• A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. ~ Josh Billings
  • I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~ Gilda Radner
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Mitzie and Milo

It was a beautiful June afternoon three years ago, and Donna and Lauren were walking Jingles around the neighborhood.  Upon arriving home they discovered two kittens had followed them.  The little guys appeared to be about three months old, and we decided they must be litter mates.  Of course Donna gave them some (dog) food and water, and they stayed on our carport for the night.  The next day we asked around the neighborhood trying to find to whom the kittens belonged.   Alas, we did not find the owners.

Naturally the family talk turned to the subject of keeping the kittens.  I reluctantly agreed on the condition they would learn to “do their business” outside.  I was adamant we would have no litter box in the house.  Savannah and I are moderately allergic to cats so there was no way we could have them indoor all the time.  Besides, because they had followed Donna and Lauren home that day, we took that as a sign they were meant to live with us.

So we adopted them.  We took them to our vet for vaccinations and a checkup.  We were concerned about Jingles attacking them, but with care and patience we were able to introduce them to each other without any serious consequences.


In early 2008 we scheduled Mitzie for a trip to the vet to be spayed, but it turned out we were too late.  In March she had a litter of six.  We found homes for all but one; and so Marley came to be our third kitty. (I’ll tell Marley’s story in another post.)   Would you believe it, before we could schedule her to be spayed, she was pregnant again!

Mitzie’s second litter was born in August while we were on vacation in New Orleans.  She selected a dark and cramped corner in the crawlspace under the house as her nursery, and it fell to me to crawl under there to retrieve them.  Six again, but one did not survive.  The remaining five we named Callie, Grayson, Mims, Loner, and Mango (who would soon become Maytag – more on them when I tell Maytag’s story).

This time I did not delay! As soon as Mitzie weaned this litter she was spayed.  She has been happily kitten-free ever since.


Milo was a very sweet kitten, but he caught the ramblin’ bug very early on.  He was gone more often than he was home, and when he did come home he was often injured from fighting.   He would stay around for a couple of days, and then take off again.  Then one day he stopped coming home.  We hope he found another home somewhere, and didn’t meet an untimely end.


Hey! What about us?

Hey! We're back here! Hello?

Hey guys, chill!  I will post another entry about y’all really soon.  Right now, though, we’re in the middle of a series of posts about each of the critters that live here. Your turn will come soon enough.

In the meantime, relax and enjoy your evening walks and Saturday swims!

Ok, but don't take too long please!

Daisy Duke

Boy that sunshine sure feels good

Daisy in the sunshine

When Savannah was 13 she decided she wanted a Chihuahua.  I think the fact that Britney Spears and Paris Hilton each had one was a major factor influencing Savannah’s desire for the breed.  I tried to convince her she wanted a West Highland White instead, and she considered it for a while, but when I discovered how pricey the Westies were I quickly stopped pushing that idea.  So it was decided that she could have a Chihuahua for her 14th birthday.

She found a breeder in Ruby, SC with a litter of three.  When we paid them a visit to see the pups, Savannah instantly picked Daisy, because “she is pretty and her sisters are ugly”.  Her full name is Daisy Duke, because Jessica Simpson had a dog with that name and Savannah really liked it.  We simply call her Daisy most of the time, but sometimes we call her by her nickname, DayDay.

When we first brought Daisy home we were very concerned how she and Jingles would get along.  Jingles is very aggressive with other dogs (and also to male humans, by the way).  We introduced them carefully, and slowly allowed them to get used to each other, and in time they became great friends.

Daisy is very well socialized for a Chihuahua.  Savannah took her along almost everywhere she went that first year.  She had a “dog purse” and would sneak Daisy into stores, movies, and even restaurants.

Daisy is also very well traveled.  She has been all over the state of South Carolina, from the beach to the mountains, and from the North Carolina border to the Georgia state line.

Here are some of the highlights of Daisy’s life:

  1. She jumped into a swimming pool and discovered she hates to touch water.
  2. She was nearly carried off by a Red-tailed hawk.
  3. She lived in Taylors, SC when Savannah was a junior in high school there.
  4. She developed gum disease and had most of her front teeth removed.
  5. There is no number 5. (Daisy is not as adventurous as Jingles!)

Next up: the story of Milo and Mitzie

How Jingles came to live with us.

Around Christmastime in 1995 I had the crazy idea that we needed a dog.  I had recently seen Crimson Tide, and was enamored of Gene Hackman’s dog, a Jack Russell Terrier.  So when I happened to see an ad for Jack Russell pups in the local paper, I decided to go take a look at them.   I took the kids along; subconsciously I knew this would ensure we came home with a puppy.  At the time Lauren was seven and Savannah was four.

The breeder had four pups left, three males and a female.  I did not want a female, but the girls overruled me.  That tiny pup rode home on Lauren’s lap.  It was love at first sight for the both of them,  and it continues to this day, almost 15 years later.

We brought the puppy into the house to surprise Mom.  Indeed it was a surprise, but not a pleasant one.  Mom was angry! And she stayed angry for days! But soon enough she came to love that pup and all was forgiven.

After tossing around several ideas for names, the girls decided that because it was Christmastime we would name her Jingle Bells.  Her “official name” on the registration is Smith Girls Jingle Belle, but we just call her Jingles.  Her nickname is JB.  She is the only one of our pets that is registered.

Jingles has lived an eventful life.  I will give you more details in another post, so I will just share some highlights here:

  1. She broke her leg and had to walk in a cast for several weeks.
  2. She had three litters of pups.
  3. She traveled over 1000 miles by car to New Hampshire and spent two weeks at Camp Walt Whitman.
  4. She flew home from camp on Delta Airlines.
  5. She survived a house fire.
  6. She interrupted a soccer game and ran around on the field for five minutes before being captured and subdued.
  7. She was pepper-sprayed by a meter reader.
  8. She fought with a large dog and lost (stiches and a drainage tube).

Jingles has been a loyal and faithful friend and we all love her very much.

Note: this is the first in a series of posts about how we came to adopt our pets.   They will be posted in chronological order. Thanks for reading!

Don’t Jump, Daisy!

The view is fantastic from up here!

Another beautiful day at the park.

Wordless Wednesday

Maytag would love to drag this guy home

Go, Tigers!

Looking over Bowman Field toward Tillman Hall

Savannah, Papa Roy, and I drove over to Clemson today for the annual Spring Game (also called the Orange-White game).  We met my brother Alan, my nephew Joel, my niece Megan, and her friend Amanda for an enjoyable day on the Clemson campus.  Its always fun to return to the old Alma Mater, and this was no exception.  It brings back many fond memories of the old college days.  Like the time in 1976 when I saw Jimmy Buffett play the auditorium at Tillman Hall.  Admission was just 50 cents!

Dad, can I have something to drink?

We wandered down College Ave, looking at all the Clemson items for sale. The afternoon was quite warm, and Joel was thirsty.  We stopped at a street vendor’s cart for a drink.  If you look closely in the background of the photo above you will see two police officers with a dog.  I thought he was a Belgian Malinois,  but we spoke to the officers and discovered he was a German Shepherd.  None of us had ever seen an all-black German Shepherd before.  Pretty cool.

The Tiger - Clemson's Mascot

The Tiger - Clemson's Mascot

Then we walked across campus to the stadium.  It is always really cool to be there in Death Valley.  The Spring Game is just a scrimmage where the Tigers split into the Orange team and the White team.  This year the White team won 17 – 0.

All in all, a fun day.

Go Tigers!