Petey, the Cedar Ridge Weiner Collie 1997-2011
Most of you know that our dear dog Petey passed away on March 10. But some of you may not know some of the very wonderful things about him.
Petey was our son Ryan’s first dog. He had been wanting a puppy and loved small dogs, but because I was a “big dog” person at the time, I was looking for something that I could “pretend” was a big dog. I was looking for a Sheltie mix, so that I could channel “Collie.” Petey was advertised as a “Sheltie mix” but I think there was an emphasis on the “mix.” We could see Corgi – maybe even Dachsund with those crooked little legs and feet that toed out in the front.
He was insulted in various ways – “vertically challenged” – “the dog made of spare parts” etc. but he was all love. He had an intensity and soulfulness about him that is hard to describe.
Petey was one of Ryan’s 4-H projects. When he was just a little over a year old, he was Reserve Champion Pre-Novice at State 4-H. After that he got bored and didn’t really want to be bothered with that obedience thing. He guarded our front porch for many years, but was always willing to come to the barn for “treats” - some authorized and some not. Food was his primary passion, although he was a very effective horse herder in his day with his authoritative bark. And he could really move on those little legs!
Petey lived on a farm for his entire life. He never had to visit a kennel, and was really well loved. He had been having seizures which became much more frequent in his final days. Dr. Bednarek speculated that he might have had a brain tumor. I last saw him at 2pm on the 10th. I came home to let him out – he wandered about in the sunshine. Three hours later when I got home from work he had passed away – I found him in a patch of sun near the back door. Such a blessed death to go with a blessed life. Rest in Peace, our dear friend.
Tontine was with us for over 20 years. He represented everything good about Cedar Ridge since its founding in 1993.
Tontine came into our lives from the Milwaukee area humane society. He had been surrendered because of lameness - a "throwaway" in many respects.
But he was great with children and became our first horse, living in the backyard on Skyline Circle. He quickly became a neighborhood favorite, willingly giving rides and accepting treats.
At Cedar Ridge, Tontine was always the favorite. He taught hundreds of kids and adults how to ride; even people with disabilities - including blindness. His youngest rider was eighteen months old, and we're not sure about the oldest one. He did dozens of parades, too many trail rides to count, and was a favorite mount with summer campers, as well.
There are so many stories, it's hard for me to come up with a favorite. But I think "Tontine Saves the Day" would have to be "it."
Tontine and our then 12-year old son, Dylan, participated along with the rest of the family on the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Wagon Train. All week, we had heard that Governor Thompson would be joining us, and it finally happened on the last day of the two week journey. The wagon master thought it would be fun to put Republican Thompson on a mule, and even though he was a steady mount, he and the first wagon refused to cross a scary bridge in Depere. Dylan and Tontine cantered up to the front of the train, and led the entire group to the end of the trail.
No horse has ever been so loved, for so long, by so many. Happy Trails, dear friend.
Tontine with April Ott (above) and Brittney Wissink (below)