Some of the best things in my life came when I wasn’t expecting or looking for anything. I was two years out of high school and a blue-collar worker welding in a shipyard when something unexpected happened and I ended up going to college.
Having never thought that I could go to college I had no idea what to study. I had always loved the outdoors, nature, animals, and pets were always in my life. This led me to study science and over time I earned degrees in several scientific disciplines.
I was a student working my way through college and was living in what and my friends my and I called the rat palace yet I had a dog! I had taken over the dog from a neighbor who could not care for him and had him chained to a clothesline. I have always had a pet as far back as I remember; Boston terrier, mutts of unknown origin, and my older sister had parakeets. When I was in the 5th grade we lived for a year in Morocco where I caught chameleons and tried to make pets out of them. They were interesting to observe. However other than skin patterns and color, they had little distinguishing character. They were like a living sleeping pill.
I also wasn’t looking for a wife in college but I met my wife there. Later when we got married I had an old house in a remote area of a national forest. This property had a history of break-ins. Also, I had just started a career that required travel for extended periods. I was a civilian oceanographer for the United States Navy. I was concerned about my bride being alone and isolated. Solution: a dog, but not just any dog. I had acquaintances that trained dogs and were judges at national dog shows. They were aware of some owners that were looking for a home for their Dog World national award-winning Belgian Tervuren that had developed dust allergies in Arizona. When we picked up Murdock we got a manual of how to handle the dog and a list of commands, both verbal and hand, that he was trained to respond to. This was a great experience; I never dreamed that I would ever have a dog so smart and well trained. Murdock actually trained us. Though he was a little “high strung” he was a wonderful member of the family. We had a fenced in the front yard where we usually exercised and practiced hand and verbal command drills with him for anyone passing to see. Word got around about the family with the trained “wolf.”
Over time we also adopted homeless cats. We adopted a stray cat that we named Wander that lived to be about 25 years old. I have also had some experience maintaining aquariums. I had a large freshwater aquarium populated with cichlids and I have helped others maintain their saltwater aquarium. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time with my adopted grandmother on her farm. I mostly helped her with cows, chickens, and geese. I also trapped and kept flying squirrels, I gave this up because I learned that they belonged in the wild.
We currently have a dog, Edie, that is a Black Mouth Cur. We got her when she was hanging around a hotel in Louisiana where we were staying for a family wedding. After observing and playing with her for a couple of days I asked the front desk about her. I found out that management had told them to call the dog pound. I tried to get others to adopt her with no success. So we put her in the car and brought her home to Austin. Though I loved them all, it turns out that she is the finest dog I have ever had. Everyone loves Edie!
Speaking of great things you don’t see coming, for me The Pet Gal is one of them. I am retired from a career in research and development in university and government laboratories and still enjoy challenges and “work” if I find it interesting. My wife and daughter, by chance, discovered The Pet Gal website. They immediately thought that it might be a good fit for me and I quickly agreed. What struck me is the professional and well thought out nature of The Pet Gal organization and their genuine love for pets. I remember when I was at-sea conducting oceanographic operations for weeks at a time the concerns of some of my colleagues was mostly regarding what was going on with their pets back home. Too bad they didn’t have The Pet Gal.