PETS ARE often considered a major part of one’s family.

That’s the case with Ye OLD Columnist (YOC). I have a dog, Mandy, who has been a part of my family since July, 2003. Mandy is a Papillon, and she was seven years old on April 25.

During my late wife’s (Ann) valiant battle with cancer in 2003 and 2004, Mandy and Ann became dear friends. I’ve often thought Mandy sensed Ann was seriously ill. It took Mandy some time to adjust to Ann’s departure. For days after Ann’s death, Mandy would search the house for Ann.

Let me briefly tell you about Papillons. They are a small dog with large ears. Papillon, a French word, means butterfly. Thus Papillons have large, butterfly ears. They are extremely intelligent, and are often trained for various stunts in circuses.

Papillons have long hair, and their tails tend to curl over their backs in the shape of a question mark. Most are black and white with some having a tri color of brown, blended with the black and white.

Prior to Mandy’s move-in with us, we had another Papillon, named Precious. She lived for 15 years (1988-2003). Yes, she was Precious in “every sense of the word.” Mandy is also “precious,” and a most devoted and kind dog. Her ears are super sensitive to sounds and noises.

One notable difference between Precious and Mandy is their weight. Precious only weighed four pounds, while Mandy tips the scales at 12 pounds. Papillons can vary in weight from three pounds to 12 pounds. That’s the information from one of my dog books.

Yesterday, as I was writing next week’s Snippets on V-J Day, Mandy came in my office, tugged at my right pant’s leg. I immediately stopped my typing, pushed my chair back from the desk, whereby she could jump in my lap.

As she sat on her hind legs in my lap, she looked into my eyes, and gently asked with her soft, high-pitched voice, “Stu, why don’t you ever mention me in your columns? You’ve had two columns on Rocky Littlejohn, and none on me.”

I will readily admit Mandy’s question took me by surprise, and for a few seconds I was at a loss for words. I was finally able to respond, “Mandy, you’ve got a good question, and it’s one I need to correct. Yes, I need to write a column about you because you are most deserving.”

That seemed to satisfy her as she jumped to the floor and headed for her water bowl in the kitchen. As she exited my office, she paused at the door, turned towards me and said, “Stu, thanks for your time. I would like to meet Rocky Littlejohn some time. From what you’ve said about him, he must be a mighty fine dog.”

With that comment, Mandy continued the short walk to the kitchen for a drink of cool water.

THIS CITY lost one of its most talented citizens when J. Louis Evans, former mayor, passed away late last month. It will be a long time before Stephenville will have another person of J.’s ability.

J. was an individual, who could get the job done. He was not a “tomorrow person.” When he was assigned a job, he did it right away, and he did it right.

YOC’s friendship with J. goes back to a hot day in July, 1954, when we first met in the old Rec Hall on the Tarleton campus. This city has lost a “can-do person,” and YOC has lost a dear friend. Condolences are in order to his wife, Martha; daughter, Emily; grandson, Brandon; granddaughter, Chandler; and other relatives.

‘TIL NEXT TIME — “The dog, in life, is the firmest friend, the first to welcome, foremost to defend.” — Lord George Gordon Byron, (1788-1824), British Poet

Dr. Stuart Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville.