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Power of Dog
Never underestimate the power and influence of a dog
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Billy Buddy with Marcia
Billy Buddy with Marcia
A few years ago a friend suggested to my sister a nice walk down to Park Ave. Sure, my sister, Marcia, responded since it was a beautiful day in New York. On the way to the café, they passed a pet store and friend beckoned Marcia in for a look. They saw birds, cats, and other animals, and finally got back to the dog area. 
 
All the while, a little dog was loose in the store and kept following them around. Kind of a nuisance! Marcia kept tripping over the dog. They looked at all the dogs on display, with no intentions of getting one, and turned to leave. Here again was that darn little dog to step over. Marcia asked a store clerk what was wrong with this little guy. He’s told her that he was a Chihuahua but he is too big for the breed. Many have looked but rejected him for his size. They proceeded to the coffee shop. 
 
Angst began to set in with my sister as they had coffee. She’s had Maltese and Lhasa Apso dogs in the past, but had been seriously ill for several years and without dogs. She was feeling sorry and taking pity on the little pet store dog and suggested they go back to see him again. She decided to him buy and happily took him home!
 
Billy Buddy settled into his new apartment living and for many years made Marcia a fine companion. He got her out for walks around the neighborhood twice a day. They would go over to the “grassy knoll” a couple blocks away where Billy would do his business and play with other dogs. When I would make my weekly Sunday call to them, most of what we talked about was Billy Buddy. I hunt, and the dogs I’ve had were black Labrador Retrievers. I really don’t have a ‘thing’ for little dogs. But I was happy for my sister. 
 
Two events came together in late 2008. Marcia’s memory was failing and I was concerned about her being out in New York, getting turned around and not being able to find home. Also her apartment owners were upgrading and remodeling rooms and wanted to move her to another apartment two floors up. My son and I flew to New York to check the situation and visit with the apartment manager. Marcia looked at another apartment and became disturbed. They offered 
 
to buy her out of her apartment and she accepted. I made plans to move her and Billy to Missoula, and for her to live in a nice apartment at the Clark Fork Riverside overlooking the river. She moved here in January 2009. My sister (with Billy Buddy), daughter-in-law Suzanne and I made the plane trip back to Missoula from New York via Minneapolis on the last flight out on a very stormy winter night. I was a wreck, worrying about getting stuck in LaGuardia Airport. We got out and made connections in Minneapolis. We were all tired and on nerves. The best passenger was Billy. He rode his doggy travel bag like a trooper. And I was most worried that he might bark or present other problems. Neither happened. 
 
At the Clark Fork Riverside, Marcia settled in and Billy was a social hit with other occupants. He is cute and a very engaging little dog. They have a nice riverside trail and grassy area to walk and the two could visit with folks. One of the apartment renters was an older, wheelchair-bound gentleman named Gilbert. He was an uncle of Jan’s, a friend of ours. 
 
After two years or so, my sister’s memory worsened and was moved, with Billy, to an assisted living apartment unit. There, they also had nice sidewalks and grassy areas to walk plus someone to watch after them. But in time, Billy’s pulling and leash tripping led to several falls for Marcia so I needed to find him a new home. Marcia was saddened but understood the need to let him go. When Billy left, Marcia’s disposition brightened and she stopped smoking. Billy’s earlier positive companionship had become a negative for Marcia as her stress and mental condition changed. 
 
I mentioned that Billy might need a new home to Jan and she said her uncle Gilbert often commented on Billy. He offered to take him. I suggested we try this for a week or so and see how they get along. Jan frequently asked her uncle if she should find another home for Billy and he wouldn’t answer. Jan persisted and Uncle Gilbert finally told her that with Billy, folks downstairs in the lobby talked to him.
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Jay Gore has had a long and varied career in wildlife management. He is particularly fond of Labrador Retrievers and has written a book, Is Life Worth Living Without Labs? (2014), published by Lulu.com.

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Image courtsey Jay Gore

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