Other Travelers, Part 8 – Dogs
Are Some of the Best People; And Me
by Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter
Part of an On-going Series
March 7, 2017
If you are lucky enough to have been “owned” by a dog, you will understand this Posting. If not, you will still find some helpful genealogy hints. The American Kennel Club has been doing “family histories” of registered purebred dogs for decades. While I was saying goodbye to our sweet 13 3/4 year old “Georgie Corgi”, I (re)discovered her AKC certified pedigree papers.
Hint – Look at documents with open eyes to draw conclusions. The paperwork showed that the official spelling is Corgi, not Corgie. It also showed that the original owner had the same first name, and different last name than was on my sales receipt for Georgie. The first person lived in Arkansas with Georgie (Georgie Lou Ana), and her mother (dam)Vicious Emily “Vice” and father (sire) Charming Prince Louie, a year before I met them. That indicates to me that the owner remarried (or took back her maiden name) and moved with her dogs to the farm near Beloit Wisconsin.
I got to meet Georgie’s last puppy before he was shipped off to his new California owners.
Hint – don’t get set on your ancestors being only in one place. They could be residents in several states, as they move around.
Here are photos given to me of Georgie as a puppy.
She loved to be upside down; and high up – on the couch back, or the dining room table!
I was able to “Adopt” (buy) my Pembroke Welsh Corgi for a discounted price at 1 1/2 years old. Don’t worry, Georgie was not a “puppy mill” dog, but one of a few well-loved dogs who lived on a farm, and part of a part-time hobby raising Corgis. She was the owner’s favorite puppy and the best example of a Corgi that I have ever seen. Georgie had her first litter of 3 puppies, but one died. Georgie had to have a c-section, be neutered, and could not be shown or bred anymore.
Her paperwork was inside of a plastic sleeve covered with vaccination stickers. I pulled the papers out to uncover Georgie’s exact date of birth – May 11, 2003. I also had not noticed the rest of Georgie’s name, nor her dam’s and sire’s name until I looked again. Now I know where my dog got her spitfire spirit – ‘Vice”, besides being a Corgi. Hint – go back to the paperwork that you already have, to see new clues.
I got Georgie to keep my older Golden Retriever/Yellow Lab mutt Gentle Ben company. He came on the trip, to approve. My older children, grandchildren, and extended family also became very close to them, as both dogs were children-lovers, soft, and knew how to grin. They came with their already fitting names, big grins, and bonded with their large human “pack”.
I even found a photo of Georgie’s sire, and complete family pedigrees of her dam and sire. Hint – look a little further; someone in your extended family may have already done a lot of the same family history that you are searching for. It is worth reviewing so that you can verify the links. Some may be wrong, but some may give you good clues. You may just need to update and continue the pedigree charts. Hint – Look for first name patterns to see family connections. i.e. The middle name of children may be the Mother’s maiden name.
Old photos of ancestors are priceless. Hint – make contact with your extended relatives in other lines of the family to see what they might have to share. I received some new old photos from a third cousin, found with DNA through Ancestry.com. I had not even thought of that line of the family as cousins.
Here is a photo of Gentle Ben, also smiling.
Hint – My best clues for organizing and dating my older mixed up photographs have been – the ages of the family children, and the style of hair, clothes and eyeglasses; and which pets did we own when. My Mom, Daisy, even remembered the name of the pet dog “Buster” that was in an 81 year photo of her as a child. She also knew that dog did not come with them from the farm to town. Older folks may be able to identify old photos by very old memories, even if they don’t remember current events so well.
I gave a children’s sermon once, showing the children that photo of “God” smiling. I acted confused that God was not spelled “dog”. Dogs are some of the best people because they “hound” us – never stop following, and looking over, us. They are happy fur-folks who give us concentrated, un-conditional love for the short time that they “own” us.
Dogs sure know how to enjoy life, rolling in the essences. Their hearing is more acute than humans can comprehend – hence good watch dogs. Their sense of smell is highly superior – Georgie could smell that Gentle Ben had cancer, well before I knew. Dogs love to play for no reason. Georgie (and Ben) continued to play, and please us, enjoying even their old age.
We could tell that Georgie was really slowing down the last couple of months. She tried to continue taking shorter walks, but was breathing hard, even just to walk short distances. Her favorite hobby was sleeping, when it used to be walking for miles. We just kept praising and loving her.
Hint – enjoy your elders, and spend lots of time with them. Ask them to share their memories, and the stories of their lives and of your ancestors. We never know when they will pass away.
The last couple of days, Georgie came to me and stared deeply into my eyes. I have had her do so many times before. She tried to do the Vulcan mind-meld – it was her way to tell me when she wanted to go out, or that her water dish was empty, or that she needed a rub and hug, or to tell me it was time to go to bed when I was addictively continuing to look for just one more genealogy hint on the computer.
But I have never had the intensity of her look like she “told” me then. All other needs were met; she just wanted to give me extra loving, and be reassured. And now I know, Georgie was telling me that she knew she would be leaving soon; goodbye.
Georgie was considerate, and thinking of her humans, to the very end. I found Georgie dead (of a heart attack?) the next morning on the plastic in front of her kennel, after she had “put me to bed”, and got up from her sleeping pillow by our bed . Finding her has been harder on me than “putting down” Gentle Ben. Gentle Ben had been more concerned about me crying, than of his own pain. “Mom, it’s o.k.; are you alright? I forgive you.” Either way, it surprises me, and my husband, how hard it is to lose a pet. But totally worth their keep.
Dogs tell their love with their eyes, and I know that I am very special because Georgie and Gentle Ben told me so. How very lucky we are to have that special confirmation from someone (human or fur baby).
Hint – this is one small reason that we “do” family history – to feel that connection to a part of ourselves, that is not ourself. To have the grounding into who we are.
So here is the genealogy joke: Whether we are “mutts” or “purebreds”, only means – is it more challenging ,or less, to track our ancestor’s journeys?