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Archive for the ‘Vintage Photos’ Category

Meeting Perki the Pekingese this weekend reminded us that someone near & dear to our hearts raised Pekingese dogs in the 1930s… could we find vintage evidence of the cute little smooshed-in faces of those Lion Dogs of yesteryear? Mais oui!

We found a trio of lovable little munchkin dogs —

And one happy dog doing tricks for his treats … so long ago. A moment captured forever. A gift of remembrance across time and space.

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Cooper and Swirl’s great friend Priscilla shares this sweet vintage photo of her husband’s father, Billy, and his Boston Terrier, Jackie, circa 1922. Priscilla has a couple of revealing stories about that angelic-looking little boy and his napping pup …

“Billy grew up in New York, so that’s where the picture was probably taken. His father was a violinist in burlesque theaters, but also played Carnegie Hall! Bill did not get the musical gene, but went on to become a big Pentagon mucketymuck. And he always liked dogs.

Many years ago, when my husband and I had a Boston Terrier, Bill asked my husband what Boston Terriers did. He asked this while the dog was snuggled on his lap. My husband answered, “She’s doing it, dad.” …Bill clarified his question with, “I mean, do they hunt, are they for sport, working dogs — what were they intended for?” … But my husband insisted, “She’s doing what she was bred to do: sit on your lap and keep your knees warm —  that’s it.” … He left out: they bite bad little boys….

You see, Bill once said to me, categorically, “I don’t like Boston Terriers.”  Why is that? I asked. “Because one bit me when I was a kid,” he said sullenly, and pouted like he was 5-years-old… What did you do to it? I asked… Indignantly, he said, “That’s just what my mother said!” But he never told me, what he had done … Yea, he was 5, you know he did something …”

“We love this photo,” Cooper says, “and thank Priscilla for sharing it with us!”

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Beaming from ear to ear, it seems this natty gentleman is quite proud of his handsome dog and his spiffy new wheels… A notation on the photo reads: Reese, Mt. Baker Park, Seattle, January 18, 1929. A celebratory moment captured in time forever  ….

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Cooper and Swirl’s pound pup-loving friends Ria & Don looked thru his Grandpa’s memory album over the weekend, and found some incredible vintage photos from a visit to Alaska during the 1930s. That lucky Alaskan Malamute (above) even has his own log cabin! Cooper says, “That must’ve been snug when the North Wind blew!”

This charming vintage photo of three beautiful little girls and their best pups captures a moment in time… We wonder what the future held for those young girls. Are they wise, cherished elders today? Do relatives of those little pups still toil by the side of the families of those girls? We hope their futures were bright! Sometimes vintage photos tell a story; sometimes they leave more questions behind than answers.

What we do know for sure, is that Alaskan dogs were indispensable to the lives of Native Alaskans and the adventurers and explorers who found their way to the Great North. Images of their sled dogs are iconic, and stories of the dogs’ strength and courage are legend.

It’s interesting that the best sled dogs weren’t the biggest, but usually mixed-breed, 50-pound athletes, with an instinctive desire to pull, and a natural curiosity to see what was around the next corner. While our backyard pups easily thrive on 1,500 calories-per-day, a working sled dog can down 10,000 calories-per-day, just to maintain his high-energy output.

And here’s a thought: Cooper reveals, “Many sled dogs have sensitive feet, and in a long trek, they wear fleece-lined booties to protect their pads. Each bootie lasts about 100 miles, and a dog team might use 2,000 booties in just one long trek! Wow! We’re glad owners take such great care of their dogs.”

Thanks for sharing your vintage photos, Ria & Don, and honoring those remarkable Alaskan dogs. Here are more great vintage photos of Alaskan dogs from an earlier post on http://CooperAndSwirl.com

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Isn’t this a charming family portrait? “On a scale of 1-to-10, it’s an 11!” Cooper says…

Found in a friend’s old photo album, these two vintage photos are captioned: Alaskan dogs–Mt. McKinley Park, Alaska… 1930.

This proud canine family, perhaps a mix of Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute, are probably descended from an original working sled dog, which recent DNA research confirms is among the oldest of dogs. Pound-for-pound, they are the most powerful pulling animals on earth, able to maintain speeds of 8- to 12-miles-per hour for literally hundreds of miles.

Essential partners for life in the far North, these darling little pups would grow up to pull sleds with laden with people, goods and mail. In 1925, a devastating diphtheria epidemic hit Alaska, and sled dog teams and their mushers delivered life-saving medicine to Nome, Alaska, from Nenana–almost 700 miles distant. Despite 80-mph-winds and temperatures of 40-below, an heroic lead dog named Balto brought the precious cargo in, and saved many lives.

“He was a national hero!” says Cooper, and he’s right. Today, in New York City’s Central Park there is a statue in Balto’s honor, and a plaque that states:

Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the winter of 1925.  Endurance · Fidelity · Intelligence


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Years ago, when our neighbor’s young German Shepherd left to enter military school, we were reminded that dogs have bravely served alongside their masters and mistresses for centuries… Of course, most did not have the benefit of intense special training that our youthful friend had.

Some, like Rags (above) strayed into their destiny… Rags was a Cairn Terrier–a French pup who met the U. S. 1st Infantry Division in France in 1917. He quickly overcame any language barrier, and volunteered to relay messages along the front lines, doing his duty although bombs often rained down all around him. Rags served bravely, even after he was partially blinded by gas. He returned to the U.S. with his military family, whom he continued to devote his considerable energies to, for the rest of his long life. Cooper says, “A wag of the tail to you, Rags! Merci!”


Little bright-eyed Smoky (above) was 4-pounds of pluck and goodwill, who was discovered in a New Guinea jungle in 1944 by an American G.I. No powder puff, the diminutive Yorkie lived a soldiers’ life with Corporal William Wynne for the next 2 years. She scoffed at the thought that dogs are afraid of heights (humbug!), and flew a dozen rescue and reconnaissance missions. In camp, when her sizable ears detected enemy planes coming, she’d bark a warning to Wynne; they survived 150 air raids. After the war, tiny Smoky stowed away inside an oxygen mask case and flew to the States, where, for the next decade, she shared her joy in living with wounded veterans, and helped them heal. The Coopster says, “Thanks, little Smoky, for your great, big heart! You’re good therapy!”

And then, there was Stubby, who famously served in WWI. He, too, strayed into his future when he wandered onto a playing field at Yale University, perhaps looking for some easy-going fun. Instead, he found the 102nd Infantry doing exercises, and decided to join up, on the spot! He allied himself with Corporal J. Robert Conroy. Together, they served on the front lines in France, where an alert Stubby captured a German spy by chomping on the seat of his baggy britches. Grrrrr….. Don’t mess with Stubby! This brave Pit Bull was awarded many medals and eventually met three (!) Presidents, but his real reward was Mr. Conroy’s lifelong devotion.

“My heroes,” Cooper says, with awe. “A wag of the tail and our eternal gratitude to you!” When Stubby died in 1926, The New York Times published a memorable obituary of this brave pooch.

So, on this Memorial Day 2010, Cooper and Swirl honor all the brave men and women, living and dead, who have served with such generosity of spirit. And a wag of the tail to their steadfast 4-legged friends, who faithfully serve at their side.

Heroes all.

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Vintage photos remind us, how completly timeless the connection is between dogs and their people. We loved seeing the little boy’s pride in his prized pup (below)– a moment in time, captured nearly 80 years ago… And we’d love to see more!

If you have a vintage dog photo to share, please do! (say, anything before 1980–after all, the 70s were very good years) Tell us a little about the people and the dogs in the photo. Or if like us and the photo-postcard we found, you’re unsure of who they are, just imagine what story it tells.

Email us your vintage dog photos at: cooperandswirl@earthlink.net

We’ll share them here (and nowhere else–promise). We’ll delight in the wonderful dogs that have enriched the lives of your families and friends thru the years. We’ll smile with you. Cooper says, “Heaven knows, we can always use more smiles!”

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