The Dog Family Tree: A Brief History and Timeline of the Baer’s Dogs

The love affair that my family has with dogs started LONG before I was born.

I realized I’ve never mentioned my dogs in any of my previous 26 posts. That’s a shame, so I wanted to dive in and give a timeline and brief history of the Baer Family Tree (for Dogs) – starting with my parent’s first dog.

Back in 1990 when my parents decided to get a dog, they originally intended to get a black lab. However, when they drove to the litter, a yellow lab named Bruiser (for his massive paws) wouldn’t stop nudging up on my parents and saying hi to them. They couldn’t resist Bruiser, brought him home a couple weeks later, and changed his name to Corky.

Corky as a puppy versus Corky in his old age

Whether it was winning Dog Derby races at Southland Park Gaming & Racing or being an insanely good frisbee catcher, he was always a ball of energy and notoriously wild. They even found a Maxfly golf ball in his stomach one day. I’d say the best comparison for Corky is Marley from Marley and Me: he was always getting into something but you always loved him at the end of the day. What I personally remember most about him was falling asleep with him on the floor in my house. He was such a comfortable pillow and an even better dog.

From left to right: Leah (my sister), me, and Corky

Corky sadly passed when I was around 7-years-old, but we still talk about him all of the time. That’s the best part about dogs: I feel like their spirit always lives on.

About a year before Corky died, we got another puppy: a yellow-lab with a rose-colored tint to her coat and the friendliest pup you’ve ever met. We named her Rosey Baer.

Then, not too long after Corky died, we wanted to find another friend for Rosey. But this time we decided to rescue a dog after learning about the importance of rescuing animals versus picking them up from a litter. At the animal shelter, we lucked out again and found Denny, ANOTHER yellow lab with a much lighter coat, and brought him home too. Denny and Rosey truly were my best friends growing up since the age of seven.

Pictured below: Rosey is the rose-colored dog and Denny has a lighter-colored coat.

I could tell countless stories from growing up with Rosey and Denny .

I could talk about the time Leah and I swam across muddy dog pond with both of Denny and Rosey, and then driving home with them in the back of my dad’s F-150; about Denny being afraid of anything and everything, especially our basement and vacuum cleaners; about Rosey giving us one last dish cleaning before the dishwasher ran; about the made-up language Mutamu I’ve had with them since I was a kid (if you know, you know); about how we couldn’t go on walks without them barking viciously at any dog we passed; about how I used to train Rosey for the MLB in my backyard (while failing to train myself); or about how Denny would steal Rosey’s toys and then Rosey would bark at Denny until he gave it back (he never would).

Then, in the summer of 2018, Leah finally decided it was her time to get a puppy. When Uncle Joel’s golden retriever Bonnie was pregnant, Leah couldn’t resist getting a puppy for herself, just like my parents couldn’t resist almost 30 years earlier. After she helped with the birth, Uncle Joel let her pick out her favorite puppy, and she lucked out big time with the next dog in the Baer family line: Teddy Baer.

Teddy as a puppy in 2018
Teddy as a grown dog

Teddy, who is now a little over 2-years-old, is such an hilarious dog. Every day, I find him chasing his tail and then doing acrobatic somersaults over his tail when he finally catches the tail in his mouth. There was this one time as a puppy when he ate all of his baby teeth that were sitting in a container next to my sister’s bed.

At this point in summer of 2018, we now had three dogs in the family: Rosey, Denny, and Teddy. While it took Denny some time to get used to the new family member (like I said, he HATED other dogs), Rosey was too (and frankly sick) to care about him. Teddy reminds me SO much of Rosey, especially when he licked our dirty plates at the same time as her. As a puppy, it was so awesome seeing him learn the ropes of the house from the old dogs in the family.

Rosey and Teddy licking the plates together in 2018.
Denny, Teddy, and Rosey sitting down together in 2018.

Sadly, our 3-dog family wouldn’t last long. During that same summer that Leah got Teddy, we had to put Rosey down at the age of 15. She could barely walk and got to the point where she wouldn’t even eat her food. It was the first time I lost a family member so close to me, and, frankly, it wasn’t easy. But just like Corky, we knew she was in a better place now in doggy heaven.

As for Denny, he’s still kicking now at the ripe young age of 18! He’s still walking relatively well, tries to run only when it’s meal time, and overall enjoying life at his age. He’s truly a miracle dog.

We’re down to 2 dogs at home. The juxtaposition of Denny’s frail old age and Teddy’s active puppy energy (and occasional mischievous behavior) is something that I always find hilarious. Teddy is always trying to play and Denny, well, doesn’t want to play. In fact, one time, I walked into the house only to see Denny sitting in a pile of feathers from a torn-up couch pillow and Teddy looking guilty as anything. If you want to see the video, just send me a DM or email.

Without telling every single story about my dogs, I just wanted to reiterate how much my dogs mean to me and my family. Whoever first said that a dog was a man’s best friend was spot on. I don’t think you can ever forget your first dogs growing up, and I can’t imagine a life without them. For that, I’m so thankful to my parents for having dogs in our family, to my sister for being the first Baer child to get a puppy, and, of course, to my dogs for all of the unforgettable memories I’ve had with them.

Now that you know the Baer Dog Family Tree, the only question left is: when am I going to get a puppy myself?

Cheers to puppy love,

JB


This was Day 27 of my 30 Day Blogging Challenge! But I think I’ll stick around longer.

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Published by Jonah Baer

Florida State student | Memphis, TN native

2 thoughts on “The Dog Family Tree: A Brief History and Timeline of the Baer’s Dogs

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