had passed away and carried her to the pine tree line in front of my house at 311 Cocolamus Creek Rd , Millerstown , PA. I buried her in line with the trees. I buried her close to her son, Bart. I was so happy she had died in my arms on her own, and I didn’t have to give that dreadful order to the vet.


Bart: 1987-94. Pedigree Welsh Corgi, light tan in color just like his mother.  Pedigree name: Mac’s Bartimaeus.  Outstanding Characteristic: Intelligence and peacemaker.  Nickname: Bartie.  

Bart was Taffy’s son. Taffy had a litter in Tennessee , and we chose Bart from it. I named him after the blind Bible character named Bartimaeus. I just thought it was a unique name. When Bart was born we were in the process of moving to Harrisburg , PA. We had to delay our move until Bart was old enough to travel. Dogs come first.

What a wonderful dog he was. He was so smart and learned trick after trick. He was very close with my son John. John taught him all sorts of tricks like closing the door. If you asked Bart to close the door, he would get behind it and stand on his hind legs. He would then hop, push against the door and close it.

The greatest thing about Bart was his greeting. When we would come home, he would greet us at the door and say “hello!” I am not making this up. The entire family was a witness to this. He would twist his head and make a sound which clearly came out as “hello.”

He was also a great peacemaker. He would not tolerate any loud noise or fighting. Bart would get between whoever was yelling and his presence would stop the yelling. He wouldn’t bark or do anything but just stand there. He took on humanness. There was something about him that made you feel he could understand us as humans. He was like no other dog I had. He was an amazing dog.

Like Taffy, all my memories of Bart are connected with the kids. He would go swimming with them and hikes. I do not have a great number of individual things to write about Bart, but that does not truly reflect on how special this dog was. The dog would amaze me every day how smart and human like he was. Bart was very special like Mac. I think Bart and Mac were very similar.

One day Bart started coughing. That is not good when dogs do this. I took him right the vet. It turned out to be throat cancer. I took him to a specialist in Philadelphia but the veterinarian could do nothing for him. The tumor was growing and choking him.

The dreaded day came and the vet had to put him down. I remember what happened with Mac, so I paid the vet in advance. I asked the vet to take one last look at his throat to make sure there was no hope. I held Bartie and the vet looked. He said there was no hope. I told him to put Bartie down. That was the last thing I said to the vet. I held Bart in my arms and the vet gave him the shot. I felt the life go out of him. The vet checked to make sure Bart had passed away.

I buried him in front of the house in Millerstown, at the pine tree line. Some years later, I would bury his mother near him. The trees I buried them between are gone now. A bug killed them. I do not know exactly where I buried the dogs. When I cut the grass or walk in that area, I wonder where they are buried. Like all my other dogs, I don’t forget them.


Buddy:  1994-95. Pedigree: English Staffordshire Bull Terrier.  Chestnut red. Pedigree name: Buddy (Can’t remember the rest) Outstanding characteristic: crazy.  

I worked with a man named Tony Vuich. Tony loved dogs and was a virtual walking canine encyclopedia. He raved about the Staffy Bull Terriers and would tell me story after story about these dogs. Bart had passed away and I was looking for a second dog. So based on all Tony had to say about the Staffy Terriers, I found a pup in Lazella , GA.

Buddy came via airplane as a young pup. Everything was fine with him at first. He was great friends with John. Then as he got older it was clear he thought he was in charge of the house with Nancy . He became very jealous of her, and it got to the point he would charge anyone who got close to her.

One day John was playing on the floor and Nancy and Buddy were on the couch. John came close to Nancy . Buddy jumped off the couch and cut John near the lip. That was the final straw. I called the breeder who agreed to take Buddy back. It was very sad, because except when he was with Nancy , he was a nice dog.


Toby: 1992 to 2006.  Pedigree Bassett Hound, tan and white.  Pedigree Name: Unknown.  Outstanding characteristic: A number one character.  Nickname: The Big Boy, King of Beasts.  

Nancy worked with a woman who owned Toby. She did not want him. One day, Nancy just came home with him. He was three years old at this time. He was really something. He was very big for a Bassett Hound, and had the long drooping ears and sad eyes. There are so many stories about Toby as he truly was a character.

He loved Nancy and like Buddy would attack if I came near him. I found out later the previous owner had mistreated him. The dog was full of fear. I tried everything to make nice with him. I would give him treats. He would eat it, and then try to bite me at the same time. I was determined to win his love.

Toby was especially mean near his bed. If you went near him when he was on his bed, it was instant war. We had his bed in our bedroom. One night I got up for a bathroom run and came close to Toby. He charged off his bed and tried to bite me. That was the end of the line and I had enough. I don’t know if what I did next was correct, but it worked. I grabbed him by the neck and tail and body slammed him on the rug. I yelled you bad boy, this is my house and you won’t do this to me.

Ole Toby crawled out of the bedroom and down the hall toward the living room. I was hot after him. When we got to the kitchen, I stopped him and got a dog treat. He gulped it down along with a second one. This time he didn’t try to bite my hand. From that day on, he never again tried to bite or growl at me. I did not hurt him, just told him I was boss and his nonsense had to stop. Toby and I became great friends.

Toby loved to eat and many of the stories about him revolve around food. One day, I was in the house and heard this awful noise in the garage. I ran out and there was Toby crying and carrying on because he could not get the lid off the dog food. I keep the dog food in a garbage can in the garage. He wanted to snack but could not get the lid off. He was frustrated and had his teeth on the lid trying to rip it up and off! He was so upset his teeth were chattering! I just laughed and laughed at him.

Toby again was carrying on in the garage so I ran out. This time a woodchuck had gotten into the garage and Toby was warning us there was an intruder. He had the woodchuck cornered and was barking. I took Toby in the house and then opened the garage back door. It took a while, but I was finally able to get the woodchuck out. I watched it run off our property to the neighbor’s below us.

After about 10 minutes, I let Toby out. He sniffed all over the garage and followed the scent out the door. I watched as he made a zigzag movement and followed the direct path of the woodchuck. He went into the woods at the exact spot of the woodchuck. He would not listen and come back. I guess he tracked that chuck for a long time. Of all the dogs I had, none of them had a nose like Toby. The hounds have far greater smell than other dogs.

It was so nice to come home and have Toby greet you. In warm weather, he slept in the garage. Toby was always ready to greet you at the door. He was always so excited when you came home. I would holler sausage, as that was our name for treats. He would dance around and bark in excitement. When someone from the family drove away, he would follow them to the spot on the driveway where you could see down to the road. He would then cry and howl for a long time while looking down toward the road. It was his way of saying I miss you come back soon.

The neighbor above us on the ridge used to feed the black bears. We have bears in our area. The neighbor had a friend who worked for Hershey Foods. He would get barrels of caramel and put it out to feed the bears! Needless to say, I wasn’t happy about this.

One day, I’m standing in my driveway and here comes Toby heading home from the neighbors. He looked real funny with a huge lump on his nose. I thought bees had got him. He walked slowly past me and on to his bed in the garage.

I laughed so hard that I nearly “wet myself.” When he got close to me, I could see the lump was a wad of caramel! He had gotten into the neighbor’s caramel barrel and a huge wad was stuck on his nose. His tongue was licking it as he walked.  I followed him to his bed. He laid on his slide and used his paws to push the candy into his mouth! What a dog!

Toby loved my friend Boyd. I mean loved Boyd. Boyd once gave Toby some deer liver and onions, and it was true love after that. When Toby saw Boyd’s vehicle, he came a running. He would cry and carry on over Boyd. Boyd always seemed to have some sort of a treat for Toby. Toby would circle Boyd’s van crying and crying. Once he grabbed Boyd’s tool box with his teeth and pulled it out of the van. He was looking for treats.

Boyd used my garage to do repairs on his vehicle. One day, Boyd was using the garage, and I was in the house and heard Boyd hollering. Thinking there was something wrong, I ran to the garage. Here was Boyd lying on the floor partly under his vehicle and Toby was on top of him. Toby was crying and trying to lick Boyd! Boyd was hollering, “Toby leave me alone, get off me!” The dog was so excited to have Boyd down at his level. I had to bring Toby in the house, so Boyd could continue working.

Toby loved to go for rides. He could not get into the vehicle, so I had to pick him up and put him in. He loved the river and swimming. Most of all Toby loved food. He loved to eat. He would get into the garbage cans for a snack. He would try to open the feed barrel for a snack. He loved to lick the cat food cans clean. He was an eating machine.

His sense of smell was amazing. I could come and go out from the kitchen into the garage and he paid little attention. We had a compost pile on the side of the house. We kept a container in the kitchen for scraps. Every so often, I would take the scrap container and dump it into the compost pile. The instant I would come out of the door with the container, Toby jumped up and followed me to the pile. When the door opened, he immediately knew I had the compost container. He then would rummage through the pile for a gourmet snack.

A real exciting event happened while I was writing about him. I let him out and then took a bath. While in the tub, I could hear him crying. He cries when he wants in, so I did not pay much attention to it. But, the crying continued for a long time. I dressed and decided to find out what he was crying about. When outside, his crying sounded like it was on the road which is a long way from the house. My first thought, a car hit Toby, and he is hurt along the road.

I got down near the road, but then the crying seemed to be over by the neighbors. So, I walked over toward the neighbors. Then I heard one last cry, and it seemed to be back by my driveway. This was all so confusing to me, but I knew it was Toby’s cry.

At this point, I knew he was in trouble. I went to the driveway which I just had walked down and there was Toby. I had walked past him. He had walked on our small pond which was just off the driveway and the ice gave way. Only his head was out of the water, and he was holding on the side with his paws. He was finished and could not cry or hang on anymore.

I grabbed him and pulled him out of the pond. He was shaking and could not stand up. He was a load weighing about 70 pounds. I picked him up, cradled him in my arms and carried him toward the house. Between his weight and steep up hill walk, I failed to get him into the house. Nancy came and got him into the house. We soaked him in the tub with warm water. We got him downstairs and turned the heat up. For the first time ever, he failed to eat his dinner.

Toby seemed fine for a few days, but he started to fail. I took him to the vet. It turned out his liver was failing. Maybe the stress of the hypothermia damaged his liver. Toby did not live long and of all things, I gave the dreaded order to put him down.

I asked Toby’s friend Boyd to come with me. Boyd agreed and he made a difference as I held up better emotionally. I had my hand on Toby as he passed away. The veterinarian, Carney Shenk, was a good man. He could tell I was in emotional trouble and went out of his way to help me. I do not think Toby knew me at the end.

What irony, I saved Toby’s life and then three weeks later; I gave the order to put him down. I cradled him in my arms after pulling him out of the water; then cradled him in my arms out of the vet’s office to bury him. My son, Ben and I buried Toby in the general area of Bart and Taffy, by the pine tree line.

I am very happy Toby did not drown in the pond. If I heard him cry and then found him drown, how terrible. I gave Toby a chance with the vet, but his liver was gone. I will miss the way he greeted me when I came home, and the way he cried and howled when I left. Toby was loved to the last minute of his life. To this day, I miss Toby and still tell stories about him.


Belle  1997 to present.  Pedigree: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, brindle.  Pedigree name: Intrepid’s Southern Belle.  Outstanding characteristic: Intelligence and loving.  Nickname: Daddy’s Girl, Belly Button, Jezebelle and Piglet.  

What a dog Belle is. The breeder sent Belle as a replacement for Buddy. She came from the South so her name became Southern Belle. She is just like Bart in many ways. I did not have to train her, but she seemed to learn things on her own. She is very loving almost kind. Belle is very sensitive, and if I raised my voice at her that was enough for any needed discipline.

All I had to do was point down the hall and she would run and jump on my bed. If I pointed to the door she would go to it. If we were outside and I said “Go wee.” She would squat down.

She is a great athlete. She could jump on the kitchen table just like a cat. The power in her legs is unbelievable. Just standing next to the table, she can leap on top, and then eat the food on it! I had to break her of going on the tables and snacking on our dinner. Sometimes she was so excited when I’d come home, she would leap on the table to greet me.

Like Bart, she could talk. On her own, she learned to say, “I love you.” Everyone in the family heard her say “I love you.” We all said to Belle, “I love you.” She picked up on that and would say to us, “I love you.” You could clearly hear the words.

The power in her jaws was frightening. I was teasing her one day while eating a T-bone steak. She wanted some of that steak real bad. I put the bone in my hand and ran the shank under her nose. In a flash she grabbed the bone. In a reflex movement,, I tried to pull my hand away which tugged on the bone in her teeth. She locked up and did the Staffy Bull Terrier shakeout with me holding the bone. I could feel her power as she crushed the bone while it was sticking out of my hand. She broke the bone in half and then quickly chewed it up.

Belle loved to sleep on the beds or more accurately, sleep under the blankets. When it was cold, she would wait until I was in bed and then jump up. She would come up to my head and root around for the end of the blanket. She would paw open the blanket and then crawl down to the bottom of my feet and sleep. Belle snored something awful, and sometimes to make her stop, I’d wake her up.

If I asked her for a kiss, she would immediately lick my ear. She knew only the ears could be licked. If I said “is there anyone to give me a kiss”, she would come running, jump on me, and give me a kiss. In the morning, she would lay on my chest like she was giving me a hug and cry. I actually believe it was her way of telling me she loved me!

She loves car rides and was really spoiled. I’d always take lots of treats with me. Every time I got back into the car I’d give her a treat. She really expected these treats, and if I forgot, she would go to the pocket I kept them in to remind me. Just like Taffy, she recognized treats with the word “sausage.” Like Taffy, sometimes the only way to get her to come was to say, “Sausage.” She would come running.

Oh yeah, my call to her was the “Wolf Whistle.” Ben had a friend over late one night. I had let Belle out the front door. In a few minutes, I called her to come in using the “Wolf Whistle.” I did not know Ben’s friend was standing behind me. He thought I was crazy. We live far off in the woods and it’s now 11 PM. I am standing at the door giving the “Wolf Whistle.” I heard Nancy explaining to him what I was doing. It was so funny with him standing there looking at me calling Belle with the “Wolf Whistle.”

Belle loved my friend Boyd. He seemed to have a way with dogs or it was the venison he occasionally gave her. She would show him affection. All I had to do was stare at her for loving up to Boyd and she would jump on my lap and start kissing me. I’d say to her, You JezeBelle, and she would jump all over me with kisses. She would be fussing with Boyd and all he had to say to her, “Irishman.” She would then spirit over to me and give me all sorts of affection, but then run back to Boyd. Belle is a very loving dog.

Belle is a Staffy Bull Terrier and this can never be forgotten when she was with strange dogs. She looks like a miniature Pit Bull with powerful bulging muscles. If Belle was a football player, with her build and strength there is no doubt she would be a middle linebacker. The power and speed of the Staffy Bull Terriers is incredible.

Our neighbors had a small collie. This dog would come near our house and torment Belle. She would go crazy to get at this collie. The collie came over one day and Belle was loose outside. I could see it coming. Belle immediately charged after that dog. The collie ran for its life and took out like a rabbit with Belle right on his heels. She wanted him bad. He ran home yelping all the way. He ran around his house with Belle right on him. Finally, the neighbor opened the door and the collie sprinted in. Luckily, Belle never got a hold of that dog as the neighbors moved away.

One day, a raccoon wandered on to our property. It curled up right next to our basement window. I was in the basement and called my son Ben to see the raccoon. Belle came with him. Ben picked up Belle to look at the raccoon through the window. The coon was looking away. It heard us and turned.  The coon was now face to face with Belle with only the glass between them. I will never forget her reaction, as instantly, she was ready for war. She took a deep breath and swelled in size.  She showed her teeth, and lunged at the coon. I yelled for Ben to put her down. She was going to war with the coon.

I had a grim reaper horror mask, and one day as a joke, I snuck up on her with the mask on. I hid behind a corner and only showed her my face with the mask on. She instantly leaped to the attack and came charging at me to battle. I ripped the mask off and yelled, Belle, Belle. She stopped before she reached me.

Belle is fearless when it came to defending her home. With the power of her jaws, she could really put a hurting on an intruder, although I think she liked people too much to ever hurt anyone.

Belle is now 13 and deaf. She picked up hand signals real quickly, so now I communicate with her by theses signals. Even at a distance, she responds to the signals. As Belle responded to the signals, my other dogs also picked this up. So now, I just wave my hand, and the dogs understand what I want! It is really amazing how much I can communicate with the dogs by hand signals.


Samson  2005 to present. Pedigree: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, black & white.  Pedigree name: Cooks Mac’s Samson.  Outstanding characteristic: Manliness and athletic, Nickname: Mac Truck  

In January 2005, I was driving to Long Island , NY . I stopped at a gas station on I-78. It was at night, and I was the only one in the convenience store. A man came running into the store all excited. He was yelling, “Whose van is that?” I had parked my van directly in front and I could look at it. He was so excited, I thought there was an emergency and that perhaps my van was on fire. I peered at my vehicle and it seemed safe. He then came directly to me and asked if the van was mine. I said yes.

It turns out he raised Staffy Bull Terriers and saw Belle in the van. I was taking her with me on the trip. He really wanted to look at her. Belle, immediately, started to kiss and lick him. He liked her and said she was special. He looked at Belle’s head and knew immediately who the breeder was! His dog looked like Belle which gave him the clue of where Belle came from. He was correct about Belle’s breeder.

He said he had just bred his male. He had the pick of the litter, but was not interested in a dog right now. He offered the pup to me. How could I turn down a Staffy pup? I gave him my telephone number but really did not expect to hear from him again. At the end of April, he called and said the dog had seven pups, two males and five females, and early in May the pups would be ready.

The pups were in Hyde Park , NY which was a trip as I lived in central Pennsylvania . My son Ben went with me. Because I had Belle, my only choice was a male. There is a great danger of female Staffies fighting, so my only choice was a male.

Just as my Staffy friend said, there were seven pups, and I was given the pick of the litter. I held all the pups and one male had a huge chest. This pup seemed very gentle and showed no aggression with the other pups. My son liked the pup so this was the one we chose. The people who owned the pups asked me what I was going to name him. Because of his large chest and size, Samson came to mind. I said Samson and everyone liked the name. It stuck with him. Samson matured into a very big Staffy. He weighs well over 50 pounds with no fat on him. He is extremely muscular with bulging shoulder muscles. My dad says he is built like a race horse.

Right away, Belle liked Samson. There was no real problem with the two together. They play and play all day long. We had an old blanket for the dogs to lie on. Samson would lay on it and Belle would drag him all over the basement. It was so funny to see them play like this. Samson is very intelligent and also a great athlete. He can jump like no other dog I have ever seen. I never trained him to jump. He just started on his own. He goes over the restraining gates in our house just like they are not there. In fact, with him the gates are useless.

Samson caused Belle to really appreciate me. Belle became concerned with all the attention I was showing Samson. If I was sitting and Samson came near me, she would run and leap on my lap and cry and kiss me. Naturally, this stirred Samson, and he then wanted more attention. Sometimes both of them would leap on my lap and cry.

I found that when Belle and Samson seek my attention, it could lead to danger. On a few occasions, they became aggressive toward each other. This aggression was heading toward a fight. My way of controlling this aggression is by yelling, “No fighting.” Both of them understand exactly what this means. They immediately stop. Belle runs to me when I yell, “No fighting,” and she looks for my approval of her. I then pet them both and praise them for stopping.

Samson is very gentle and there is a kindness about him. Other dogs have growled at him, which scares me because of him being a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He just looks at the dog and ignores the growling. He wants to be with me all the time. He loves car rides and follows me all around the house. He is really a great dog and lots of fun.


Ming (Named by my daughter. It is a Chinese word that means bright) Christmas 2008 to present. Pedigree: Pug.  Outstanding characteristic: Lovable Nickname: Tiger Lilly  

Both my sister and daughter have pugs. My daughter had a baby, and she could not take care of her Pug called Gypie, so I took her. I just fell in love with the Pug. She was just like a baby. Naturally, I wanted a Pug. I decided to get my wife one for Christmas. I found an advertisement in the local paper for a four month old pug.

When I went to look at the dog, she was four years old and in terrible condition. I was shocked at the sight of her. She was used for breeding and her female organs were bulging. She lived in a barn and smelled awful. When I got home with her, my coat had to go right into the wash with the stench on it. She had no name. I was so angry at the breeder; it would not take much to verbally assault him. He wanted $400.00 for the dog. I could not leave her, as I viewed this as a dog rescue. After bargaining with him, I finally got her. She smelled so bad; I had to drive with a window open.

She immediately got a bath, and the water was so dirty it was like mud. She loved the water and laid down and did not want to move. She had No social skills at all and was wild. Ming learned very fast, as Belle brought her up to speed. Ming went for Belle’s food bowl and learned real quickly that was forbidden territory!

I took her to the veterinarian. She had every worm along with ear mites! Her neck was like leather, and the vet said that was caused by malnutrition! She needed an immediate hysterectomy but was too weak. The vet said Ming was in such bad condition that she would not have lived long.

Ming responded real quickly and soon became one of the family. She loves Samson and follows him around. She loves to jump on my lap and lay down. I cannot keep her off my lap. She cannot take any scolding. If I raise my voice to her, she lies down on the floor and crawls in circles. She learns quickly, and one scolding is enough for her to stay out of trouble.

I call her “Tiger Lilly” because at bedtime she wants to play. She will get her blanket or toy and start to shake it all around. This will go on for 30 minutes or so. It is so funny to watch her do this. The way she acts, it seemed that “Tiger Lilly” suited her. I called her Tiger or Lilly while the rest of the family calls her Ming.

It is really odd to see her with Samson. He is one big solid muscle, and she is so small. She sleeps with him and sometimes she will drape herself over him. He does not mind in the least. So in the morning there is Tiger draped over Samson sound asleep. One thing, she can snore something awful.


To make my life very complicated, I had to take Gypie back from my daughter. That meant I had four dogs. Then my in-laws were not able to take care of their dog, so Derek came to live with me. Derek was a Dachshund with an attitude. He thought the female dogs belong to him and would growl at Samson! I was terrified that Samson would attack Derek, but he just ignored Derek. I was able to get Derek to stop.

Derek was so stubborn. I would take him for a walk, and he would not listen and just kept going. He would look back at me and keep going. I found that if I got ahead of him and called, he would turn around to go home! I used his stubbornness against him.

I became great friends with Derek. He really bonded with me. Derek would sit up like a prairie dog when he saw me. He would wag his tail so hard that he would shake. I would pick him up and carry him all around. He loved to be held.

Derek was 10 years old, and I did not know he had a bad heart. He developed a real bad cough which turned out to be heart failure. At 2:00 AM, I made an emergency trip to the vet who was not very encouraging. For a few days he did real well. Derek then took a turn for the worse. He was coughing badly, and I was taking him back to the vet. My wife was holding him as we walked to the car. I looked at him and his tail was wagging away. I looked him right in the eyes as my wife gave him to me. I could see that he was excited because of me. I held him in my arms, and he then passed away wagging his tail.

The entire family was devastated. I knew where Toby was buried, so I took Derek and buried him right next to Toby. I can still see Derek’s eyes and feel his tail wagging. He was such a good friend. I really do miss him, and even now my eyes tear up.

At one time, I had Belle, Samson, Tiger-Lilly, Gypie and Derek. It was a house full. They all got along real well except at feeding time. I had to watch Belle and feed her separately, as she might attack the other dogs over food.


I have to mention one very funny story about Gypie. My wife worked in an assisted living home. The home allowed people to bring pets for the residents to play with. My daughter was visiting and went to see my wife at work. She brought Gypie with her and for some reason had the dog dressed like a baby! Yes like a baby even with a bonnet on its head! My wife was holding the dog just like a baby, when one of the female residents passed by and wanted to see the “baby.” The woman had dementia. My wife said the “baby” was her granddaughter. When the woman looked at Gypie, she put her hand to her mouth and gasped saying, “Oh, my, my.” A look of horror came over her, as she ran down the hallway muttering about the “baby!”  

Dogs have always been such a big part of my life. I could not imagine life without at least one dog. Every one of the dogs had different characteristics. When you live with a dog, the character soon is evident. There is a special relationship between man and dogs. There truly is a bonding with a dog. The adage is true: Dogs are man’s best friend.

After Princess passed away, my grandma continued with dogs. She had so many dogs that I lost count. At one time, she had at least four dogs. I cannot remember all their names, but I know she had a house full. They were all small dogs. She loved them and all the dogs got along fine. Grandma passed away in 1992.

My dad always had a few dogs. It seems he always had two at a time. One dog passed away and soon after there was a replacement. He had so many dogs that I lost count of them and their names. My father also has many stories about his dogs. I could write pages about his experiences with his dogs.

My favorite of dad’s dogs was his German Shepherd, Baby. What a dog she was! The best way to describe Baby was a female Mac. My dad is almost 90. He now has one dog named Teddy a small Terrier. If I know my dad, I’m sure I’ll soon hear from him that he just got a second dog.

Teddy passed away and true to form, Dad soon got not one but two dogs! He found Louie, a Cairn terrier, and Holly, a Boston terrier. Holly loved Dad and wanted to stay with him. Dad slowed down and stayed in bed. Holly was right there with him.

Dad developed a breathing problem and needed assisted living. Mom brings the dogs to see him. When I visit, I bring Tiger with me. Dad loves Tiger, and she took to him right away. Tiger Lilly makes a huge fuss when she sees my Dad.

I know how to make friends with a dog. In a few minutes, I can get to be real good friends with almost any dog. You just do not pet a dog. You rub his neck behind the ears and then gently rub the ears. They all love that and instantly become your friend. I think when you pet them like that, they trust you.

After thinking about each dog, the natural thought is which one is my favorite. They are all special, but it really was no contest. Princess is my favorite. We grew up together, and she was really my dog. Yeah, she stayed with grandma, but I only lent her to grandma. I went from riding a bike to driving a car and then off to college with her. We were together when Grandpa Kane passed away. She was so loyal to him, and at the end he loved her. When she broke her back, I’d hold her so she could do her stuff, and she’d only do it for me! Mom was amazed Princess would only go for me. We were buddies in every sense of the word. I am so happy that my dad got Princess for me. My dad always was a very good dad.

God is a good God and created dogs with a love for man. I do not really have a Bible verse to back this up, but I think that God loves us so much that when we are with the Lord Jesus, He will resurrect our pets if we ask Him. That would be easy for the Lord to do. I would want them all resurrected, well I do not know about Buddy. In my heart of hearts, I know the Lord Jesus would do that for me.


He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20.


Five Reasons to Own a Pet  

1. Pets can decrease your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

2. Pets can increase your opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities.

3. Pet owners have better psychological well-being and fewer doctor visits.

4. Pet owners feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking or living with a dog.

5. Seventy percent of families surveyed reported an increase in happiness and fun after acquiring a pet.


John McTernan

PO Box 444

Liverpool , PA 17045

[email protected]


My Son John With Bart

Belle and Samson

My Daughter Rachel With Mac

Mac Protected From Brummer's Pups

Me and Princess at Grandpa's

Me and Pixie


Samson: Look at Those Muscles

John, Rachel with Scottie

Me With Taffy as Christmas Present

Toby: Look at Those Sad Eyes




By John McTernan: Defend and Proclaim the Faith
Blog: John McTernan's Insights at www.johnmcternan.name

Meet author John McTernan
During numerous appearances on television, radio and in seminars, he has publicly defended Israel in light of Biblical prophecy. His current best selling book is As America Has Done To Israel.
He is author of the acclaimed book God's Final Warning to America, and co-author of the bestseller Israel: The Blessing or the Curse. From his experience debating, John wrote the Only Jesus of Nazareth series. This series includes: Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Sit on the Throne of David and Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Be Israel's King Messiah. Additionally, he has written several tracts, including Muhammad or Jesus: The Prophet Like Unto Moses, and The Koran vs the Bible.

As America Has Done to Israel

Pandemonium's Engine

2011 John P. McTernan
All rights reserved