Our Reason To Add An Animal Member To Our Family

An Animal Will Teach Respect and Love and also Bring Protection and Joy To Your Family! 

James K. Aumak

© Copyright 2021 by James K. Aumak


Photo of a German shepherd.
 I recently read a letter to the editor, in a local newspaper, regarding a reader that just suffered the loss of her family, a pet/dog due to cancer. I often read several local and State newspapers everyday, as I like to be informed as to what’s going on around me. Very often newspaper stories lead to discovery that wouldn’t happen unless you’ve actually learned about all of the details. A newspaper provides up to date information that often changes daily. This habit has led me to often write a letter to the editor commenting on issues that others might not have known about. In this case, the writer was suffering and in serious mental pain, at the loss of her friend…a dog. As I read this letter to the editor, I realized that I had tears running down my cheeks. Her story paralleled my own events in my own life. My wife and I depended on the love of animals to support us during the hard times and also to help teach our children responsibility.  Her letter to the editor released emotions that I probably had buried for years. The following is a true response to her story and pain and I related these feelings to the public in letters to the editor as well.
The dog in her story was 98 years old in ‘dog years’ and was a family member as sure as any other member of the family. After reading this account, I realized that I had tears in my eyes because our family experienced the very same thing …several times, as our children grew. Writing about the experience of having a dog, does help with your sorrow because you’re also relating and reliving the joy, that a animals life is to everyone and also the joy you experienced everyday with that animal at your side. Without question, that dog brought to you a sense of happiness, protection, and companionship. You were never really alone, if you had a dog and “Yes!,”the dog is and was a family member!
Some people find that animals, dogs, cats, or any other creature that you have in your home, to be a great bother. Our experience with dogs particularly, was very positive. They always provided a serious measure of personal protection. When we lived in the city, we had a rather large German Shepherd that was our family pet…and protector. We had this dog ‘obedience trained’ by the a professional trainer from the NY Kennel Club. She was a big female and could likely pull my wife down if she ran off, while on her leash walking with Margaret. So we had a NY Kennel Club Trainer, come to the house and train her to obey the rules we set for her, regarding leash training. The dog loved to sit by the front door and watch people walk by as she glanced out and through the storm door bottom window. If a person walking by and appeared, in her judgement to be aggressive, she would produce a very deep and loud growl, loud enough to be heard through the glass window. This, of course, ended any potential problem. She sent the message, “I really mean business!” This animal was enormous, even as Shepherds go, she was very big and extremely powerful girl.
We wanted a dog in our family. Our first child was about four years old and he needed to start to learn about responsibility, in a small four year old way. Having a dog, provided that opportunity to learn about responsibility and also friendship. He had to be part of taking care of her, brushing her when needed and feeding her now and again. Of course, he wanted ‘ice cream’ the night we bought the dog home. We said that we would stop for ice cream but we saw the dog first and that took care of the ice cream trip. He wasn’t happy with this.
The dogs given name was “Bunty Pride” as listed on her papers and she went everywhere with us. The trainer told us that he knew of her breed(because on her papers her lineage was listed ) and her grandfather was brought into this county at great expense. He offered to buy her at twice the price we paid. This animal was incredibly intelligent and responded to each and every command, as if English was her first language. We surely weren’t interested in selling her. She was a dream to train and very soon learned all of her lessons. She seemed to be proud of her training. She was obedient far beyond our expectations.
Bunty was a new member of a two dog family. She was a newborn pup and she was purchased and brought to a home that had a full grown collie that turned out to be the a very jealous dog. Her turf was being usurped by this new addition and she became very aggressive toward this new addition. The puppy had to go and they advertised her potential sale in the local newspaper, seeking a new owner for this puppy. We visited her home and immediately purchased her.
 Bunty, her given name, soon became Bundy for some reason( possibly because of the T.V. show regarding the Bundy Family) and answered to this call name every time. This animal was beautiful and at the same time her appearance, with her long fur coat, black face and her perpetual smile, terrified almost everyone that came in contact of her. They didn’t know that she was really a ‘mush’ once she determined that they weren’t a threat.    
We built a small weekend place in the Pocono Mountains and she loved to go there with us, every weekend. Here she could run and play with the kids and investigate new surroundings. She was very smart as well. When we were preparing to leave for a weekend, my wife would pack a freezer chest with refrigerated food. As soon as Bundy saw the freezer chest, she was ready to go as well,sitting at the front door.This animal was so smart that on a hot day, she would dig a deep hole and sit in it because the bottom of the hole was cool. She was our friend, protector and the very best friend and protector of and for, our children. Anybody that she didn’t know, who came near the kids, would get her full unbridled attention, generally accompanied with a very deep loud growl. If she knew the visitor, she would continue to keep watch over the kids, just in case.
Years later, as she got older, you could see she was failing physically. She was in pain and you could see that she was suffering. She slept often and simply seemed to loose her enthusiasm. She had a hard time even getting up from a sitting position. I was her man and partner and I knew what I had to do but, needless to say, I didn’t want to do it. Soon my wife and I agreed, that it was time and I helped her into the car…something I never had to do before. She always was able to jump into the back of the station wagon. Now I had to pick her up and place her into the car.We went to the Vet for the very last time.
The Vet agreed that we were doing the right thing. He said, “I’ll give your five minutes alone with her.” I picked her up and put her on my lap. (Not an easy thing to do as she was a big girl!) I could tell she had lost a great deal of weight and I could feel her bones. I told her that I loved her and I asked her to tell God that we loved her and to say ‘Thank You’ for allowing us to know her. I suspect that she knew that this was her last visit to the Doctor. As we sat there Bundy licked my hand as if to say “Thank You!” I kissed her face as the vet injected, into her paw, the drug that put her into peaceful and painless sleep…forever. Holding her dead body, I cried my heart out but I knew that this was the right thing to do for her. She was in so much pain that she almost couldn’t walk. Now, I was in pain, thinking of what I had done to help her pass on. Finally, I believed that what I did, was truly a blessing for her. She wasn’t going to get better but rather worse, with more and more pain each day. You couldn’t let that happen to someone you loved, respected and that was helpless in ever increasing pain. The animal was beside herself with the pain she was experiencing and the vet told me weeks before, that this was a decision I would soon have to make. It’s that responsibility I spoke about earlier, I had to practice what I preached. I didn’t want the kids or my wife involved in this, so I had to do it alone. For her entire life, Bundy protected and loved our family, she was my partner and after my wife, my very best friend. No matter what the circumstances, like my wife, she was there by my side, offering love, support and understanding.
   Our kids knew what was happening and they handled it outstandingly well. I didn’t want them to be there with her, as she breathed her last breath. They did know what was coming, as they also observed her slowing down to the point that she almost couldn’t get up. They, in their own way, said “Good Bye and Thank You!” for teaching me responsibility and unconditional love.They knew that she was actually dying and in pain all the time. It was my responsibility and Bundy actually considered me to be the leader of our family, which I suppose I was, although she also obeyed my wife all of the time. She was a gift from above and came into our family at just the right time.
We lived in a two story three bedroom house in the city. It had a basement and a backyard as well, that was fenced in. This became the dogs turf so to speak. She had the run of this area and it provided her with the exercise she needed everyday to burn off her energy. She loved to run from one end to the other. She was like a bullet as she ran, back and forth, surveying all that was ‘her’ territory. She was a long haired German Sheppard and looked almost like a wolf with her long winter fur. Her face was black and brown.
A few years later we moved into a much bigger house. It also had a big fenced in yard for her to play and run in. When we moved in she went from room to room inspecting everything until she was sure it was safe for her family. It was here she spent the rest of her life, enjoying the kids as they grew older and went off to high school to college. It was her home as well as ours. She was truly family and even now, years later, tears are shed as I think of her and all the love, respect and joy, this simple animal brought into our home and family!
I left out a few of Bundys’ more unusual and less ‘happy-making habits’. The one, that is really memorable, you might get a laugh out of. (I now do when I recall it.) My wife and I along with our two kids went out shopping. We weren’t gone long. When we came home and opened the front door, Bundy didn’t greet us and the living room looked as if it snowed inside the house. There was white paper, balled up into little wet balls and laying all over the entire living room floor. Hundreds of little balls. We immediately knew it was the dogs work. We called Bundy to come up from the basement. She slowly and carefully came up-stairs, with her head down and tail between her legs…she knew she was in trouble.
Our guess is that the Sear’s Catalog was left on the floor( The kids were looking at and thinking of Christmas.). Bundy took a liking to it’s smell and proceeded to lick every page, pull it out with her big paw and chew on it, until it was a little paper ball and then she spit it out and she went on to the next page. I guess she liked the aroma and flavor. There were better than two hundred pages in the catalog and she tasted every single of them. My wife said, “Well, she’s your dog…you clean it up. I’m busy with the kids!”
There were several more unusual occurrences. An entire 6x9 foot horsehair rug mat was eaten and the metal straps holding the insulation on the furnace steam pipes, disappeared, never to be found again. Also, about three feet of woodwork in the back staircase was chewed up. Remember the kid’s toy of little men…’Weebles Wobble, but the don’t fall down’…well Bundy snapped the heads off every one of them but only the heads. In addition she ate the entire ‘light-up’ face of Santa Claus, where his nose lite up bright red, when you pulled the string. Like all of us, she certainly had her ‘moments’
 Our trainer told us to place loaded (set) “Mouse Traps” under newspaper sheets and blown up balloons and place them on the Christmas Tree to discourage the dog from attacking the tree. We did as we were told and during the night we heard the traps go off and the dog growling. We went down to the living-room where the tree was and found only the wire from the traps. She ate all the wood. It was always something that was serious enough but also amusing. The animal was always contrite regarding her very rare, bad behavior. She knew when she was wrong and showed remorse, regret and sorrow, for her misdeeds. She was a better friend and companion than most humans and we miss her so very much!
  The Continuing True Story and Legacy Of Both Bundy and Lucy  Our Beloved K-9 Family Members       
The above is the life story of Bundy, German Shepherd K-9, that became a valuable member of our family and went everywhere with us during her lifetime. She was our best friend and protector against all of the evils that can befall a family. She brought sunshine and laughter into our lives and also shared any grief that befell our family. In her own way, she recognized stress and did everything she could to help relieve that stress. She was a true family member in every sense and like family, will always be in our memory and our hearts. We grieved for a long time, as her demise left an empty space in our lives. You simple look for her as you walk into your home after you’ve been out. When she’s no longer there greeting you at the door as you open it, her absence immediately brings back the memory of her welcoming joy, as you returned home from a day trip or simply at short outing to the supermarket. It’s here that you truly understand that a very important part of your family is no longer with you, to greet you with unabated joy and love. She was an important part of our family and now she’s gone to whatever rewards God has for animals. I believe that even the Pope recently suggested that animals are creatures that God created, loves and cares for. After their demise He/She has prepared for them, a place in Heaven. I can’t imagine Heaven without animals.
German Shepherds are a special breed. They are generally large and powerful animals that can be ferocious and violent, in their effort to protect their loved ones. Bundy was no exception to these characteristics and in fact, could display them instantly, in a heartbeat. When she was introduced to a new human, her instincts required her to check out this new person. The only way an animal has to employ this inspection, is to use their ability to detect good from bad, through their enormously accurate nose. She knew the intentions of a new human through their body odor. Usually, she would simply face the new human and immediately stick her nose in their crouch. If there was a possible problem that she detected or didn’t understand, she would utter a low rumbling growl, which of course, terrified all males that she met for the first time. This only happened a few times but it certainly did separated the men from the little boys. After her check and approval, she would simply sit down and wait for one of us to tell her what to do next. Bundy seemed to have a profound trust in children and I can’t recall even one case where she challenged a child.
Like most animals she had incredible hearing and could tell the difference between car engines of the same make. We had a friend that visited our home almost everyday. He drove a VW and would park this car near our home when he visited. Bundy could hear a dozen VW’s go by but only with this one VW, would she go to the door when his car was near. She knew he was coming and waited by the door for him to arrive. Her hearing allowed her to determine which car was his. She loved this man and could identify which car was his and exactly when he would arrive. Perhaps this was because he made a fuss over her every time he came to visit and she looked forward to seeing and playing with him. Certainly, hearing his car engine from among dozens of others, proves that she had the ability to differentiate between similar sounds and the intelligence to determine the future, because of one identified sound. Certainly there are humans that couldn’t do this. As I’ve pointed out above, her abilities to differentiate between potential good or bad and through her ability to detect negative human odors, always was a added positive in her protection scheme. She was the best alarm system we ever had and her absence left an enormous hole in our lives.
We soon ventured in moving to a larger home in the next town. We put our home on the market and it quickly was purchased by a young local City Council Member. He needed a home in the Voting Ward that he represented. The day we moved, we moved Bundy to her new house. Here she went into every room in the house to inspect it and give her approval. The following week, I read in the local newspaper that our old house with its new occupants, was robbed! It seems that the new owner and his wife were on the second floor painting. Bundy wasn’t there, sitting at the front door, inspecting passers-by, and protecting the household. The robbers must have been watching the house because they knew that there wasn’t an aggressive dog keeping watch. They simply walked into the living room and took the new owners pocketbook. The new owner soon after, became Mayor of Jersey City, the second largest city in New Jersey. He also learned a valuable lesson.   
This brings me to what we experienced after Bundy passed on. The house seemed empty without a four legged member we loved and cared for and that loved us as well. The sounds of silence are indeed, extremely loud. The feeling of a wet cold nose seeking a simple pat on her head, left us forever. We started to consider adding another member to our family. We grieved for some time. We missed Bundy as she was an important part of our family. Life went on, as it should have, but there was an empty spot.  
Our oldest son Sean, started college and was away at a college in Pennsylvania. This added to the feeling of emptiness we were experiencing. Our children, both boys, are four years apart. So when one finished high school and went off to college somewhere, the other started, at the same Jesuit, all boys secondary school. This school was serious with a rigorous curriculum that included Latin, German, French, Spanish language instruction, as well as all of the Math and Science exposure and mastery requirements necessary to obtain entry to most all colleges in America. Both of our boys, Sean and Craig were successful in this scholastic environment however when Sean left for college, there was certainly a vacuum in our home. We needed another member…Bundy was gone and we needed a pet to love and care for and to be part of our family. Bundy was gone to her reward, K-9 heaven, for over a year and we really missed her. It was time to start to look for another pet/family member. My wife Margaret and I, started to look for another puppy. Bundy was from a proud line of animals, so we started to look in that direction, for another German Shepherd.
We found an advertisement selling German Sheppard pups. Both K-9 parents had recognized papers and were champions. We visited the pups and fell in love with one puppy in the litter. She was really cute but she was also somehow damaged and in the beginning we never knew or noticed it, until she was to be obedients trained. Just before training started Ennis, our rapidly growing puppy, started to seriously bite, always without reason and almost viciously. She’d be walking quietly past my wife and suddenly, her eyes seemed to somehow noticeably change and she’d turn and bite Margaret on her foot or anywhere else she could get her teeth and also with a very aggressive growl, for absolutely no reason what-so-ever. She did this with me several times. Then one day we got a phone call from another owner of a puppy from the very same litter. The breeder published a ‘Puppy Newspaper’ with the names and phone numbers of all of the new owners that purchased pups from the same litter.
That caller wanted to know if we were having any problems with indiscriminate biting with our new puppy. It seems that his puppy, from the same litter, attacked his young son and seriously ripped a piece of his face, causing many stitches to close the wound and likely this would result in a serious scar. He said that every owner he had called so far, was also having the same problems with biting and aggressiveness. My wife took the call and also related our problem to this owner.
In order to remedy this new aggressiveness, we employed a Certified by the N.Y. Kennel Club,dog trainer, to train our new puppy, with the hope that this would change her newly displayed behavior. After several training visits, he sat us down and said that this puppy was not trainable and likely would cause major problems regarding biting anyone that came near her. Ennis bit him and was becoming more and more  aggressive! We told him about our phone call from another owner. The trainer said that she was becoming more and more aggressive as time went on and now she was aggressive beyond control. He said that she was not trainable and she should be ‘put down’ before there‘s a tragedy! I consulted our vet and he knew and trusted the trainer, his opinion and recommendations.
Of course, we were in shock with this report and suggestion. As it turns out, only one of the pups in that litter was trainable and all of the others were aggressive beyond normal parameters. We suggested that we try to return this pup to the breeder and the trainer said, “Why would you do that and have someone else get bitten or worse?” We notified the breeder and she seemed not to care about what-ever we did, and took no responsibility and didn’t encourage our returning the animal.. This problem was ours alone.
This painful episode was a lesson that we learned the hard way. Certainly, it likely would have turned out the same way, at some point, for the animal. It was unfortunate for us, that we were the tool to put an end to possible serious disfigurement or even death of another human, particularly a child. We had a responsibility and to try to return the animal to the breeder, would be a heartache that might led to another, possibly a child, being killed or seriously injured. The breeder wasn’t interested in taking the animal back and all of the responsibility, regarding the future of this animal, was on us to do the ‘right thing’.  
We still had a need again to fill the void in our family. Bundy was gone and the space she left was becoming harder and harder to fill. Again, we continued on our search to fill the empty spot in our family. Sean, our oldest son was away at college and couldn’t be replaced, no matter what. He’d be home for holidays and summer vacation and this would continue, until he completed his course of study. We’re not fortune tellers but it was obvious that he needed to start a career and certainly, he was looking for a lifetime partner…a wife, as well. So he sooner or later, would be starting his own family in his own home. Needless to say, we really trained him for this as we considered it our responsibility to raise our kids to be independent, responsible and have the tools to support themselves. This was also part of our plan but it was the part that equaled separation which was always the goal but as always, that goal leaves an empty chair.  
 Bundy left a spot that needed to be filled. She was like a second mother to Sean and his brother Craig. The first night that Bundy was in our home, our then four year old Sean, against all of our rules, went downstairs, after we were asleep, to the living room where Bundy, our new family member was and we found them sleeping together on the living room sofa, the next morning. Bundy watched over the boys and protected them, as if she gave birth to them. When Craig was home from the hospital as a newborn baby, Bundy didn’t know what was wrapped in a blanket and she growled in her deep voice while looking at Margaret while she was holding the baby. Bundy sensed that there was life wrapped up in that blanket and she didn’t understand that it was a baby, or in her eyes I guess, a ‘human puppy’! Margaret simply knelt down with that baby and introduced him to the dog. Bundy sniffed the baby a few times and gave a lick and she seemed to know that this was another child she was to watch over and they were soon the best of friends. Bundy would walk past the baby, in the jump chair baby seat and of course, the baby would grab at the dogs fur. Bundy would wince and continue moving on without a whimper. The baby had his hands filled with Bundy fur. Our kids were her children as much as ours. I can not put into words, the strength of the bond that Bundy had with our kids and us. She would protect and love them, Margaret and I, until her last breath and she did.
Finding the Perfect Fit!
We still needed to fill the vacuum that we felt after Bundy passed and then Sean went off to college. We wanted another dog. We had a disaster with our attempt to replace Bundy with another Sheppard. We decided to look at other breeds and the best place to do this, is at dog shows.
Here, we observed dogs that were trained in obedience and performance. These shows, many at ‘Liberty State Park’, are an opportunity for dog owners to demonstrate their ability to train their animals and it’s also a stage for the animals to demonstrate their training and to perform their skills. We were attracted to ‘Shetland Sheep Dogs’ in that they seemed to be the smartest and most well trained animals in all the groups we observed. Their performance was outstanding and most enjoyable to watch. They seemed to really enjoy performing and some even had a sense of humor or so it seemed. We asked an owner of one of the animals if he knew of anybody that had a litter and was raising them to sell. Fortune was with us that day and we were given the name and phone number of a breeder in Pennsylvania, that had just had a new litter. We contacted her and she invited us to her home to see the newborn puppies.
The new puppies were adorable and we fell in love with them immediately. They were already all named after the “Peanuts Comic Strip Gang!” Margaret immediately fell in love with “Lucy” and that day we agreed to purchase her. However, we couldn’t take her home because the breeder insisted that she was to be with her mother for 47 days. This, we were told, was in order for the mother to complete her training of her pups. During this period the mother dog nurses the puppies and also teaches them behavior. She also begins to train her pups regarding their ‘bathroom’ skills. She brings the pups outside it seems, to begin to train them where to relieve themselves. It also seems that on the last day, the final lesson is taught. The breeder felt that this was the most important lesson of all.The mother allows the puppies to get into trouble doing something they were taught not to do and she nips at them and literally smacks them around a bit and vocally growls her displeasure…not enough to hurt them but enough to make them remember, what she taught them, regarding their behavior. After this lesson, delivered by their mother, we were allowed to bring Lucy to her new home. This last lesson appears to be a life-long instruction, as Lucy was the best behaved dog I every had contact with. She knew the rules and almost never got into any trouble regarding her behavior. She was gentle and everyone that came in contact with her was amazed at her ability to simply draw people to her. In a word…she was really, really, intelligent and very sweet!
Margaret is a Registered Nurse and was working with senior citizens in an Adult Medical Daycare facility. She knew that Lucy would love to be there and meet the clients Margaret was caring for. Of course, Lucy Dog, as she became known at home, was a big hit with all senior citizens clients that she met. She loved to be with the clients in the senior daycare facility and they responded in kind. So often, an animal will stimulate a pleasant memory of time past and bring a smile and a good memory.
Animals Have Manners!

One day we had some friends over to our home and they also had a small dog. We told them to bring their dog with them to meet Lucy. We wanted to see how Lucy got along with other dogs while in her own home. This was something new for her and this visit totally amazed all of us.
 Lucy had a small wicker basket with all of her chew and play toys in it. This was given to her to be her possession and territory. When she wanted to play with her chew toys, she’d pick one out, play with it or chew on it for a while and even put it back some of the time, when she was finished. When our friends brought their dog into our house, Lucy was excited but she remained a lady and after introductions showed her new friend, all of her toys and together they investigated the rooms on the first floor of the house that Lucy lived in. They played together while the adult humans visited. We were completely astonished at their incredible behavior. Most human children, including ours when they were babies, didn’t behave as well. This was her first experience with another dog in her house and she literally left all of the humans, with their mouths hanging open in amazement!
Very soon Lucy became one of our most beloved family members. She was intelligent beyond what you would expect for an animal and had instincts that continually surprised us. She had a sense of humor and often displayed it while playing with us. One of the things she did, confused us in the beginning. Lucy had a rubber ‘chew’ toy that was shaped like a boomerang. Somehow, she learned to pick up this toy by one end and follow us around the house while politely smacking our heels and lower legs with the other end of the toy. Her breed of animal was generally trained to be sheep herders. She was an instinctive ‘herder’ and she was herding us around the house. This simply had to be an inbred skill. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a herd of sheep for her to play with, so she used us! I guess you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, even in the animal world! The animal was almost smiling as she followed us around the house with her boomerang, herding us everywhere. When Sean came home from college the first time, he said after being home one day, “What’s wrong with this dog, she keeps ‘hitting’ me in the back of my legs with a rubber boomerang!”
After we purchased a home in Cape May, N.J., Lucy came with us every weekend we traveled from Bayonne, in North Jersey, a hundred and fifty miles to the Shore House. This was our place to ‘decompress’ after working all week often under the most difficult and trying circumstances. Lucy seemed to look forward to the trip. She had her own crate with a towel and chew toy in it to keep her busy but as soon as we crossed the N.J. Turnpike Bridge from Bayonne, she fell asleep and stayed asleep until we crossed the bridge over the harbor, into Cape May City. It’s as if she had a road map and could read it, as to where we were. She woke-up at the very same place every single weekend, as if she had a clock with an alarm. The return trip back to the city was exactly the same but in reverse, she’d go to sleep after we crossed the Cape May Bridge and wake-up as we crossed the N.J. Turnpike Bridge. This happened for years and never changed as she and we, both aged.
Like everything else, when it gets older it often gets slower. We and she, were growing old together. Lucy developed a heart condition and she beat me to this, in that department. I developed one a few years later. We could see her slowing down, sleeping more, eating less. She wasn’t as exuberant as she was as a young dog and she knew she was in retirement and enjoyed her naps. Then one day she didn’t even want to leave her crate which was like her apartment, so to speak. It had everything she wanted right there for her. She slept most of the day and we took her to her Veterinarian, who confirmed that she was dying as a result of her heart condition. He hinted that it was time for her to go peacefully, without pain or fear, to go to sleep and we believe, to meet and say hello personally, to God.  Lucy was such a wonderful friend and companion, that I’m sure she’s in K-9 Heaven with Bundy, playing with and chewing her toys while making friends with all of the other animals. Margaret and I stood with her, as the Doctor administered the shot to put her into eternal rest. With tears and sobbing, we gave her a final kiss and left for the shore house, she loved so much, to mourn her loss and celebrate her life, we went to where we knew her spirit would be.
I don’t believe we ever really stopped mourning our animals. They truly are and were part of our family history. Truth be told, they were probably more tolerable, intelligent and more accepting than some humans we knew. They both were also a more loyal friend, than most humans. They were both more creative, without question, than some humans. The influence of our pets, I believe, has had an important impact on our children. Both boys now have a dog as a member and an integral part of their family. My youngest son Craig, has three children and is on his second German Shepherd. His older brother Sean, now has a rescued puppy named ‘Lucky’! He has two children and ‘Lucky’ is filling the empty portions of their lives, with the unconditional love and dependence, that an animal has and at the same time, gaining and giving the love, protection and companionship, these creatures offer.
It’s often, during the experience of owning a dog, that you simply have to laugh out loud at the behavior, intelligence, loyalty, trust and safety that these animals bring into your life. This is a far better way to teach your children responsibility, love and concern for others. No matter what mood you’re in, a dog will be by your side, without regard to your current behavior or attitude. They seem to be able to read you, your mind and mood, while supporting you in helping to control and understand what's going on in your life. Perhaps this is their God given goal, as they all seem to take this behavior responsibly.
Now is the time for wonderful memories for us, as we grow older. We were blessed to have had well over twenty years of animal companionship and security. Our children benefited from this experience, as evidenced by the fact that they both now have dogs of their own and their children will likely also do the same thing, as time goes on. There is a reason that dogs continue to exist and we are attracted to them and allow them to enter our lives. The likely reason is, to help us maintain our own even keel, they fill a void, while supporting us with their simple loving existence. They fill our lives with respect, understanding and certainly joy!  
As I’ve indicated earlier in my story, we’re now old and without question, will sometime in the future experience the same fate as our beloved animals. I can’t help but feel that somehow the Supreme Power that rules everything, will allow us to again meet our beloved creatures in an afterlife. As the song says,”I’m a Believer!”                  
The author of the above lives with his wife Margaret, in Cape May, New Jersey. They’ve been married for over fifty years.They’re both retired from professional careers. Margaret earned her B.S.N. from Seton Hall University and started her career as an ICU Nurse in a major city hospital. She continued and completed her career serving senior citizens in an adult medical daycare environment in Jersey City, N.J. She did all of this while also giving birth to and raising two children, teaching and guiding them, until they could continue on their own, making good decisions while experiencing responsibility and life. In retirement Margaret enjoys knitting and has become an accomplished knitter that provides blankets and knit caps for newborn babies as well and scarves and hats for adults in need.  
 James, earned his B.A. & M.A. from Jersey City State College and continued his Post-Grad education at various colleges and universities, throughout the country. He worked his entire career, teaching Elementary School children at various schools in Jersey City, New Jersey. He also helped established a Non-Profit, Educational Corporation that for almost thirty years, served minority inner-city children of Jersey City, with after-school and summer daycare activities, while also providing nutritional and medical care for those children. This Corporation also provided adult education in an effort to seek employment for the many unemployed and under employed members of the Jersey City Community. All of the above was funded through State and Federal Grants for almost thirty years, bringing into the community near ten million dollars in Daycare, Educational and job opportunities for the people of the inner-city.
 During his experiences working in the Inner-City, he established a Children’s Writers Group consisting of elementary school children. This attracted the attention of Internationally Known Children’s Author, Walter Dean Myers. Mr. Myers came to this group once a month, for over five years, to teach and review children’s writing. Myers taught and consulted with my students and also introduced them to his current work, seeking their review of the story. They in fact helped him with the ‘block buster’ coffee table books, “Brown Angels and More Brown Angles” which are still best sellers. Mr. Myers passed away several years ago but before that, he was nominated to the U.S. Library of Congress by President Obama, because of his over three hundred published books for children especially minority children.
Sean and Craig Aumack, the children James and Margaret and are not surprisingly also both professionals. Sean earned a B.S.Degree is Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education and he is a Special Education High School Teacher. Craig earned his Doctorate in Pharmacy, and now is a Pharmacist at a major New Jersey University Hospital. Together that have given us five beautiful grandchildren. Each family also has a dog as a pet. Their children are now learning, as their parents did, about the responsibility and love necessary, in having a pet as a family member.                                                                                        

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