Dogs Fly Free

By Patty Wilber

Dogs fly free on Southwest Airlines!  At least if they are under 50 lbs and statues in a box.

Dog in a box

Dog in a box

This dog “lived” with Jim’s Mom for many many years..

She passed away Oct, 15, 2015. 

Marjorie (Midge) Wilber

Marjorie (Midge) Wilber

At first, I was not especially keen on bringing the statue back to NM, but heck, we adopted Babe, Midge’s living canine, when she moved out of her home into assisted living, so why not the plaster cast dog? And besides, this isn’t any ordinary dog-likeness.  This guy was Midge’s companion until nearly the very end!

Last weekend, all Midge’s descendants (and spouses and significant others–26 of us) descended on Illinois to celebrate her life.  Most of us stayed (and the rest congregated for much of the time) at Jackie, Jim’s oldest sister’s, house. That was an amazing reunion and what a gift to us all.  Thanks SO MUCH Jackie!

The dog was there, too!

Guarding some pictures!

We all spend a good part of one day going through boxes and albums of pictures to make posters for the  memorial service.  Casey created the “Swimsuit Grama” collection and Mark and Erika’s theme was “Tan Grama”.  I think you get the “picture” that swimming was big in Midge’s life!

We talked and laughed and cried and ate.  And ate.

Jane cutting the cheese!

Jane cutting the cheese! Jackie giving advice?  Jake texting it?  Jayme’s hair and Dane in the far back.

Rick, Maegan, Mark and Erika at the pizza place (we were all there)

Rick, Maegan, Mark and Erika at the pizza place (we were all there)

The Stockholm Inn-best Swedish pancakes ever. We had all of us plus many relatives from Jim’s Dad’s side (Jim’s dad passed in 2004).

The memorial service in Rockford was really nice, too. Many old (actually old–not just long-time) friends were there.  And look who snuck into the picture below!

Jackie, Jim, Snub, a dear friend of the family, and Joannie. And, the dog!

All of us except Jayme, who took the picture! The dog was on the other side of the room!

It was kind of a relief (that was a lot of social time!) and also a let down (when will ever be together again?) to head home, but when we got here…

He made it all in one piece!

u get the nose Coulson. i will check out the other end.

Lani says: i am pretty sure this isn’t a real dog, like us….

One of our dogs brought The Dog (this guy really needs a name and apparently he didn’t have one? ) a toy, just in case!

We are happy to have him.




About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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12 Responses to Dogs Fly Free

  1. Doranna says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. But what a wonderful family! And a nice new dog, too.

    • Patty says:

      Thank-you! New Dog is very easy to care for! Not picky about his diet!

  2. EMoonTX says:

    Condolences to you and the family on your loss. But for you–a dog that will never track mud into the house or otherwise cause you more work. Do you want suggestions for a name?

    In terms of dog behavior, I find it fascinating that your live dogs greeted this one with the fore-and-aft sniffing…which kind of suggests recognition of that shape, an ability to handle representation. My collie recognized Rin Tin Tin on TV as a dog (and was jealous when I watched the show; he would growl or bark at the TV and then come to me and try to lick my face. “Honey, you don’t want to mess with HIS kind. I’m MUCH better than he is…and I’ll take care of you…c’mon, let’s go play or something…”

    • Patty says:

      I laughed out loud at your collie’s antics! I thought our dogs might be a little more confused but I think the lack of dog smell, sound and movement were key!

      Name suggestions would be fun!

    • Doranna says:

      The Beagles–especially Connery–can be *very* wary of animal representations that don’t smell like the animal should. They don’t get as far as the nose-and-butt sniffing, because they stop short for bawls of alarm. “That’s not right! That’s not right!”

      (Elizabeth may recall the traumatic incident with very young Connery and the woman who made a large stuffed dog bark in his face…)

      We train and test VST at UNM, and have been *very* careful to introduce the dogs to the various lobo sculptures that sprang up over the past 12-18 months…it’s taken some diplomacy!

      • Patty says:

        I very specifically requested NO BARKING by Jim during the introduction because his bark is so realistic that it scares dogs even without large dog statues (or stuffed dogs) present! He refrained, but it was tough for him!! Lani is such a nose dog that she seemed to know rapidly and Coulson is so easy going that he probably didn’t care either way.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Sorry for your family’s loss. But congratulations on gaining a Forever Family Member.

    • Patty says:

      Jackie (Jim’s oldest sister) sent us hats for every holiday for the dog! LOL!

  4. Beck Jolin says:

    Sorry for your loss, but what a sweet story and wow @ all the red hair in the family, beautiful!

  5. Jackie Splintee says:

    This is a great post, Patty….brought tears to my eyes but also a big smile. We did have a wonderful weekend!!! Grandma Midge would have been so happy!!

    • Patty says:

      Thanks Jackie–Your hospitality really made the weekend work on so many levels!

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