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My Dogs

I don’t know about you, but I love looking at pictures of puppies and dogs! So here are some photos of the dogs I've had and have, with some words about each of them.

My first dog was Simon. I was a flight attendant living in San Francisco at the time, and Simon was a Christmas present. I was told he was a Pekingese-Pomeranian-Maltese mix. Wrong—not even close! He was mostly a Cairn Terrier. He was extremely smart (all fifteen pounds of him), a bit aloof, very independent, and liked very few people. He’d be invited to dinner parties where there were no other dogs, because he was so well-behaved and appropriate.

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Next was Amanda (Mandy), my first Golden Retriever. At the time I didn’t know much about Goldens, but Mandy taught me, ensuring I would always have at least one Golden in the house, forever. She was always on the go, always wanted to play. As a puppy, her nickname became “Mandamonium.” She loved everyone and loved but loved chasing squirrels. Never caught one, but I don’t think that was the point.

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Next there was Arthur. I’d been thinking Mandy needed a playmate when I heard from a local vet that a litter of ten Afghan puppies had just been born about two minutes from where I lived in Malibu. Great! Got to the house, and there were more than twenty Afghans of various ages. Everywhere I looked were these gorgeous dogs. And then there was this little puppy with his nine littermates. While the nine were all huddled together, the little puppy, who would become Arthur, was happily walking around by himself, his tail constantly wagging. Home he came.

And very independent he stayed. Though Mandy wanted to play with him constantly, it seemed he would do so only to please her. One day she dropped a towel on his head, and he just sat there, content. As she stared at him, I started thinking that maybe this wasn’t such a good match. Though Arthur was totally in love with her. He really liked sitting quietly with her, and all she wanted to do was play. The odd couple.

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When Mandy was about two years old and Arthur was a little less than a year, we got Charlie. I really hadn’t been looking for another dog, but there he was. I don’t want to give away his puppy story—it’s in my book about him, almost at the very beginning. In any case, Mandy now had a better playmate, and Arthur had some parenting to do, which I think was really good for him. They took Charlie in, each teaching him different lessons about life. Mandy taught him how to play and dig, and Arthur taught him his place. Charlie couldn’t have had better parents.

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Then one morning I got a call from my husband, David. He said he’d found a bedraggled Sheltie with no tags dodging trucks in downtown Los Angeles. David loves Shelties, having had two of his own years ago, so I knew this meant something. After work, David took her to our veterinarian, Dr. Olds, who said she’d probably been on the streets for at least a year. That evening, she was bathed numerous times. She looked beautiful, just like a show dog!

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This little girl, whom I named Sabrina, marched into our house with the three big dogs and fit herself right in. Such intelligence. And chutzpah! So now we had four dogs. I was so happy! And Sabrina was so much fun. Didn’t bark too much, unlike most Shelties. But I could see her thinking constantly. Only issue was food. Because of her life on the streets, where food was probably scarce, we had to keep a constant watch. She once took an entire tin of sourdough bread and ran into the yard with it—not just one piece but the whole container. I don’t know how she carried it!

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Years went by, and eventually we lost Mandy and Arthur, so it became just Charlie and Sabrina. Then, three weeks after Arthur died, I found Barney crossing the Pacific Coast Highway. Looked like a Golden Retriever, also with no tags. Here we go again. Took him to our vet, because I had to go to my office. Then David picked him up after work. For a few days, we tried to find his owner—no luck.

So we set about looking for a home for him, because I did not want another dog right then—don’t ask me what I could have been thinking. Anyway, after looking for a home for him for about a week, we found one: ours! Charlie was nine, and here was this approximately eight-month-old Golden. But eventually it worked out just fine. Barney turned out to be a wonderful dog. So very social, totally appropriate, and ever so smart. And so happy with his new pack members. He became somewhat of a mascot to the children at the school near us. And best friends with the local policeman. Just in a good mood all the time, and he deferred to Charlie, which was really good for Charlie.

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Next came Harry. You guessed it—another Golden!


As with Charlie’s book, I don’t want to give away Harry’s puppy story—it’s in my book about him. From when we got him at nine weeks until he was about four years old, he was a maniac. I actually thought he was a sociopath. He didn’t listen—in the house or out—didn’t care, followed his nose, best sense of smell I’ve ever seen. Must admit I’m not the best dog trainer, and David is ten times worse! But you know what I called Harry? “Happy Harry.” So gorgeous. And the happiest dog I’ve ever known! As I say in his book, “Everything makes Harry happy. No, more than that. Exuberant! Hard to capture his wonderful essence in words.” Like most Goldens, he loved to play, and what he loved the most was to play ball.

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For a while we had an interlude, with only one dog, Harry. But then came Bentley, another Golden. Unlike Harry, Bentley was quite a bit laid back as a puppy. Calmest I’ve ever seen, except when playing with Harry. Then it was a blur of fur. And Harry was so good to him. Let him get away with stuff—actually spoiling him. As I say in Harry’s book, “There’s never an attitude, a resentment, an angry moment from Harry when it comes to Bentley. He loves him totally and completely.” I don’t think anything could have made Harry happier. And Bentley absolutely adored him. In an instant, the energy around the house changed.

Bentley bubbled with life and love and joy. As I say in Harry’s book, Bentley was “probably the sweetest puppy on the planet. No, really! Bentley tries, needs, wants to connect. He leans in for love. He stares into people’s faces. He’s huggable.” Yes, Bentley made everyone happier. But I think Harry was over the moon!

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And Bentley has two packmates—Oliver, who’s four, and Henry, who's one, both Goldens, of course.

More than anything, Bentley was filled with love his whole life. And shared it generously. His thing was cuddling, to be near people all the time, touching if possible. He was often deep in thought, contemplating who knows what. A gentle soul, who brought warmth, wisdom, and beauty everywhere he went. And a heart-melting Golden Smile that was unforgettable.





This brings us to the present: to Oliver, who's four, and Henry, who's one.

Both Goldens, of course.

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So how did Oliver get here? Well, one Sunday we drove all the way to Utah to get him. Spirited, independent, and handsome. Actually, after we were about to leave for home, the breeder told us someone had offered her “big bucks” for our little puppy. Sorry, too late! Even though other puppies were still available and he’d been ours only for a few hours, there was no amount of money I’d take for him. He’d already captured my heart.

Besides being simply gorgeous, Oliver is beautifully proportioned—yes, someone must have seen the show quality in him, even at eight weeks. More importantly, his character is stellar. Never ever seen him with even close to an edge. Right from the start deferred to Bentley.

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Loves being outside in nature. More than anything, loves to hunt. Never tries to catch anything, just loves the chase. Quick, smart, and listens intently. Not possessive with toys, food, family members, or anything else. Generous and kind. He’s good to the very core of him. I find myself saying to him regularly, “Oliver, you’re too good.” And simultaneously carries himself very confidently, like a king.

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And so, because Oliver has turned out to be so fantastic, when the breeder told me one of the pups she kept from Oliver’s litter was having a littler of her own, I thought, why not? And it was going to be the breeder’s last litter—can always find a reason to get a dog! So we made the trip once again and got Henry—Oliver’s nephew, not that this seems to matter to them. From day one, Oliver has been incredible with Henry, who’s character is very different. Henry’s a real imp, but completely adorable. Not just because he’s a puppy. He’s just plain cute. Little bounce to his step, with that “who me?” look. You can see it in his eyes—a loveable impishness. He loves to play. Everything’s a game. Still can’t brush him without his wriggling away from the brush. Try drying him off after he’s been outside in the rain. But give him a toy, or an antler to chew on, and you won’t see a happier puppy. Takes his antler chewing very seriously, like it’s a job!

Henry adores Oliver, gets him to play with him as much as possible. Got to hand it to Henry. He walked into a house with everyone very much bigger, and he’s adjusting just fine. House-trained almost immediately. And because Oliver has been so good to him, the transition from being with nine siblings in an idyllic setting has been quite a bit easier.


So that’s it for now. Will there be more dogs? Probably. But right now, the Lampert house has its hands and paws full.

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Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished.”


—Dean Koontz

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