I remember when Auguste was a puppy, and he used to hunt the lizards in our garden. When he saw one, he’d bark and run at it, and whine in frustration when it escaped (it always escaped). He would stare at the spot he last saw the lizard. He would remember the spot and go back the next day to stare – and never notice the lizard sunning itself on a nearby rock.

I remember when Rusty was a puppy. She had an undershot jaw, so the breeder sold her to us for a pittance. When we took her to the vet, just days  after we bought her, he examined her and said she was perfect. No problems with her jaw. We figured she’d held her jaw like that, so we could buy her.

When Fudge was a puppy, she started to sleep on Alexander’s bed. She slept on the foot of his bed all her life – and I never realized it, because she’d slip in his room after we went to bed, and would be back in her own bed in the hallway when Stef came downstairs in the morning. I remember when Fudge brought us a baby bunny. We kept it for a few days and released it into the wild. Fudge was always bringing pets into the house. Once she found a kitten. They slept in the same bed. She carried the kitten around until it grew too big and dragged on the ground.

I remember Auguste would often dig under the fence to run about in the village, and the postman would bring him back. “I have a package for you,” he’d say, holding Auguste under his arm.

I remember my very first dog, a golden collie named Lassie. Yes, I named her. I was only 5, give me a break!

My husband and I bought Fudge for the twins when they were five.  We told them they were going to have a surprise – a D-O-G. They were all excited – they thought we were getting them GI Joes.

Rusty was Julia’s birthday present the year she turned five. The little chocolate Lab with the undershot jaw, (that wasn’t undershot at all). Rusty was sweet, but she would leap on Julia and knock her down. Labs are rambunctious. Julia used to go outside with Stef’s riding whip to keep Rusty from making her fall. They ended up best freinds. Julia trained Rusty to do tricks with a hoola hoop. I never saw a dog jump straight up in the air in the hoop, like Julia taught Rusty to do.

I remember when Fudge snarled at a boy of about twelve. I was shocked and grabbed her by the collar, intending to punish her, when the boy pulled a knife out of his pocket. I let go of Fudge, and she chased the boy out of the park. Fudge defended her twins. She would sit by them, and if anyone suspicious came near, she would utter a low, menacing growl and bare her teeth. Not many people came nearer.

Rusty never growled, nor did she bark. She was a silent dog. The only time I heard her barking, I rushed outside to find her running around a hedgehog in the garden. She must have tried to bite it and pricked her nose.

I remember Auguste and Rusty would lie on their backs in the hallway with their legs propped on the wall. When someone knocked on the door, they would open their eyes, and wag their tails – but otherwise would not move. They were the worst guard dogs in the world. Fudge was an amazing guard dog, and would bark when a stranger came to the door. She also hated gypsies and would become hysterical if they approached. I think it is because they often carry knives.

I remember when we first saw Auguste. We went to pick out a puppy from the litter, and he was the biggest, fuzziest puppy. When we stepped into their kennel, he was the first to rush over and he tried to untie Julia’s shoelaces. She picked him out. We gave him to Stef as a surprise for Christmas. We put him under a box, but when he went to pick up the box, Auguste ran, and the box slid across the floor. I’ll always remember the expression on Stef’s face!

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