A New Life! Retirement at its Best 35


For as long as I can remember I have had dogs. After the war we moved back from Camp Halmahera to Soerabaja and found an empty house on Djalan Tjimanuk. We found some furniture for our house here and there and our Pappa joined us again, and normal life resumed, with Pappa going to work, Paula and I going to school, Mamma overseeing the servants who had come back, and writing letters to Oma and Opa in Holland and sewing clothes for us. I don’t remember when, but Roeli joined our family at a certain time, a stray female medium size brown dog, who loved being a member of our family and getting enough to eat. In those days we did not walk our dog, she just stayed around. Smart dog!

A few years later, when Pappa’s boss left for Holland, we got his dog. Her name was Darky, she was small, black, with bulging eyes, a mix between a Pug and a Pekingese. I had fun training her. Her best trick was jumping through a hoop with a grain of rice as a reward. Really, she performed for one grain of rice!

When I was a freshman at Leiden University, I saw a little dog in the window of a pet shop, could not resist the temptation and went in to buy her. Do you remember the song How much is that doggie in the window? I could just afford her. I was living with two roommates in a small apartment on the second and third floor over a baby shop in the main street, Haarlemmerstraat. We had a shared living room on the second floor with my small bedroom and a toilet, and a large attic with a bedroom for my two friends on the third floor. I came home, proudly took the little puppy out of my bag and put her on the floor of the living room. “Ina, Marjan, look what I got! Another roommate! I will take care of her and she can sleep in my bedroom.”

“Oh no!” said Ina, “No dog in my house! Out with her!”

“But I just bought her. She comes with a certificate of health and had all her shots.”

“No way! Take her back! Now!”

Ina had joined us from Venezuela, and was used to returning purchases she did not want. In Holland, however, we could not return anything in those days. If you bought it, you had to keep it. So I didn’t think that I could return a live puppy. I had no choice, however. Ina was adamant. So before the store closed I took the puppy back and explained that my roommate was against having a dog in our house. Thank goodness the store owner took the dog and gave me my money back.

Many years later, when Mike and I were married and living in Son and our older daughter was almost two years old, we decided it would be good to have a dog. After some research we ended up with Roy, a Chow-Chow. He was beautiful but had a mind of his own, which of course we knew he would have. I can still remember that once he escaped through the back yard and ran along the street in the back of our house with Mike running after him at full speed, dressed for work in a long sleeved white shirt, tie and beige pants. Roy emigrated with us to Pasadena in 1972 and lived another six years, very content with the southern California sunshine. A puppy joined him at one point, with an injury on his leg, given to us by a colleague  in Mike’s office, just to take care of for the weekend while she was out of town. But when she came back she had decided her life was easier without a dog, so we got to keep Barney.

When we lived on the Big Island we first rescued a “miniature Rottweiler”, from her owner, who had her tied down with a heavy metal chain around her neck in the garage. The poor dog was shivering when we came to look at her, in one of those cloudbursts of a Hawaiian Monsoon. Well, Lani was six months old already and only half Rottweiler, as we found out later, but we felt sorry for her and took her home. We also got a Doberman-Pinscher mix from the pound to keep Lani company. All dogs in Hawaii are mixes, by the way, they just happy-go-lucky mate with whichever bitch is in heat, and since they are all roaming around that is easy to do. They are called Poi dogs.

We fell in love with the character of a Rottweiler and in Prescott we bought a two-year-old female from the breeder. Isabelle became our faithful companion until she got cancer and we put her to sleep peacefully, just a week before we moved to Cary. It could not have been a better time.

And that was a long introduction to the news that we are planning on getting a puppy! We are limited here to a small dog, maximum 40 Lbs, but that is fine, because we don’t want a dog that can pull us over when we take her out on a leash. After researching breeds and breeders and everything else we decided to get a miniature Goldendoodle. It’s a relatively new breed, but they are selling like hotcakes here. They are hypoallergenic and do not shed, so that’s perfect for our little house. I started researching in December and finally found the perfect breeder only an hour away, so we can pick her up when she is ready. Mind you, she is not even born yet, but she has been conceived, and when we get her this summer she will be 12 weeks old, potty trained, leash trained, and trained in basic obedience. How about that!

It’s a wonderful life!

Until next time!



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