In Memory Of Putney


This blog is written in honor of Putney… a  cute 15 year old Rat Terrier. Putney came into my life 4 years ago when I first began working at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and died one month ago.

She had a rough life… a mom who loved her dearly, but didn’t have a stable life where she could take proper care of Putney…a life without much stability. Putney was one of those dogs that loved to be near you, but rarely wanted to be touched.  She taught me a lot… that you could love another living being without ever being able to have close physical contact (the first time I was ever able to give her a hug was after she passed away). She taught me that if we let go of assumptions about how we ‘should’ interact with a dog that is a family member, and accept a dog’s needs and wishes in terms of what type of relationship THEY are comfortable with, we can have a wonderful and special relationship… one that is very rewarding. In honor of Putney, this blog celebrates the unique special traits of every single dog… even dogs who, on the surface, have lots of challenges. This list is written in fond memory of the Putster-Ann Lady.

Rest in Peace Putney – October 1996 – June 30, 2012

Putney (1)


  1. When she was happy, she greeted you with a super sweet Putney-howl!
  2. When it rained, she used her paws like windshield wipers to wipe the rain off of her face.
  3. Until her last day, she loved playing with toys- she didn’t retrieve toys, or share them with you, but loved chomping on them and the noise they produced. Her favorites were stuffed hedgehogs, Bad Cuz, and anything with a squeaker— she LOVED when they invented those toys with 12 squeakers!
  4. She loved sleeping next to me in bed, curled up on the backside of my knees.
  5. She was a low maintenance dog- one short petting session per day made her happy- she didn’t want or need more, which is nice when you have a house full of dogs and kids. When she came up to me with her ears back and a feverishly wagging tail, I knew it was time for petting… let the love session begin! 🙂
  6. She was my other Rat Terrier’s (Herbie) buddy. Before her arthritis got bad, a few times per week she’d go up to him and put her head over his shoulders and solicit play. The play lasted all of 20 seconds or so, because she would become uncomfortable once he reciprocated, but it was sooo cute!
  7. She was very loyal. Putney had a few people in the world that she loved -tolerated might be the better word 😉 – and very little interest in anyone else.
  8. She was a tough and determined old girl- could barely walk before she died, couldn’t see or hear well, couldn’t eat well, but still had the determination to follow me on her twice daily lap around our property.  She was strong-minded and didn’t give up on things.
  9. She had attitude, was not afraid to speak her mind, or hurt people’s feelings. You knew if she was happy. You knew if she wasn’t feeling well. You KNEW if she was unhappy.
  10. She tolerated living with the 20 or so foster dogs we’ve had over the past 4 years- many of who knocked her over when they were running around excitedly, not to mention a toddler who thought it was hilarious  to walk ‘right’ behind her all the time and to herd her around the house while she growled at him, and she never bit anyone!

Goodbye sweet girl… I miss you!

– Dr. Sheila D’Arpino