CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We saw him the day he was born, one of five pups in a litter, at the home of good friends.
At 3 weeks of age he licked our faces, and with tail wagging, piddled all over us. At 5 weeks he yelped his head off when we started to leave, making it plain that he wanted to go with us. So, tucked beneath an arm, we brought him home.
Thus, came Fitzgerald, an English cocker spaniel, into our lives. The thing we noticed most about him all his life long was that regardless of the circumstances, his energy was boundless and his tail never stopped wagging.
To calm him down, we enrolled him in obedience classes. That didn't work.
Full of life, Fitz loved the ladies, and he fell in love with Twinkle, a little mixed breed next door. When she came into heat, Fitz broke through the neighbors' basement window to get to his beloved. She had six pups.
For the next two years, folks called from miles away to come get our amorous dog. By that time, had his offspring been lined up, I think his pups would have reached from our home in Charleston to the nearby town of Elkview. Something had to be done, or he was apt to be shot on one of his trysts.
Our veterinarian, Dr. Gordon Phillips, suggested we neuter Fitz. "He can't keep his mind on obedience training," said Doc, "when all he ever thinks about is girls." Soon, Fitz was on the operating table at Phillips Animal Hospital. He left a couple of hours later, tail still wagging. It was over -- we thought.
Neutering, along with obedience training, succeeded in bringing a measure of self-control and discipline into his life. He became a devoted, loving and obedient member of the family. And his tail never stopped wagging.
Fitz loved to travel with us. It didn't matter if he were in our car, on a train or in a canoe. He just liked to go. We traveled to 44 states with him, enjoying every new place.
In the early part of 1967, Union Carbide sent my husband, Ted, to the Union Carbide plant in Texas City, Texas, for 18 months. Fitz and I went along. Our leased home had a large yard with a 3-foot-high open-wire fence around it. Fitz was completely at home.