Dogs are amazing–we’ve been gifted with so many wonderful dogs over the years…

Fran passed away a year ago well a little over a year ago in April 2014. She ruled our house with an iron fist implementing many rules over the years. Her first IMG_0011rule was yellow food belongs to yellow dogs. Gwen was the first long term dog who lived with us. She joined our family in Cincinnati and moved with us to Indianapolis. She was cranky and grouchy most of the time. When Fran as a tiny puppy joined our family (the last puppy we would ever have) Gwen ruled the roost. Until Fran realized she was bigger than Gwen was.

The two had a mutual destruction pact for the next few years. In the spring of 2011 Gwen had fallen apart physically and they didn’t interact much anymore. Gwen stopped really interacting with anybody beyond short bursts. She passed away in the early spring of 2011 just before we moved to Maryland. Gwen was a fighter and a very scared little dog. She acted tough but was never tough. Fran on the other hand was stubborn. Once she determined that things worked a certain way you had better not change them. Jakki had a number of knee surgeries over the years. She would take over the living room couch as her sick bed. Anyone who disturbed Fran’s girl would either receive a deep Labrador glare or an actual growl. Grandma had IMG_0004some and was changing Jakki’s wrap, Fran didn’t like it because her girl was in pain and she growled.

Fran was our first lab. We love labs (two live with us now). Actually I shouldn’t say two live with us now. Two Labs allow us to accept their control of our lives. I don’t remember the last time I was able to sit on a couch or a chair that a lab either didn’t sit in front of me and glare at me for sitting in their spot or wasn’t already in the spot. As you can see from the expression on her face Fran was the master of the couch, the chair and any other furniture the humans had in her living room.

She was clearly in charge. If you didn’t believe that you simply met her and asked her. She would clearly tell you that she was in charge and the humans better listen.


Gwen came from a pet store. When they called me from the pet store my first question was would the spots fade. They never actually did fade. She remained this color her whole life. Not sure what this color in the end was or is. Multiple colors. She had different colored many things.

Gwen was a dog that struggled as a family member. She was really more of a one-person dog. But she tried to be part of the family. She just didn’t like children. She didn’t like pools and we found out one summer that she didn’t like chipmunks either. Not in any form did she even tolerate them. One day we were in the pool that sat in the back yard of the house. Gwen was talking something in the bushes that were on the terraced level above the pool area. Suddenly Gwen pounced and there was a squealing noise. She shook her head and the poor chipmunk she had caught split not two pieces.

It was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

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