Unforgettable Mutts: Pure of Heart Not of Breed

Unforgettable Mutts: Pure of Heart Not of Breed

by Karen Derrico

Mutts, mongrels, mixed breeds, and unpedigreed dogs give more love and do more service than all purebreds combined. Pure of Heart Not of Breed honors these heroes of the canine world. Author Karen Derrico profiles both famous mutts in history and everyday mutts across America.

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Mutts, mongrels, mixed breeds, and unpedigreed dogs give more love and do more service than all purebreds combined. Pure of Heart Not of Breed honors these heroes of the canine world. Author Karen Derrico profiles both famous mutts in history and everyday mutts across America.

Editorial Reviews

Mary Elizabeth Thurston
"Anyone who has ever loved a one-of-a-kind canine will find Karen Derrico's book not only enjoyable and informative, but affirming of the power of the human-dog bond." —Mary Elizabeth Thurston, The Lost History of the Canine Race
Phyllis Levy
"Animal lovers will be spellbound as the underdogs in Unforgettable Mutts journey from the worst of circumstances to the best—happy and loving homes. From Ginny, the irresistible hero dog who rescues cats, to Zak, who learns how good it is to be one-of-a- kind, you'll be captivated by these unconditional (and true) love stories. Outstanding photos to touch your heart—the ultimate feel-good book." —Phyllis Levy, Books Editor, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
Randy Green
"A delightful kaleidoscope of mixed-breed fairy tales come true. Americans love underdogs and they'll be captured by Derrico's vignettes of mutts who have overcome long odds to win the hearts of owners—from common folks to presidents and from a network of postal workers to an infantry regiment." —Ranny Green, SEATTLE TIMES
Susan McElroy
"Finally, a book that goes beyond airbrushed, coffee-table collections of show-winning purebreds and gets to the heart of the human-dog matter! Karen Derrico has created a soul- warming collection of stories and photos celebrating the shining star of dogdom—the mutt." —Susan Chernak McElroy, Animals as Teachers and Healers

Product Details

NewSage Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.06(w) x 8.97(h) x 0.66(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2 "Annie the Railroad Dog"
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, it was all people could do to care for themselves, let alone their dogs. And certainly not a stray dog of unknown origin. But in the town of Fort Collins, Colorado, a bedraggled-looking collie mix caught the hearts of a few railway men from the Colorado and Southern Railroad.

The men found the dog shivering and starving outside the local blacksmith's shop, near the railway, and took pity on the frightened young pup. She was very timid at first, but after the rail workers came to visit her a few times, offering scraps of food, she began to warm up. She would gently take the food, and then lick their hands afterwards as a gesture of thanks.

They decided to take the dog back to the train depot, but first wanted to be sure she didn't belong to anyone. The blacksmith inside the shop where they had found her told them, "She's just a skinny mutt that nobody wants. I think she is a mixed-breed sheep dog. I'm going to get rid of her because she is going to have puppies." It was decided then and there that the men would adopt the dog as their official railway mascot.

They carried the dog in their arms and boarded the train to take her to her new home at the Fort Collins train depot. A special bed was made for her in the basement, and the railway workers promised each other that their little friend would never spend another night being alone, scared, and hungry. She now had a family and a place to call home.

They named their new mascot Annie, after a dog that Chris the brakeman had as a child. Although all of the men quickly grew to love Annie, and she loved them, Chris was always her favorite. A few weeks after she came to live at the train depot, Annie's three pups were born. Families who adopted the pups were carefully selected by the railway workers to ensure that Annie's offspring would never have to endure what their mother had been through.

During a time of such dark despair, Annie brought a ray of sunshine to the people of Fort Collins, Colorado. She was always happy, with a tail that seemed to wag twenty-four hours a day. For the next fourteen years, she faithfully greeted passengers at the train depot. Everyone who met Annie loved her. Newcomers were often amazed to see local people get off the train to run and greet Annie before greeting their families. It is said that many battle-weary World War II soldiers would sink to their knees, take Annie into their arms and cry for joy when they returned home by train.

When Annie was about twelve, Chris retired from the railway, but he still came to the station every day to take Annie for walks around town. The two would make daily visits to the local police and fire stations and then walk down the street to the Silver Grill Cafe, where Annie would happily dine on cooked scraps saved especially for her. Sometimes they would stop at the nearby meat market to collect bones the butcher had saved for Annie, and the ice cream shop where kids would run outside to greet Annie and offer her a few licks from their cones.

As Chris and Annie grew older together arthritis began to take its toll on the both of them. Their daily walks became shorter and slower. Sometimes they would just sit together on the porch at Chris's house, Annie laying quietly beside him, while he gently stroked her fur and talked to her.

At the age of fourteen, Annie passed away quietly in her sleep in her special bed at the train depot. All who knew her were deeply saddened by her death especially her close friend Chris. The men of the Colorado and Southern Railroad broke all the rules and buried her right next to the tracks where she had spent her life. They erected a three-foot tall headstone that reads: "From C and S Men to Annie. . . Our Dog."

It has been more than fifty years since Annie died, but she has never been forgotten. Today her grave-site is a historical landmark, and has been surrounded by a wrought-iron fence with stone pillars, donated by the city of Fort Collins. For many years a mystery person has placed colorful artificial flowers on Annie's grave at different times during the year, and others who knew her when they were children often stop to visit her grave site. Annie is truly a cherished local legend.

A striking 29-inch bronze statue bearing Annie's likeness and friendly demeanor was created by Dawn Weimer, a local wildlife artist. In August 1998, the Fort Collins Public Library held a fund-raising dog walk event to purchase the statue, where it now has a permanent home.

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