Dad and Don
According to all animal characteristics and descriptions, my first pet was definitely a dog. However, he had many human traits. Even his name was more human than canine. He was not known as Rover, Bowser, Sandy, or Spot; he was simply Don.
In the early 20's country people in great numbers were migrating from the rural areas to urban center to enjoy the greater opportunities, comfort, and ease of the city. So it was with Don. Born on a farm near Windsor, at an early age he left there and joined our family on Leroy Street.
At this time Marean-Lauder Company used to have billboards along the roads leading into the city proclaiming that this store was THE SPOT to buy men's clothing in Binghamton. For some reason, Dad assumed the task of erecting the signs. He would locate a place he thought would be a good one, usually just before a curve in the road where the driver would have an unobstructed view, get the farmer's permission, pay him a few dollars, and then put the sign up. It was on one of these excursions that Dad met a farmer whose collie cow dog had had a litter of puppies. Always partial to collies, Dad could not resist and bought what must have been the friendliest, cuddliest, smartest one of the litter. The price was five dollars, which, as far as I am concerned, has even to this day always remained the right amount to pay for any dog. (Admittedly, there are some members of the family who disagree with me on this.)
Don's mother had been a collie. We knew this because Dad had met her personally; but as Don matured, we began to wonder about his paternal ancestry. Definitely, his father had been something other than a collie, and Don had inherited some of his characteristics. He had the yellow color of a collie, all right, but his hair was short, not long. As collies usually do, he had a beautiful white star in the middle of his forehead, but his nose was blunt, not long and pointed. His tail, too, had the white tip usually associated with a collie, but rather than being bushy it was thin and wiry. Don was definitely a mutt, but we didn't care. Dad and I loved him anyway; and Mother, who grew to love him also, certainly always liked him as much as she would any dog that would get hair all over her rugs.
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