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Introducing "Tales of My Terriers" and Other Dog Stories…

In five weeks, we’re moving to a condominium townhouse that is 25% smaller than this house with no fenced in backyard.

I confess, my Dandies are like children to me…

That means I’ll be walking my two Dandie Dinmont Terriers at least three or four times a day. For the last five years, since I acquired my second Dandie, our two dogs have happily cavorted with each other in the backyard and rough-housed around indoors, as is the nature of this rare and endangered breed.

He placed second and was on his way to his Canadian Championship.I’ve never had children, so Riley and Lucy are my substitutes. I don’t anthropomorphize them, really. I simply adore them. And I spoil them.

I confess this unabashedly. Without embarrassment. With pride.

Furthermore, they’re the best tonic in the world for my mood stability and overall mental health.

They’re magically soothing. More than any medication ~ even my psychotherapy with Dr. Bob. With him, I gain insights. With them, I find serenity ~ and the odd adventure.

Walking in a sudden thunderstorm is no fun…

My best ideas occur to me during our brisk jaunts around our neighbourhood, though we were caught in a thunderstorm yesterday and that, I admit, was no fun. Riley is petrified by the sound of thunder and firecrackers. He wouldn’t move. It took me hours to groom them back into shape, once we got home.

Grooming them, holding them, cuddling them ~ they’re dazzling at cuddling ~ is magically relaxing and calming for me and they thrive on it, too.

Let’s scroll back a bit on the canine front…

Since 1966, I’ve been mad about dogs. That’s when we bought our first, a two-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, retired from the show ring. He was my therapy. I learned to care for him after a devastating seven-month hospitalization, a course of ECT and a dire prognosis. I was 17. Since then, I’ve been smitten with dogs.

Eventually, we bought two others ~ Fang and Kismet or “Kissie.” Then, in 1971, I went off to university. Several years later, my parents sold the family home and found a loving “forever” home for our Yorkies. By 1977, I was working full-time as a feature writer at  The Toronto Sun and living on my own.

Murphy the Wonder Dog…

For 11 years, I yearned for a dog. I was single. Never terribly active on the dating front. Still, I couldn’t rationalize leaving an animal alone, cooped up all day, while I was buzzing about downtown following my dream career.

So, I went without. And every year my life was interrupted by a major psychotic episode requiring hospitalization. Almost always in the dead of winter.

Finally, in July 1989, I broke down. At a local pet store, I fell in love with and bought a darling little rust and black, eight-week old Shih Tzu-Poodle cross, a Shih-poo or a Shit-Poo, as I dubbed him and at which he excelled. I named him Murphy, after my favourite journalist Murphy Brown, and thus he became my significant other.

Murphy was a true gentleman, a truly “social” animal…

He was nothing like his feisty namesake. A true gentleman, extraordinarily loyal, sensitive and irrepressibly social, Murphy’s favourite time of year was the summer, when we weekended at the family compound north of Toronto on Lake Simcoe. His favourite time of day up there was “cocktail hour” when he would jump up on a deck chair, sit down and follow the conversation. Everyone adored Murphy, the Wonder Dog, as he became known.

And he changed my life. I never felt alone again.

And I’ve never had another serious psychotic episode since he trotted into my life.

To be continued…

Introducing "Tales of My Terriers" and Other Dog Stories…

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2010). Introducing "Tales of My Terriers" and Other Dog Stories…. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Jun 2010
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