Over the years, there have been quite a few dogs in town that were memorable, even living landmarks, as they made their presence known around their neighborhoods. Visitors who might not remember a street name, could see a particular dog and perhaps say, “There’s old Oscar, we’re in Woodvale.”
Several people in town, members of the “You Know You Grew Up in Danvers When…,” Facebook group recognized Sam (Samson), when his picture was posted by Michael Bourgault. Sam drooled, he wandered, and was evidently quite lovable.
My earliest dog memory is of a dog with dark brown fur and an orange muzzle. Her name was Lisa and she belonged to an elderly neighbor named Anna. Lisa was a gentle girl, and she patrolled the neighborhood every day. She’d stop and visit with anyone who was outside; I remember her sitting by my side when I sold comic books from my small roadside stand. Lisa would “supervise” when people worked in their garden, and I now suspect that if she could have spoken, Lisa could have given wonderful garden advice. You see her human, Anna, was a master gardener, and I know that she would often talk to Lisa when she was tending to her own flowers and vegetables. I know this because I was there listening and learning too. Lisa would listen as she sat by my side on the grass. She may not have understood the words, but she cocked her head and looked Anna right in the eye as if she were absorbing the gardening lessons.
Several years later, my cousins had a beagle named Pudgy. He was one smart beagle and learned where I lived after following me home from my cousins’ house once. After that one time trailing me home, he knew the route to take to come back and visit, and did so on a regular basis. I never fed him, just played with him, and talked to him, so I knew he was coming to see me, not looking for a handout. In fact, I would walk Pudgy home after our visits, and in my mind’s eye, I can still picture him watching me leave, but being a good dog and staying home.
Although leash laws are vital today, it was nice way back when that the dogs were free to visit around the neighborhoods. There was far less traffic and many more people home during the day to keep an eye on each other’s dogs, much as they looked out for each other’s children.
There have always been dogs in my life, although I’ve never had one of my own. From the time I was born, I’ve had cats who knew how to wrap me around their paws. Yet I will never forget our neighbor’s dog on Hobart St, Taffy Ottley. She was a lovable girl who had been rescued from an abusive life into a loving home with adults and three children who adored her.
Later, there was my all time favorite dog, Brandy Andrews. Brandy and her person lived upstairs from us at our condominium, also on Hobart Street. I would walk her all over town and we truly loved each other. Perhaps Brandy is the closest thing to a dog of my own I will ever have, and to this day, I miss her terribly.
One of our current neighbors has four dogs, two large and two small. It was after the fourth was adopted, that our beloved Ollie-pop cat packed his stuff and moved into our home. We are glad he lives with us now, and glad that our neighbor rescued her fourth dog on his last day at a shelter.
The organization in Danvers has had an annual Dog Show as part of Family Festival for many years. It’s a wonderful event and allows proud owners to show off their dogs, and raises funds for this wonderful group to help them continue their work of saving dogs and cats in town.
By now, you may be wondering why I have titled this column “Dog and Pin-Up Show.” Naturally, “Dog and Pony Show” springs to mind, right? As it happens, I have had a little tidbit of Danvers trivia that my brother-in-law Lee, sent to me several weeks ago. I wasn’t sure how I could use it on its own. Then I realized that I could twist the Dog and Pony Show into Dog and Pin-Up Show and have an amusing ending for you this week. To quote Monty Python, “And now for something completely different.”
Here is what Lee sent me:
VINTAGE CALENDAR PIN UP GIRL 1977 - $10
1977 PIN UP PEEK A BOO CALENDAR PIN UP GIRL 1977 FROM U.S. HEATING SUPPLY CORP., DANVERS, MASS. There are 2 calendars with different woman on each & priced @ $10. each or 2 for $15. One shows a woman sitting on a pool table with a cue stick in her hand. Once you remove the laminate covering her you then will see "the peek a boo" photo which eliminates her outfit. It is titled POOL SHARK. The other one shows a woman sitting on a rug with a parasol in front of her & her outfit suggests an oriental theme. Once you remove the laminate covering her you will then see "the peek a boo" photo which eliminates her outfit. It is titled BRONZE BEAUTY. Thanks Lee!
So there you have it folks, my “Dog and Pin-Up Show."