Sunday, November 27, 2011

Farewell to Frisky, A Gamble on Poker: Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home

Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home
as told by Bob Walsh: 

Mom and Dad made it clear: Frisky was going back
to the pound. Even if Frisky wasn’t a comfortable fit for
the family, there’s an instant discomfort when you take a
dog away. Crazy dogs bring something important to the party
too. Be it sound, spirit, a presence, whatever; when they’re
gone, there’s a void. We felt it, but in many ways, we felt
helpless to do something about it because of the family’s
financial situation.

Not wanting to try a pound puppy again, Dad must
have been cooking something up in his head. He missed
having a dog in the house too. Then, one day in 1948,
without any heads up, Dad came home with a small dog
under his arm. It was a Cocker Spaniel with a tan coat.
Dad named him Dealer’s Choice. Apparently there had
been a successful night of Dealer’s Choice Poker, and Dad
walked away with $50 in winnings from his card play.
He used the money to buy a dog, which we affectionately
called Poker.

Poker was a great dog and really Dad’s dog more than
anyone else’s. Dad had a red leather chair where he read
the newspaper and enjoyed a smoke. Nobody else was
allowed to sit in that chair, but Poker could. When Dad
was gone, Poker was all ours. He loved to play. I would
take him out back and throw the ball, which he dutifully
retrieved. But often his attention was divided. There was
a cat named Smokey who lived next door. He loved to
taunt Poker.

Smokey looked like his name. He had a smoke-colored
gray coat and bright yellow eyes. He had a way about him
that let you know he was looking at you. You could feel
his eyes on you, turn around and there he was looking you
right in the eye with a bold gold stare. I kind of admired
his gumption, but Poker wanted nothing more than to get
at that cat.

*In the next excerpt of Follow the Dog Home, what Smokey
did to bring Poker to his doorstep and a showdown.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Meet 10-year-old Samantha: Author of Follow the Dog Home

Hi my name is Samantha Walsh, and I am ten years old.  Get to know me down here!

Nicknames: Sam, Sammy, and Sammy Cakes
Sports: Skiing, Tennis, Lacrosse, Dance and Gymnastics
Hobbies: Typing, Writing, Doodling, and Reading

Book: Scat and The Red Fern Grows
Movie: Titanic (Because Leo's in it!), The Spy Next Door
TV Shows: iCarly, Victorious, Good Luck Charlie, Shake It Up, So Random, Ghost Whispers Criminal Minds and Without a Trace
Song or Band: Almost everything on Kiss 108- (107.9)
Saying or Quotes: “When the fat lady sings, throw lemons and make lemonade!” And “Oh my stars!”
My best experience: Having Dunkin Donuts at the Reader’s Breakfast at my school
My best project I completed: Building my own dream house for a school project
What I want to be when I grow up: Veterinarian (Animal Doctor)
Advice I’d Like To Pass On: Don’t ever come to my school and order its lunch!
What you do know about me: I have a dog named Beverly

 About Follow The Dog Home: I am so happy to be in life, and to make this book. We loved writing it, but it was, and still is a lot of work. Since we want to sell copies of Follow The Dog Home, besides writing about it, we have to do some other things: create the title, edit it, put the pages together and create a website. That got a little annoying for my dad. I am busy doing other work on the book. The only thing I know how to do for the book is to write about it and edit it. I've been practicing my autograph.

When we finish selling this book, we will make another book called “Why Are Dogs Smarter Then Cats?”  The reason why I got the idea for a new book is because there was this girl at my camp, and she thinks that cats are smarter than dogs. Do we know the truth? I will set up a voting competition online and see what you customers think. Once I get the answer I will report it on line and on TV for interviewing us. I will tell you if dogs won, or cats won. There will be a trivia question about dogs every month.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Meet Bob Walsh, aka "Grandpops": Author of Follow the Dog Home

Hi, I'm Bob Walsh, aka Grandpops. I live in Ledyard Connecticut and I am married to Mary McGrattan. We were both widowed and between the two of us we have 9 kids and 20 grandchildren. When we were first married, I of course had a dog. Her name was Daisy and she was a deaf Dalmation. Enough said. The second problem was that Mary was from New York City and had never owned a dog. Despite all of this I loved them both. And so we began our life together: Mary, Daisy and me. It's been a glorius adventure ever since.

Mary and Me 

This is where my journey with dogs started.
In the foreground is my first dog, Dee Dee.
My mother is holding me, and my sister Boots
is holding my twin brother, Dick. 70 years later
with the help of my son, Kevin, we returned to
the home where my journey with dogs started.

Returning to my first home, 2011
Recreating the photo seventy years later with new faces and new dogs

I've always had a dog, some good and some not so good. When I found that Daisy had died one sad night, I was at a loss. It was two weeks before Christmas and I moped through the holiday and for a few weeks after. I was in such despair and grief that Mary finally told me to "Go get a dog. Just get yourself a new dog."

I started feeling better immediately as I began my search. It wasn't long before I found a thoroughly agreeable and delightful little Corgi named Annie. She's full of vim and vigor and is absolutely full of herself. Mary has come to grips with my need for a dog, and the two ladies get along just fine. 

Annie is my current dog.

Why did I want to write a book about my dogs? Perhaps it's because I'm getting older and wanted to share some of the special things that made my life so rewarding. Or, perhaps it's because the dogs' stories need to be told. Susie (my Golden Retriever, below) contributed so much to me and my three sons during my first wife Carole's terminal illness. Susie showed saintly compassion as she sat bedside, night and day, in Carole's room. Each and every dog has provided me with companionship, loyalty and a variety of challenges. These stories suffice the book, Follow the Dog Home.

The Walsh Family with Susie

Yes, Kevin and I had some disagreements over the content and flavor of the book. He thinks Beverly is the big star, but he's wrong about that. Susie is. In the end though I think we reached a balance between two pig-headed authors which tells a true and exciting tale of dogs in my life, Kevin's life and Samantha's too.

An editorial meeting. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meet Kevin Walsh: Author of Follow the Dog Home

Hi, I'm Kevin Walsh. I'm 41-years-old and I live in Wellesley, Massachusetts. I have a beautiful wife named, Jean, and she's blessed me with two lovely daughters: Samantha and Amanda. I am also Beverly's father and owner. I work in the television industry which has taken me around the world. I have seen so many different cultures and changes in industry, values and life. There is but one constant in life though that keeps me grounded and always gives me heart. It's the love I have for dogs, and the love they return tenfold.

Back, Kevin and Jean Walsh with Stanley Cup.  Front (L to R), Amanda and Samantha Walsh

My late mother, Carole, with my brothers and me and dog Susie, 1988
My brother Chris and me with my dad and the neighbor's loaner dog, Susie.  1975
I became a part of Follow the Dog Home largely by accident. And it's among the best accidents I've ever had. I was talking on the phone with my dad and he told me he had been writing. "About what?" I asked.

"My dogs," he said.

"That's cool," I told him, "what are you going to do with it?"

"I'll write the book and you just get it published for me when I'm done."

Discussion among authors: Bob Walsh,
Kevin Walsh and Samantha Walsh

He acted as if getting published was similar to, say, scoring free tickets to a Red Sox game. Yeah there's effort, but not much more than a couple of phone calls. It doesn't work that way with publishing. It took me ten years to get my first book, The Marrow in Me, published. But that was my problem now wasn't it? Dad had some really cool dog stories to share, and always has. I had to convince him it wasn't enough though; there needed to be more beyond the anecdotes, more for the reader, which sort of meant less for him.

Dad is stubborn. So am I. That ignited some spirited debate. The good news it also sparked creativity with fresh ideas and voices. I joined the writing and so did 10-year-old Samantha. No longer would the book be a hodge podge of favorite dog stories. It would be an ongoing discussion of how our dogs connected us as a family almost as much as blood. And it wouldn't be just about us. Other families could see a part of themselves with their dogs while reading about our experiences.

Our dogs are more than our pets and treasured family members. They're bigger than that. They're bridges to our past and our future. No technology and no institution can offer as much. That is what we discovered in the writing, but it was really there all along. We simply, as the title suggests, followed the dog home.
Walsh Family Returns to Atwood Street


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gotcha! Father Catches Young Daughter Practicing Her Autograph

Ever practice your autograph? Of course you have. Who hasn't? My wife Jean says she practiced signing as Jean Walsh before we we're engaged. Now that's a big aaaaawwwwhhh!!!

Jean Walsh

Somebody else in the family has been practicing her signature too. It's 10-year-old Samantha. I'm pretty sure she sees that as one of the coolest parts of writing a book. I can dig that. The funny thing is, while she's working on it, the big star of Follow the Dog Home--Beverly--is zonked out on the carpet behind her!

Samantha Practicing Her

Thursday, November 17, 2011

To Leash, or Not to Leash: Wait, What's the Question?

Our good friend and star of Follow the Dog Home, Beverly, is on a leash and on her way to Unleashed. But as you can see she's unattached.

Is this a leash law violation? No need for the dogcatcher, someone just caught up to her!

And off they go, Jean and Beverly, to Unleashed the store, where Bev will be off the leash once more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Dog Who Could Read! Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home

Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home Book as told by Bob Walsh:

Our family had gone through a dog-less stretch of more
than a year because of our unsettled family life with the
war and Dick’s treatment for polio. After getting Dick
settled in down in Georgia, my parents came back north.
Dad went back to work with the phone company, but
he was transferred to New York City. Another move! In
1946, we landed in Montclair, New Jersey.

Dick Walsh (left) with
unidentified girl and Bob

We lived on the one hundred block of Essex Avenue. It
was a four-bedroom gray colonial with dark gray shutters
and window boxes for flowers. It was the perfect location.
We were just a block away from Edgemont Elementary
School and a short walk to the Watchung Avenue train
station for Dad’s commute into Manhattan.

We were finally in a home that was ours, and we started
to talk about getting another dog. Based on a collection of
family memories, it was thought a dog would do us—and
especially me—some good.

We were the new people in the
neighborhood. It would be several more months before
Dicky got out of the hospital and making new friends in a
new place wasn’t easy.The thought of a new dog sounded great,
but the realitywas that money was very tight.

Dick’s treatment at WarmSprings was very expensive, about
$50 a day. That’s theequivalent of about $600 a day in today’s
economy. Dadwas a proud man and would not accept any money
from the Sister Kenny Fund that provided funding for the treatment
of polio. There was no medical insurance back then either,
so the cost was entirely out of my parents’ pocket. There
was just no leftover money for nonessential purchases.

Someone suggested picking up a dog at the pound.
We gave it a shot and brought home Frisky. Frisky was a
mid-sized mongrel who really did live up to his name. He
was frisky and he loved to run. If he got out of the house
or off his leash, forget it! It took forever to corral him.

One day, he disappeared for hours. Eventually, we found
him waiting to be discovered under a street sign that read
Essex Avenue in Maplewood. It may be a few towns over
and eight miles away, but my dog could read!

As much as we loved the idea of having a dog back in
the house, the truth is Frisky was a tough dog to love.
His wanderlust became a lot of work, and his behavior
was a liability.  I felt especially bad for the trash man.
As if picking up the trash at six o’clock in the
morning wasn’t hard enough already, that poor guy had
to use the can’s lid for a shield whenever Frisky sought to
hem his pants.

In 1947, Dick came home from Warm Springs, Georgia.
He brought back a cheerful spirit and warm Southern
drawl that he picked up while completing first grade in
the hospital. I was just so happy to have my best friend
and twin back. I had somebody to join me for The Green
Hornet radio show. We chatted a lot and I brought Dick
up to speed on just about everything he missed while he
was gone.

I also had a pal to walk to second grade with—
which is really saying something considering how badly
polio had damaged Dick’s legs.
Doctors thought Dick would never be able to walk
again. The fact that he could was really a testament to his
indomitable spirit and sense of humor.He also learned to dance
at Mrs. Stautinger’s Dance Class, to ride a bike, to fight, and
eventually marry and have three children.

Our dog, Frisky, was as happy as he’d ever been. With
Dick back in the fold, Frisky probably saw my brother
as another littermate—someone to play with. There’s
just something about dogs and children. Sometimes
that playfulness was a bit much.

Frisky saw no foul in bouncing up to Dick’s
face. With Dick’s disability, that led to some tumbles. We
kids suspected that Frisky might not last.

*Next excerpt, find out what happened to Frisky and how a game of cards
brought a new addition to the family.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's not Poison, It's Polio: Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home

Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home book as told by Bob Walsh:

Yes we moved again, but this time it was a move that
brought us all together once more. In early 1945, Dad
came home from Hawaii. He had been gone a total of
almost three years. Housing was available to us on base in
Portsmouth, Virginia, at the Naval Shipyard.
The mood on base was cautiously optimistic. By late
July and early August the war was coming to a head. For
six months the United States had made use of intense
strategic fire-bombing of sixty-seven Japanese cities. Plenty
of people wondered whether the war might soon

While military wives had those conversations over
coffee, Dick and I focused on what mattered most to us—
getting ourselves into that big swimming pool on base as
often as we could.

Dick (left) and Bob Walsh

Suddenly, Dick fell ill. He had what in today’s world
we’d generally classify as flu-like symptoms—fever,
abdominal pain, joint inflammation, and a stiff neck. At
first doctors thought it was Cat Scratch Fever, but polio
was prevalent at the time and it was impossible not to
think about who and where it might strike next.
Shortly after the atomic bombs were dropped on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered on
August 15, 1945. Victory over Japan Day, or V-J Day,
sparked instant parties all around us. But we didn’t feel
like celebrating. That same day, five-year-old Dick was
diagnosed with a severe case of polio. The news was

Soon after Dick’s diagnosis, the family split up again.
In the fall of 1945, my parents took Dick to the Roosevelt
Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in Georgia
where he would be treated for a year with hundreds of other children.

My brother Al and sister Boots went back to Providence to live with Momma
and Poppa Mac on Benefit Street. I went to live with my
father’s folks in Jamaica Plain, not far from the Forest
Hills T-stop.
People ask me the typical twin questions about whether
I felt a part of me was lost, or guilty that my twin was ill
instead of me. I honestly can’t say I did to either question,
or I just wasn’t old enough to understand those feelings.
But I do know this, I missed my brother. He was my
best friend. I never had to look for someone to play with
because Dick was always there and ready to play too.
Polio took all that and him away.

It was my second big loss
in a relatively short amount of time. First Dee Dee, and
now Dick was undergoing treatment for a long stretch.

*In the next excerpt, meet the new family dog who could read
and matched Dee Dee's appetite for exploration.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dog Poisoned, The Last Supper: Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home

An excerpt from Follow the Dog Home book as told by Bob Walsh:

When summer ended, we returned to our new home
on Cornell Avenue in Warwick, Rhode Island, where we
lived for a year. We still made frequent trips to Momma
and Poppa Mac’s in Providence, and Dee Dee always
came along. Dee Dee and Poppa Mac got back into their
familiar routine, walking together to the shipyard.
When we weren’t visiting my grandparents, Dick and
I spent a lot of time playing with Dee Dee on the lawn of
our new home on Cornell Avenue.

Our new neighbors noticed us and most were quick with kindness.
Dee Dee, ever the beggar, found new folks to feed her. And if they
weren’t willing, she’d help herself to whatever was in their
trash cans.

Dee Dee, circa 1941

One neighbor, an elderly man who lived diagonally
across the street watched us regularly from a distance. He
had evil in his eyes and darkness in his heart. It wasn’t just
us. He hated all of the neighbors and their dogs. He was
quick to scold when balls bounced near his property. He
also chased dogs away with a bark of his own and a jab with
his cane. The old codger wasn’t just cruel, he was crafty.

One particular day we saw Dee Dee over on his property
munching away on food that had clearly been left for her.
Dee Dee never returned. A few days later, my mother
and sister went looking for her. They came home looking
as if they had seen a ghost. I asked what was wrong, but
they said nothing. Later Mom said Dee Dee had gone to
visit Momma and Poppa Mac, but never made it back to
the house on Benefit Street after seeing Poppa Mac off to
work. It was all so mysterious.

Dick and I were very sad. Our third wheel was gone
and we missed Dee Dee terribly. We speculated amongst
ourselves that she might have been kidnapped, or run
over by a truck.

“That’s not what happened,” Boots reveals sixty-five
years later, “she was poisoned. That evil man across the
street poisoned her. We found her body in an empty lot
about three houses away. There was a trail of vomit that
led right to the old man’s house and what was left of the
poisoned meat.”

Hearing the revelation floored me. If we knew what
happened and had clear evidence with poisoned meat and
an unapologetic man grinning back at us, why didn’t we
tell the police about it?

“Because there was so much going on back then with the
war,” Boots says, “people were busy just trying to get through
the day and often without fathers and husbands around.”

As tough as losing Dee Dee was on me, it hardly
compared with losing my best friend in the world. That
would come several months later under different, but
similar, circumstances. The vehicle that drove our family
loss came unexpectedly. There is never a good time for the
kind of news I’m about to share, and it came at a time in
our family when we were finally together again.

*Find out what happened to Bob's other best friend in the next
excerpt from the book, Follow the Dog Home.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stinkiest Dog Ever! Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home

Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home Book
as told by Bob Walsh:

Summer came and Dick and I were sent to Durham,
New Hampshire, for an extended stay with my Uncle
John and Aunt Vera Neville at the University of New
Hampshire. My mother and older siblings spent the
summer in Little Creek, Virginia, where my father had
been transferred to be the first Executive Officer of the
new Amphibious Training Station.

Dick (left) with Bob

Albert Walsh

When summer was over, minus Dad, the family
reunited. We lived for a year in a rented home in
Edgewood, Rhode Island, before moving on to a house
mom bought on Cornell Avenue in the Gaspee Plateau
section of Warwick, Rhode Island.
It’s hard to keep track of it all. Were it not for my older
sister Boots, I probably couldn’t tell you much about the
early life we lived. By any measure, it was a vagabond life.
We were moving all the time.
By the time the summer of 1943 rolled in, we were badly
in need of a vacation. As much as the war was pulling us
apart, it actually helped pull us together for the course of
a couple of months. We unwound from the stress of life
with a summer-long family vacation to Cape Cod. Mom
called the Cape “heaven,” and with an opportunity that
really did seem heaven-sent, we lucked into a house rental
in charming Falmouth Heights.

We stayed at the Bristol family compound. The Bristols
were wealthy people who built a handful of homes for
their adult children on a compound. One of the families
had a father away at war and chose not to spend the
summer at the compound. That made the home available
to us. A summer on the Cape in one of the Bristol homes:
it really didn’t get much better than that.

Our home for the summer was a classic wood shake
Cape Cod–style home with four bedrooms. My mom had
her own room. So did Boots, and my older brother, Al.
I shared a room with Dick. That’s how it always was. As
twins, we shared everything. There was a green screened in
porch that sat a couple of feet above the ground. Dee
Dee spent a lot of time under that porch and would later
regret it.

The Bristols were lovely people who made us feel very
welcome. They treated us like family and told us to use the
property however we wished. There was a tennis court.
My brother Al was an excellent player, but my sister
suggests he may have been more interested in who was
hanging around the court than in serve and volley. Betsy
Bristol was an attractive gal who caught Al’s attention.
We were not sure what became of it, and even if we were,
we probably wouldn’t tell.

When Al wasn’t flirting with Betsy, he and Boots were
diving off Falmouth Heights Pier and swimming a grand
distance over to the main beach. Dick and I would catch
up with them later on the sand. Mom just sat in her chair,
watching us and relaxing in the warm sun. Back at the
compound Dee Dee was romping in a salt marsh, raising
more hell digging for the crabs and clams than a heron
ever could. Unfortunately, she found another place to dig.

Underneath the porch, Dee Dee found the home of a
burrowing animal. Determined to get a better look at what
was living in the underground den, Dee Dee made it her
mission to dig the existing hole deeper and wider. After a
furious spurt of energy that sprayed a rooster tail of dirt, a
tail of another kind lifted and sprayed something else.

“OOOOwwwwwwwwwwww!” came the awful sound
of Dee Dee’s dog voice.
It was more of a cry than a bark, and it was clear she
was in trouble. We heard her cries for help and rushed
to the door. Dee Dee came trudging up the steps of the
porch with her ears peeled back, her head down, and her
tail between her legs. She had yellowish spots all about her
face, in the corners of her eyes, and extending down her
back. Her eyes were watering and her nose was running.
And the smell, THE SMELL, was unmistakably the
pungent smell of skunk musk.

“Oh, I remember it well,” Boots says, “poor Dee Dee
was so embarrassed. How bad did it smell? You know
how bad it is when you smell a skunk that’s been hit by a
car? I would say it’s easily five times as bad.”

If your dog has never been sprayed by a skunk, consider
yourself among the fortunate. The cleanup is among the
dirtiest jobs you could ever have. The smell goes without
saying. But it’s more than that. The vapors from the musk
irritate your eyes and throat too.

Mom acted fast. She got in the car, drove to the country
store and bought out the store’s supply of tomato juice.
She came back and filled up a tin washtub. She lifted Dee
Dee into the tub, trying to stay calm so the dog would too.
Dee Dee totally submitted. With a towel, Mom dabbed at

the oily dots of musk sitting on top of the dog’s fur. She
was careful not to press too hard and move her hand in a
windshield wiper motion, as that would only press the oil
deeper into the coat and make the smell last longer. One
cleaning wasn’t enough. Neither was a second. After the
third scrubbing, we thought we had the smell wiped out.

Feeling better about ourselves and Dee Dee, we dumped
what was left in the washtub down by the marsh. Dee Dee
followed us down for a look. When we came back to the
house and bounded back up the steps and into the house,
Dee Dee stopped dead in her tracks at the door.

“Come on, Dee Dee. Come on in,” my mom called as
we went back into the house.

Dee Dee wouldn’t budge. We didn’t understand. Dee
Dee always wanted to be with us and would go to great
lengths to do it. Then we figured it out. Our imperfect
human noses couldn’t smell what she did. She still smelled
herself and was too embarrassed to come inside. We tried
to drag her in by the collar, but she dug her claws into
the wood floor. She would stay outside on the porch for a
week. And then on the eighth day, she came walking right
in as if nothing happened. It took that long for the most
sensitive of noses to know the stench was gone.

*Dee Dee's nose would lead to even more danger.
Read about it in the next excerpt of Follow the Dog Home.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fathers and Dogs Suddenly Disappear: Excerpt #6

Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home book
As told by Bob Walsh:

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, sending shock
waves across the globe, the U.S. mainland, and certainly down Atwood
Street. For my dad and a lot of men, the attack stirred
something inside. Dad wanted to do something about it.
Eventually he did, with ramifications that would affect us
all. My older sister remembers Dad becoming very quiet
after Pearl Harbor and having discussions with my mom
about what he was going to do.

We’re pretty sure the unfortunate circumstances of
the war gave Dad a chance to fulfill what, for him, was
unfinished business. Dad went to the United States Naval
Academy and graduated in 1924. Most men who went to
the service academies back then were expected to make
a career out of the military. But while at Annapolis,
Dad’s eyes deteriorated. It didn’t affect his studies, but it
would have a lasting impact on his military career. His
poor eyesight meant he couldn’t serve on warships. That
essentially put the kibosh on Navy upward mobility.

With his career a
advancement limited, Dad was given the option
to resign from active duty and join the Reserves upon
graduation. That is what he did.
After a few months of cooling his heels and successfully
playing cards with his friends, Dad joined his dad at the
phone company.

The telephone industry was our family
business and nearly everyone else’s back then. Grandpa
(Daniel Walsh) got Dad the job. That was how things worked.
Dad’s return to active duty during the war came
with a caveat. His job in communications at AT&T was
considered “essential” to the war effort. His superiors
didn’t quite understand why he thought he could better
serve his country in a capacity different from what he was
already doing. Clearly, Dad wanted more.

In the spring of 1942, Dad left for the Navy. It was a
sad time for us, but we were very proud of him. He still
couldn’t be on a warship because of his eyes, so he was
assigned to Solomons Island, Maryland, the initial base for
training crews in amphibious operations. The training at
Solomons Island and at the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base
in Little Creek, Virginia—where Dad later served—would
play pivotal roles in the amphibious assaults in places like
Normandy. When his work was done in the Mid-Atlantic
region, he would later serve in Hawaii.

The Walsh Family,
1944: Back row:
Albert Walsh, Jr.,
and Marie Beth “Boots”
Front row: Bob Walsh,

Elizabeth Walsh, and
Dick Walsh

Joining the war effort was a family affair filled with
upheaval and uprooting. When Dad left, we moved
from Wellesley to Providence, Rhode Island. We moved
in with Momma and Poppa MacAdam, my maternal
grandparents. It was especially tough on my older siblings
because they had to change schools. That’s never easy on

While the rest of us missed our dad and worried
about our future, Dee Dee was in doggie heaven in the
home on the one hundred block of Benefit Street near
Brown University. Poppa Mac doted on that dog and took
her everywhere he went, including to work.
Poppa Mac was a tough Scotsman who smoked sweetsmelling
tobacco in a pipe. If you were looking for him,
you could just follow your nose. Or you could call out Dee
Dee’s name and retrace her steps. She would lead you to
him because she was always with him. When he left for
work as a night watchman at the Walsh-Kaiser Shipyard,
Dee Dee walked with him. She’d stay at the shipyard for a
while before walking back home, arriving promptly each
night at eleven. And then one day Dee Dee disappeared.

Find out what happened to Dee Dee in the next excerpt of
Follow the Dog Home.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crazy Dog Goes Foraging for Food: Excerpt #4

Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home Book as told by Bob Walsh:

“She (Dee Dee) was a bum,” Boots says, “and she would go from
house to house where people would feed her. Sometimes
she was gone for a couple of days at a time. We never
really worried about it. She always came back and was
never hungry.”

Dee Dee, 1941

If we decided to search for her, though, it didn’t take
much more than walking down our street and calling out
her name. “Dee Dee, Dee Dee,” was often followed by the

sound of a front door opening and a voice calling out,
“She’s over here.”

To understand how much Dee Dee meant to me, you
have to have an understanding of what life was like in
my family and America at the time. Life was good. The
nation was just about over the Great Depression, and my

dad had a good job in the fast growing telephone industry.
We moved from New Jersey to Wellesley, MA in 1940. It was
practically a homecoming for Dad who was born and
raised in the nearby Forest Hills section of Boston’s
Jamaica Plain.
I look back at old photos and see an age of innocence,
when we did simple things like take a bath in a tin washtub
in the backyard with my dog Dee Dee ever watchful. What
fun we didn’t find in the backyard we found at Morses
Pond near Wellesley College.

My brother and me in the backyard, 1941. 
Dee Dee keeping watch, top right.

Baseball was in its Golden Age, too. Up and down
Atwood Street and across America, you could hear radios
crackling with the call. The Red Sox were king in New
England and Ted Williams was God. But God got robbed
in 1941. Despite hitting .406, Ted Williams lost the MVP
to Joe DiMaggio and his fifty-six-game hitting streak.
Even with grumblings about Williams’s lost award
during neighborhood stickball games, there was a healthy
respect for Joe DiMaggio on Atwood Street.

There were plenty of New York transplants around us who rooted
for the Yankees, or the Brooklyn Dodgers. Plus, Joe’s
younger brother, Dominic, a seven-time All-Star, played
center field for the Red Sox. Before Sunday afternoon
games at Fenway Park, you could catch “Dom” DiMaggio
at morning Mass at St. Paul’s in Wellesley. The Yankees
won the World Series in 1941, and the Red Sox finished
second in the American League. Still, it was a very good
year—until December. Everything changed on December 7, 1941.

*In our next excerpt, how the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor altered
the course of American life, and ultimately led Dee Dee to her death.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Child's First Dog and America's Guest: Excerpt #4, Follow the Dog Home Book

From Bob Walsh (Kevin's Dad):

I’m not sure what my father’s early history was with dogs,
whether he had them growing up. He very well may have,
I don’t know. My sister, Boots, says they first had a Boston
Terrier—but that was before I was born. I just know we
always had dogs in our house.

My first dog was Dee Dee. Dee Dee was short for
her registered name of Dimity Davis. Everybody had a
nickname back then, even the dogs. Perhaps readers can
remember their very first dog and what that dog meant
to them. Dee Dee was a Smooth Fox Terrier mix. She was
a somewhat scruffy and very energetic little pup with an
enormous self-image. She was a little-bit-of-a-thing with
a great heart and huge appetite, which would eventually
be her undoing.

Dee Dee, foreground with me and my family, 1941.
My mother is holding me. My sister, Marie Beth
"Boots", is holding my twin brother, Dick.

Bob Walsh. For almost forty years, Bob Walsh worked in
the pharmaceutical industry before retiring to live the good
life in his early sixties. That means spending time with his
second wife, Mary. Bob married Mary in 1995. She too was a
widow who had lost her spouse. Their extended Brady Bunch
family includes nine adult children and twenty grandchildren.
Regularly by Bob’s side is his ever faithful dog, a Corgi named
Annie. Whether it is building a fly rod from scratch, tying flies,
or four-wheeling into a fishing hole filled with trout, Annie is
often with him.

Dee Dee was rarely far away from my twin brother and
me, unless of course she was foraging for food. She was
affectionate if you entered her space, but more often than
not, she preferred to lie down a step or two away.

“Oh, Dee Dee would often keep an eye on the twins. She
wouldn’t get too close, but if you put a barrier in the way,
she’d get very upset,” my sister Marie Beth (Boots) Hall
would fight. They were hungry and grumpy and would
sometimes take it out on each other. My mother had them
fenced in, inside of a playroom just off the kitchen. Dee
Dee was on the outside. She would cry, whine, and howl
with them. I think the twins’ crying hurt Dee Dee’s ears.
And she didn’t want to be separated from the kids.”

I was too young to remember those moments—or even
that photo of us with Dee Dee on the front stoop of the
house on Atwood Street—but that’s nice to hear now. Not
the crying tales—but the part about how much Dee Dee
loved us. We certainly loved her. Dee Dee had the run of
the house—as long as it was downstairs. My mother didn’t
think dogs should be on beds or upstairs. The upstairs
were for people and sleeping. Outside, though, it was free
rein, and Dee Dee would follow her nose to wherever she
could get a free meal.

*In our next excerpt, where Dee Dee went for dinner, and how we
rounded her up to bring her back home.