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Pet People

Sunday, April 29, 2007

T.J.'s Talent Show

And I thought I had a big mouth!

This photo is from Adrienne, who mentioned T.J.'s ball talent in a previous post. Well, here's the proof! You all know how Peanut loves his balls and carries them around, and I've seen him attempt to get two in his mouth, but he couldn't quite figure it out. T.J. was obviously a master magician!

If Adrienne had T.J. on tape putting the balls in his mouth, she'd win the grand prize on America's Funniest Pets! Do you have a pet with a special talent or trick?

Adrienne says of T.J.: "“The other day on the blog I mentioned that I had had a dog that could hold 5 tennis balls in his mouth at one time. Well I'm sending in the picture of him. You can only see 4 of the balls, but he had another behind the two front ones. T.J. was my first real pet that I got to raise from a puppy and was registered in my name only. My mom had his parents and because I did such a good job helping her with the litter of puppies, she let me keep one. I was so excited to have my first puppy.

“I picked out the biggest male in a litter of 10. He ended up being 75 lbs and taller and longer than a normal Golden. He loved his tennis balls. As long as you were willing to throw the ball, he wanted to chase it. We usually wore out before he did. There was a field near our house and we would drive to the back of it and let him out of the truck. We would turn around and drive back down and he would chase us. We clocked him at 45 Mph once.

“I showed him in 4-H in high school for obedience, but we didn't do very good. He ran out of the ring to my mom in the stands. It got a big laugh, and I am convinced today that was the only reason they even bothered to give me a ribbon at all.

“He only lived to the age of 8 because of lymphoma. The day we had to put him down the vet came to the house, and he had his tennis ball and his stuffed bear with him. I still miss him and think about him often, especially now that Hubby wants to get a Goldie. He taught me so much in his short time about how to love and what it's like to be loved unconditionally.

“I have a small rubber dog with a picture-frame head[with T.J.’s picture] that’s mounted to the dash in my car. It reminds me every day how lucky I have been.”

While our memories of our past pets are often sad because we miss them, remembering their uniqueness also reminds us, as Adrienne said, how truly lucky we were to have had the pleasure of their company, if only for a short while.

posted by Sandy at 4/29/2007 08:48:00 AM


Blogger O'Malley said...

This is such a touching, beautiful story. I love the picture-absolutely priceless! I read it this morning and it made me cry-I couldn't comment due to tears. How funny that he made a run for the stands. Sounds like he was very full of personality. Pets like this do make a lasting impression. I'm like you with my boxer Cody. I still have moments when I think of him. Many times it is funny things that make me laugh. Other times, especially when I am by myself and have time to think, I am sad, cry, and realize how much I still miss him. Nothing like seeing a boxer puppy in the vet or at the park to pull on my heartstrings. Are you and Hubby going to get a Goldie? Thanks so much for sharing T.J.'s picture and story with us. He looks and sounds like he was an amazing dog.

Sunday, April 29, 2007 9:15:00 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I received this story in an email this morning, and it moved me to tears. I thought it fit with this post, since we are talking about T.J. and his impact on Adrienne's life. It fits nicely with Sandy's column last week about pets and heaven also. This is a story about how the loss of a beloved dog affected many lives, and according to, this is a true story:

"Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter
to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her.

She dictated and I wrote:

Dear God,

Will you please take special care of our dog, Abbey? She died yesterday and is in heaven. We miss her very much. We are happy that you let us have her as our dog even though she got sick. I
hope that you will play with her. She liked to play with balls and swim before she got sick. I am sending some pictures of her so that when you see her in heaven you will know she is our special dog. But I really do miss her.

Meredith Claire
P.S. Mommy wrote the words after I told them to her.

We put that in an envelope with two pictures of Abbey, and addressed it to God in Heaven. We put our return address on it.
Then Meredith stuck some stamps on the front (because, as she said, it may take lots of stamps to get a letter all the way to heaven) and that
afternoon I let her drop it into the letter box at the post office. For a
few days, she would ask if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front
porch. Curious, I went to look at it. It had a gold star card on the front and said: "To Meredith" in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith took it in and opened it.

Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers, "When a Pet Dies". Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God, in its opened envelope (which was marked Return to Sender: Insufficient
address). On the opposite page, one of the pictures of Abbey was taped under the words "For Meredith".

We turned to the back
cover, and there was the other picture of Abbey, and this handwritten note on pink paper:

Dear Meredith,

I know that you will be happy to know that Abbey arrived safely and soundly in Heaven! Having the pictures you sent to me was such a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.

You know, Meredith, she isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me -- just like she stays in your heart -- young and running and playing. Abbey loved being your dog, you know.

Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets, so I can't keep your beautiful letter. I am sending it to you with the pictures so that you will have this book to keep and remember Abbey. One of my angels is taking care of this for me. I hope the little book helps.

Thank you for the beautiful letter. Thank
your mother for sending it. What a wonderful mother you have! I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I am in heaven but wherever there is love, I am there also.

God and the special angel who wrote this after God told her the words.

As a parent and a pet lover, this is one of the kindest things that I've ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is some very kind soul working in the dead letter office. Just
wanted to share this act of compassion."

Monday, April 30, 2007 8:58:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Now THAT made me cry Stacey!

Monday, April 30, 2007 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Well, Sandy, that is high praise for the story of Abbey. Cause I know you are not the weepy type!!!

Monday, April 30, 2007 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Stacey, I too had that email in my box this morning and it made me shed a tear as well as TJ's story!

Adrienne, I am sure TJ would indeed have won a talent contest with 5 balls in the mouth! I think it is funny how he ran to mom in the stands! Ah the power of love…

I can relate to ball playing pooches! Our family pet Molly the Welch terrier, loved to play ball. She would play ball until her little tongue dropped out of her mouth sideways with exhaustion! Trucking up and down the sidewalk chasing that ball kept her nails clipped too!

Our friend’s dog, Lobo the Sheppard lab mix, loves to play ball. In the past, the Saint would play ball with him until the Saint would wear out. They live out of town so we spend the night with them when we visit. With each person coming down the stairs we all get a Good Morning greeting from Lobo. But the Saint gets the best greeting of all. Lobo goes running to him with his ball and wagging his tail so fast that he knocks things over! He is so excited to see the Saint because he knows he will play ball with him first thing in the morning. When everyone else says get away from me Lobo, I am not awake yet! Even before coffee, the Saint has to throw a few balls to satisfy his buddy! Lobo knows he is a softy and this is a normal routine when we visit with our friends. Lobo is getting older now (I think he is 9) and the Saint can outlast him in ball playing but the old boy still enjoys his ball….

Monday, April 30, 2007 1:34:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I wish we did have him putting all the balls in his mouth on tape. He was such a great dog. I was excited to see his picture on the blog today, but it also pulls at my heart. I miss him every day. I think about all the things we did together and how much fun we had. My senior year in high school I did alternative school and he was allowed to come to class with me. That was the greatest! How many people can say they got to take there dog to school with them every day for a year?

We have not found a Goldie yet, but we are looking. I keep looking on and Hubby gets the Sunday paper every week. We are trying to decide if we want to wait a little while longer yet. Stella hasn't been feeling very well lately and I don't know that I want the stress of a new puppy right now. She's almost 9 and that's old for a Saint, so I worry about her. When the time is right, the right puppy will be there for us.

The story of Abbey reminds us that there are still a lot of good people out there. It too made me shed a tear. What an exceptional person to do something so great for a child they have never met.

Monday, April 30, 2007 2:21:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

My mother in law works with a few shelters East of the Fredericksburg area, actually Orange county and I will get her to see if they have any young Goldens available for adoption... I will let you know if we have any luck!

Monday, April 30, 2007 8:11:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

No luck with the Animal shelters that mom in law works with, but she has put the word out to be on the look out for a Golden... Will keep ya posted with this one....

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 7:47:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Thanks! We haven't thought to travel down that way yet. There is a pet festival this weekend in Reston Town Center where I work and there will be dogs for adoption there. We are going to go and take Stella with us. I think it will be fun. I spend a lot of time looking online, but rescues and shelters have a hard time keeping there information up to date. And after you have looked at so many, they all start to look like the same dog. I didn't realize how may hounds and terriers are in rescues and shelters. I'm not a hound person, but if one came along I wouldn't turn away from it. We'll keep looking for that special somebody.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 8:42:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Adrienne, your story made me cry as well as Stacey's. This just the only bad thing about having pets is when we have to say goodbye!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 8:58:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Adrienne, your story made me cry as well as Stacey's. This just the only bad thing about having pets is when we have to say goodbye!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 8:58:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

I googled “Golden Retriever Rescue Virginia” and I found a great link for Golden Retrievers in Northern Virginia!
They are called GRREAT-Golden Retriever Rescue Education and Training.
The site is…

I checked it out and they currently have several Goldens that you may be interested in…
Buddy-16 Month old Male
Cocoa- 18 Month old Female
Milo- 10 Month old Male
Sam- 1 year old Male

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 10:04:00 AM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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