Back in the DayPublished January 7, 2008
I was going through a stack of old pictures over the holiday break and came across this gem: “That’s Bella!” my Dad exclaimed. I’ve always heard tales (tails?) of the boxers my Dad had as a child and finally I had photographic proof of Sumner’s familial legacy. Perhaps I’ve always been drawn to boxers because it’s in my blood? Dad explained that Bella had her own elaborate kennel, and she could let herself in and out of it. She had three puppies at the time these photos were taken, seen here: While I’m charmed by the old-timey look of the shots, and fascinated by how the breed has changed over the past sixty-plus years, I’m a little saddened by a few aspects of the photos: 1. Bella’s choke chain. Thankfully choke chains aren’t as popular now that positive reinforcement training has all but replaced the outdated “correction” style of training. Unfortunately, back then training by force was the only option. 2. The doghouse. Again, the canine world was a very different place sixty years ago, and “backyard dogs” were the norm. Given a choice, though, any dog would opt for the family home over a fancy outdoor doghouse. 3. The puppies. Did the canine overpopulation problem exist in the 1940s? Probably not at the level that it does now. The concept of adopting dogs from the shelter is so ingrained within me that I found it mildly distasteful to discover that my grandparents bred Bella as well as a few other dogs over the years. Sure, I just threw my ancestors under the bus, but it was with a nod to the different world they inhabited.
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