Pooh and the Gang: A Dog Tale

by Barbara Murray
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I have been thinking a lot lately about a trip south this fall to see Magoo and meet his wonderful family and also for a much needed break from work. So, I'm finally going to do it. I wish I could have made the trip while Patches was still alive but I couldn't get away from responsibilities and my own animals long enough to go. So, anyway thinking about Patches and Magoo got me to thinking about all their siblings too and how the whole gang came into my life.

If you haven't figured it out yet, Patches and Magoo are dogs. They were born on my bed in 2006. This all came about because I rescued their mother. I had seen her get hit by a vehicle twice. The first time her owners did not take her to the vet and she was a long time healing and walked with a permanent limp. The second time I saw her get hit, I brought her home with me. The people she had been living with easily gave up ownership and I had another dog. She was obviously part Boston Terrier and what else I have no idea.

I called her Precious. I felt so sorry for her. Her stomach was swollen and knowing she had not been taken care of in her previous home, I assumed it was worms. I got worm medication from the vet and was going to give it to her when I felt something in her stomach move. Okay. Worms are not that big.

She was pregnant.

Shortly thereafter she started nesting and I prepared for puppy birthing. I spread a tarp over my bed and put sheets and bedding on top of that and deposited Precious in her new bed.

She gave birth to the first three puppies easily. The fourth one got stuck and I helped her with that one. She had two more and then stopped. But I could still feel puppies in her. Off to the veterinarian we went. The vet did an emergency C-section and removed the remaining two puppies. Both were dead.

I constructed a big pen in the middle of my living room for Mom and pups and started looking for homes for the babies. Of course, they would stay with Mom until they were weaned, old enough to get shots, and be spayed or neutered before they left.

Precious was an excellent mother. She didn't need my help with the puppies at all. The vet had spayed her during the C-section operation, so she didn't have to go through this again.


The puppies started showing personalities and I began naming them. Sugar Bear, I don't remember exactly why I gave him that name, but he was taken in by one of my coworkers at the state and he kept him for five years then had to let him go, so I took him back to keep him from going to the shelter. My coworker had renamed him Patches, so Patches it was.

Patches liked to hear me sing. I had sung to all of them as wee puppies, the Blake Shelton song, "Don't Go Loving on Nobody but Me." I would sing that to them every day when they were little. As they got older and started going to their new homes, I'd sing that song to them when they were leaving and cry and cry. I don't know if Patches remembered that or just wanted special treatment but when I let my dogs out in the fenced-in yard, I would just call to them when it was time to come back in.

They would usually come running. Patches would stop on the porch or sometimes seem to forget and almost make it into the house then turn and go back to the edge of the porch or to the steps that led down into their yard and wait. I'd sing the Bobby Vinton song, "Patches," and when I'd finish the line: "Patches my darling, of Old Shanty town," he'd come running in. Why we had to go through this routine only Patches knew and he never told. But he seemed to enjoy so much me singing that song with his name in the lyrics.

Patches and Magoo with DianeI suffered from some serious health issues a few years ago and needed to rehome several dogs. Patches and his brother Magoo, pictured at right, were in that group. Both were taken in by a wonderful couple in New Jersey who keep me updated with pictures and news regularly.

Unfortunately, Patches died in April 2016 from what his vet believes may have been a sudden aneurism. I must say he had a good, albeit shortened life. He was very much loved by me when he was a pup, by my coworker that kept him five years and certainly by his last family that treated him like a king.


Magoo, I named after the cartoon character Mr. Magoo, because the wrinkles on his face covered his eyes when he was a pup.

Magoo was the sweetest of the litter - extremely needy and extremely demanding. He constantly wanted interaction with humans. I taught him how to give a human a hug and this is something I think he still does and enjoys.

The family that took Magoo and Patches moved to Florida and Magoo is living the good life, good-spoiled rotten in the Florida Keys, much loved.

Sampson and Delilah

Two of the pups were identical except one was female and one was male. The only way I could tell who was who was by looking "underneath." The two of them were great friends. I named them Sampson and Delilah.

Sampson went to live with a coworker, at the time, and his family. As far as I know, Sampson is still part of the family.

Delilah went to live with an older woman who wanted her dearly. But after eight months, she simply couldn't handle a puppy any longer and Delilah came back to me.

Delilah was laid back, easy-going and always eager to please. She liked to be read to, whether it was history or poetry or the daily newspaper, she seemed to listen intently while someone read aloud. She hated cats and although she could not get to any of the semi-feral cats that hang around my house for food, when she saw one, she'd jump up on the fence, growl and bark furiously.

Delilah was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. I had to have her euthanized when the pain became too much. She was ready.


Damara chilling outDamara, pictured at right, was the quietest and most reserved of the bunch. My niece picked and named Damara when she was a wee pup and took her home when she was old enough to go. She lives a good life in Georgetown and goes to Florida twice a year. Her family affectionately calls her "D.D."

Apparently, she really enjoys the ride to Florida because when my niece and her husband start packing the suitcases, D.D. gets tremendously excited.

I get news of her on a regular basis and get to see her from time to time.


Pugsley is still with me, the only one of the litter I still have. I named him Pugsley because he looked like a Pug at birth. I call him Pooh most of the time and he answers to both names.

Pooh looks somewhat like a pit bull terrier. Based on this and what the other pups look like, I think the father was likely a pit or pit-mix.

Pooh is the sweetest dog. He's reserved somewhat and absolutely hates having his nails trimmed. He was close to Delilah, wherever she was, he was right beside her and she was the boss of the two. I think he misses her.

Pooh and Toby were at odds for years after Toby joined my pack. The two of them have been in four horrible fights, although I constantly arranged for them to be separated as much as possible.

The first time Pooh and Toby fought I tried to break it up. That's the first time in my life I've gotten in the middle of a dog fight. Toby bit me and ripped my arm open, which required eight stitches. I now have a permanent Toby-scar on my right arm.

I could tell the instant Toby's teeth sank into my arm that he was filled with remorse. He didn't mean to bite me specifically. He was going for Pooh and thought that's who he was clamping down on. The minute he realized he had bitten me, he dropped his head and backed away. Pooh did too. The fight was over.

The two of them have fought three times since then. One time required a trip to the vet for Toby.

Now it's been about three years since their last fight. Apparently, they worked something out. I'm not sure what.

Anyway, I'm planning a short Florida trip in October and I'll get to see Magoo and hopefully get one of his good hugs. I'll tell you all the details after the trip.