Friday, April 26, 2013

Dog Genes

This Sepia Saturday post should have been easier for someone trained as a Reading Specialist, but alas, all the pictures I wanted to use are still in a photo album in my mother's house. So, I began flipping through my photos and found this perfectly staged picture for a 1960s Christmas card showing the week's theme, reading. And what better subject for the Hart family then to have a dog reading, for this sums up so much of our family history!

I read while Candy looks on. Oh, the other girl in the picture is my sister, Claudia. An apt afterthought given the story that follows!

We have long joked about the "dog gene" in our family. We all have had many dogs and know that we come by this adoration honestly. This was quite apparent to me during my last trip to my mother's house. I love to page through her old albums, take selected photos to her, and hope for a story to unfold.  Like all our photos, they capture a tale, even when clearly posed. Sadly, some pictures show faces that will never be known to me. I mourn the loss of names that have been forgotten over the years so try to remedy past oversights by captioning what photos I can. This quest gave my mom and me quite a laugh as we looked at pictures like these from the 1930s and 1940s:

This small sampling shows our well-known family love for dogs. But while other family photos are missing the names of relatives and friends, the dogs in the photos are always clearly labeled.

My great grandchildren may not know the male in the photo is their 4x great grandfather, Thomas Richards or their 2x great grandmother, Barbara Sundberg is the dog-loving child, but they will know the hounds who lived on Superior Street in the 1930s are Boots, Bugle, Young Prince, Old Prince, etc. I wasted no time laughingly chastising my mom for this lapse. Yet somehow, the omission reveals an overarching family trait: the deep love we have for the dogs, who are not just our pets and companions, but our family.

This was never clearer to me then when I returned home to look at photos of my own children.

Turning over the photo of Andrew revealed that some things never change. I had labeled the picture ONLY with the dog’s name. Yep, it does run in the family!


  1. You are not alone with dog genes. Who cares about family humans when we have a dog? Only yesterday I was complaining that my youngest daughter, who has been away in AUS/NZ for 7 months on a gap year never asks after us, she just assumes ! So one month's emails to me was "What is alices adress for Surrey? How is billydog? Love fi xxxxxxx" So much for people who think you can email on smartphones and tablets.

  2. How funny. You have so many photos and your family with dogs and no newspapers. I can see what your priorities are. I love that last photo the best. So cute, both of them.

  3. I'm a great fan of dogs so can understand your family trait, My wife and I have not owned a dog since we married over 50 years ago. My daughter has made up for this and has had a lest four, all at once, over the past 15 years. All have featured on my blog at one time and another. I keep the dog gene going by knowing most of the dogs in our village even when I don't know the owners. A great post - thank you.

  4. You might want to identify those humans while somebody still remembers who they are :)

  5. Your little Candy looks absolutely adorable, Kathy. I love terriers! I think it's funny that dog lovers don't necessarily love people any less, they just seem to love dogs more. And who wants to forget that most loveable, forgiveable, cuddly creature in a photo? Of course we label the photo with the dog's name!

    1. Thanks, Nancy! Candy was one of a kind! Now, I have 4 West Highland White Terriers - I have to keep different patterned collars on them so my husband can tell them apart. But I made sure to label all their puppy photos so they are unique, even when a few weeks old!

  6. A lovely collection of dog photos and I'm not at all surprised that only the dog's name appears on the back. The assumptio being that, as humans tend to be around a lot longer, someone would always know who they were, whereas a dog's relatively short lifesapn may mean that their names are fogotten, even of their characteres weren't.

  7. Great collection. I have some of those pictures, too, with a cat or dog identified, but not the people. Did not want those special pets to be forgotten!

  8. Like Mother, like Daughter!!!
    Cute story!!