This is a guest post from hubby, Wally, about Mittens, his family's dog, who lived to the ripe old age of 17.
"When I was 6, my sister was 4, and my brother was an infant, my family picked Mittens from a litter of mongrol terriers that a neighbor's dog had. He was named Mittens (Mitty for short) because he had four white paws.
"Mittens was fearless--except for thunder. During a thunderstorm, he would come tearing into the kitchen, slipping on the linoleum, to crawl under the old-fashioned electric stove and hide.
"In the summers, when I'd ride off on my bicycle, Mittens would run alongside. When the family rode in the car, Mittens would sit on the back shelf of the Plymouth, his nose out the rear window.
"One time, after we had been out in the car with him (getting ice cream?), we all got back in the car and my father started to drive away. Several blocks later, when we stopped at a red light, a car pulled up beside us. The driver called out, "You know there's a dog chasing you?!" We'd forgotten Mittens and driven off without him, but he wouldn't let us get away!
"One Sunday, my mother opened the vegetable bin under the old-fashioned refrigerator, screamed, and slammed it shut. She'd seen a rat in it. We looked for the rat but found no sign of him. That evening, Mittens came down to the basement where I was playing, and began sniffing around. He kept trying to get behind a door that was leaning up against the wall. When I pulled it away from the wall to take a look, there was the rat.
"I immediately pushed one end of the door tight against the wall to trap the rat and Mittens went crazy at the other end until my father rushed downstairs to kill it. Mittens was barking, I was shouting, even the rat was making a racket. Looking back, I think Mittens was disappointed that he hadn't been able to get at the rat. Mongrol terriers were used as "ratters" in the old days, and Mitty certainly had those genes!"