For some time now, I have thought about writing about the dogs that have shared my life. Honoring them, telling their stories. There have been 12 of them, some pure breeds, some mutts, most were rescued and only one was bought from a breeder. I will post about one dog a month for the coming year.
I first posted this on March 24, 2014.
When I was eleven and twelve, we spent long summer weeks on a farm in the province of Smaland in south east Sweden. The farm came with a large manor house that the owners turned into a small family inn. The guests, we were perhaps four families, ate meals together at a very long table made of blond wood. On this table appeared lots of good and healthy country food: Eggs, fruits, home baked breads, Swedish pancakes with fresh berries, and much more.
There was a lake nearby where we swam and fished. To get there, you walked through a meadow where a large working horse, named Bisman, grazed contentedly. I remember him being a friendly horse, who liked to be petted.
There were many cows, calves, chickens, geese, and barn cats on the farm. And a bull we were told to stay away from as he was considered quite dangerous.
And then there were the dogs. The farmer hunted and had two hunting dogs. One was a Stovare, a Swedish breed, the other a black English Cockerspaniel, named Troika. I spent so much time with that little dog the last summer we were there, our bond became strong as our love for each other grew over the summer weeks. I was heartbroken when our vacation was over and I had to leave her behind.
My dad often went on business trips to his company's headquarters in Copenhagen. In the fall of that year, my mother went with him. When they arrived back home, there was a big commotion. A dog came flying in the door! A black dog! She rushed up to me and licked my face and it was Troika. My parents had been touched by my devotion to this dog and, since Troika was not the best of hunting dogs, some deal was made. On their way home, my parents stopped by the farm and brought her back with them.
She was young, less than two years old and she was the sweetest dog. She soon became the neighborhood dog, spoiled rotten by everyone. Her tendency to gain weight didn't bother her. On summer afternoons, as soon as the ladies in our street started dinner, there was Troika at their door, asking for a treat. In those days, we left our front doors open in the summer; there were few cars, dogs roamed free, and children played hopscotch, marbles, and jump rope in our suburban street.
Troika's puppies, my mom and the neighbor's kids.
Somewhere in there, Troika had three adorable puppies. My mother found good homes for all of them.
Troika enjoying a large sausage.
I took good care of my Troika. She required a lot of brushing and cleaning of ears. We went for long walks together to fight the ever losing battle of her waistline.
She went with us on the boat in the summers and, as we approached land, she would stand in the bow ready to jump. She loved to swim and when she felt we were close enough to land, she would jump into the water and swim the rest of the way. She had a rich and wonderful life with us kids, we were always doing things, playing, running, biking, skiing, boating and she was always there with us.
Troika was my dog, she loved me the best and I her. After I went to England, she missed me. I was so busy having adventures that I probably didn't miss her much. When I came home, Troika was old, but still, she was so happy to see me, she ran her fat little butt around the outside of our house several times before she calmed down.
I was home when she died of kidney failure. She was around thirteen years old. Troika was my first dog, my first love, and you never forget your first love. Tears as I write this, after all these years......
Troika ~ My first dog, my first love.
Hi Inger - Troika looks amazing ... and it sounds like you had the greatest of childhood lives together ... family and friends too. What fun - loved the story of Troika - and yes I too cry when I think about my pup ... so can empathise with your teary cheeks! Take care - cheers HilaryReplyDelete
I have tears also. That was a wonderful story, Inger, and I look forward to your next 11 dog posts.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful story, so heartwarming! Cheers to your wise parents for gifting you with Troika! I know she had so much more fun with you than with the farmer. I bet whenever you see a Cocker Spaniel, you think of her.ReplyDelete
Love this story and was delighted when you were unexpectedly united. What a wonderful gift she was and what a wonderful life you shared with her.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed your touching story with your best friend, Troika. She was a beautiful dog. I can understand the tears as you remember her.ReplyDelete
She made some sweet memories for you and now you take time to remember and honor her and share the memories with us.
she is a beauty and I love this story.. your parents were fantastic to know how much you loved her and to deal with the farmer for her... wow, this is a great LOVE Story, your parents for you and you for Troika. My first dog was Sticky Baby, he got in the syrup. he was a rescue and I picked him because he was the ugliest dog in the kennel and no one else would take him...ReplyDelete
I was 8 years old when we got sticky babyReplyDelete
Such a tender story, Inger! The photos bring the whole story alive.ReplyDelete
Even the name Troica is lovely! (it's russian meaning a group of three).ReplyDelete
Your story about Troica with its accompanying photos is very moving!
What a coincidence, Inger!! The first dog that entered my life was a Black Cocker Spaniel named Inky...:)jpReplyDelete
I cried the moment I realized your wonderful parents had brought her home to you!ReplyDelete
and I was teary through this entire beautifully written post. thank you for sharing these memories.
Since Bob died I've had two dogs … or better put … they've had me. my little Sarah was a blonde cocker spaniel.
she was rescued as a tiny puppy from people who were moving and were going to put her and the mother and the other puppies down. she was runt of the litter and never grew to be larger than a 6 month old puppy. adorable!
and then I had my beloved Zeke. another rescue. and the love of my life.
like will rogers said ... only I change it to ... I've never met a DOG I didn't like! XO
Love the idea to write and make a tribute to the all dogs that you have shared in your life!
So beautiful photos of Troika, your first dog and first love!
Love the photos of you with your dearest Mom and Dad and with Troika too!
I agree with you! We never forget our first love.
Lots of hugs and much Love!
Dear Inger, this is a lovely story of your love-affair with Troika. Dulcy was the first cat with whom I lived and as you say, we never forgot our first love.ReplyDelete
I think your idea of writing a tribute is a wonderful one. You write about dogs and their humans so personally and so joyfully at times and so sorrowfully at other times--but whatever the emotion, your words and your sentiment draw us in and we are with you in a deep appreciation of the wonder of a relationship with a fellow creature, called "dog." Peace.
I loved reading your memories, seeing the photos and learning about Troika ....What a wonderful thing your dad did by bringing her home to you. Great post - ...Your post reminds me of the dogs I've had and loved through the years ending with our Goldie who died over 17 years ago.ReplyDelete
Last try - blogger has eaten two comments now! I loved this sweet tale so much. I am so glad that your parents got Troika for you to let the love between you grow. Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos!ReplyDelete
I love reading about your memories growing up and how nice to have these photos. A beautiful family and such a sweet dog! Take care of yourself my friend! Hugs!ReplyDelete
What an amazing gift, and we do not forget any of our dogs or cats, My first cat, Tuppence, a real farm cat, she killed the rats in the huge barn Dad kept the machinery and chook food in, and would lay them in a row for him to admire on the walk to the cowshed. Loved the photos, and what wonderful memories.ReplyDelete