Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, March 30, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain View News Saturday, March 30, 2019 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc


My first memory of recognizing that dogs come in a wide variety 
of packages, each having their own unique personality that may 
or may not match the package they came in, was when I was 5 
years old and my paternal grandmother whom we affectionately 
called Nana, came to visit from Florida.

It was Spring of 1968 and Nana drove her spit-shine Chevy 
Impala from Mount Dora to our house in Huntsville, Alabama 
all in a single day. She drove it alone, excepting the company of 
her dear dog, Terry-D. I remember my parents being worried sick about her making that drive by herself, but if you’d 
known my Nana you’d agree there was no talking her out of doing something she‘d set her mind to doing.

My grandmother was one strong woman. When she was a young lady, she was featured in a local Boston newspaper as 
being the first female in the state of Massachusetts to own and operate a used car lot. I’d be willing to bet she may have even 
been the first in the country to do so. Yes, Marie was a piece of work, greatly respected and admired by all who knew her.

I remember looking very much forward to her arrival that Spring day. She would always come bearing gifts for us kids, 
which was no small feat considering there were seven in our brood. I’ll never forget what my gift was that visit. She brought 
me a neat miniature leather bowling bag stuffed full of shiny new pennies. There were 100 pennies in all and I thought I 
was the richest kid in town.

Then, of course there was the anticipation of knowing that when Nana arrived, she would have with her that precious, 
precocious Pomeranian. That’s right, Terry-D was a pouty, pampered, pedigree Pom-Pom, all full of pep and vim as my 
dear ole dad used to say.

And, as if being the perfect specimen of a Pomeranian didn’t make him cute enough, Terry-D also happened to have been 
of the petite Pom persuasion. Yep, under all that stick-straight strawberry-blonde hair, were cankles (short for canine 
ankles) as tiny as toothpicks. Although I don’t think anyone ever bothered to tell Terry-D that. It seemed he deemed 
himself quite large, strutting his puffy stuff all about with a swagger that’d put John Wayne to shame.

Now, at the time of Nana’s visit, our own family dog was a “mystery-mutt” we’d rescued from the local shelter. His name 
was Rex and he was my first love. By that I mean he was the first dog I remember having a meaningful connection with. 
He’d follow me everywhere I went, but if he ever got distracted from tracking my trail, I’d go find him and follow him 
everywhere he went.

Rex was the sweetest, most loving pup you could ever hope to meet, but he wasn’t exactly what you’d call well-mannered. 
He was friendly enough but he was a mischievous rascal, no doubt about it. Yes, my friend Rex was very much in touch 
with his inner wolf. I guess it true that you can take the dog out of the wild, but you can’t always take the wild out of the 
dog. One thing’s for sure, Rex lived life to it’s fullest. Among his favorite activities, the top two were rolling in the dirt after 
a bath and chasing the chickens in the back yard.

Needless to say, when rambunctious Rex met nose-to-nose, up-close and personal with tiny Terry-D for the first time, it 
was “ON”! Around and around they ran, Terry-D tearing first through the house, then out the back porch screen door and 
down the concrete stairs into the yard, around the rabbit cages and through the chicken coops with that raucous Rex hot 
on his trail the entire way.

It was quite a scene, seeing that itty bitty blowfish of a dog, Terry-D, legs spinning like wheels on their axes, eyes as wide 
as saucers, peering over his frail, furry shoulders at Rex’s enormous shiny black nose closing in fast on his fancy fur-pants. 
Rex gave it his best bolt, mouth fully agape and tongue flopping alongside his cheek, dripping with saliva from all the 

Without skipping a beat, my sister and I hopped to our feet and took chase behind Rex, hoping against hope to catch him 
before he caught up with Terry-D. I learned that day that Pomeranians can run pretty fast! Certainly faster than that cute 
(albeit clumsy) canine we called Rex. Good thing, too, because while Rex was a sweet dog, we weren’t too sure what might 
happen if he did catch up with teeny tiny Terry-D.

Thankfully, Rex ran himself ragged and relaxed 
on the kitchen floor before he ever caught up 
with that pampered Pomeranian, and by the end 
of Nana’s visit the two had become fast, forever 
friends. I’ve since seen similar scenarios between 
dogs I’ve know or owned over the years, but none 
can compare to the ridiculous race between Rex 
and Terry-D and the amazement it brought to my 
young eyes that Spring day in 1968 when Nana 
came to visit our humble home in Huntsville, 

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