WATER:   I met Brutus on the beach at Kismet, Fire Island, New York.  He had tired of riding the waves and wanted to rest.  He chose my towel as I was one of the few people on the beach with a beach umbrella.  That was the  summer of 1970 and few worried about too much sun.

Having had a very bad case of sun poison as I child, I carried shade with me wherever I traveled and shade was what Brutus wanted when not in the water.  He  plopped beside me and that was the end of David’s freedom for when he came to fetch Brutus it was too late.  Brutus had decided David and I should marry and make a home for him.  He had adopted David six months earlier, but that is another story.

This particular picture was taken on our honeymoon, camping at Lake George, NY.

Brutus was a fierce-some brute with a strong sense of what he wanted was right.  You didn’t quarrel with him.  Fortunately, he played fair and never asked for more than seemed reasonable to him.  Like the Thanksgiving when he  swiped the turkey from my mother-in-law’s kitchen table. or the time he chewed through the convertible top of David’s car–David was cavorting with another dog.

He kept us safe when mugger’s threatened, kept me safe when the disgruntled boy friend a foster daughter came to our front door to do us harm.  He protected our children, and in his spare time helped  raise many of the animals in our menagerie going so far as to let small puppies and kittens nurse.  He was one of a kind and we were lucky he chose us as family.

STAYING STRONG TIP   James Garbarino, an expert on helping children deal with trauma, says that caring for an animal strengthens.  Even tending to a fish or growing some plants help.  I know I am stronger for all the animals I have loved.

Share, care, and stay strong.

Image by David.

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