Greta The German Sheppard – Leesburg Florida 1955 – 1964
She is waiting near the Rainbow Bridge for Dogs. (I don’t know if there is a separate bridge for cats. If so I’ll have to cross several bridges 🙂 )
Part of the George O. Pringle family.
The Rainbow Bridge for Dogs and Cats and Other Special Pets – Poem.
Before I get into waxing poetic about Greta, here is the Rainbow Bridge Poem. This poem was written between 1980 and 1993 and the author is unknown. It has given comfort to hundreds of thousands of grieving pet owners.
Since I know it is hard to read on the image, here it is in text form:
The Rainbow Bridge Just this side of heaven is a place called the Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to the Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together
…. Author unknown…
The Rainbow Bridge For Dogs, Cats and Pets- Where Greta is Waiting
Greta was a part of my heart for all of my high school years. I rode a bike everywhere in the small Florida town of Leesburg and where I went (or my three brothers went), Greta was there.
The Movie Theater
As one example I remember the Tropic Movie Theater. We could watch a movie and get a box of popcorn and a soda for 25 cents. Occasionally my mother would call the theater and ask the manager (who of course knew her – it was a small town) if one of the Pringle boys was in the theater. He would say “Let me check” and step outside. There was a small alcove in the side of the building. If Greta was there then at least one of us was inside. Mom would ask him to have us pick up some milk or whatever on the way home. Everyone knew Greta.
Watching her Boys
Another instance sticks out in my mind. I was standing on my back porch with a friend watching 10 to 15 kids play in our back yard. I mentioned that Greta was “watching the boys” (my brothers). My friend protested that she was asleep under a tree. I insisted she was on guard. Finally I called one of the bigger boys over and asked for a favor. I asked him to go over to my brother Frank and holler in his face. Then he was to grab Frank by the arm. He said okay and went to carry out my favor.
The first loud word was hardly out of his mouth when Greta magically appeared beside the two boys. Once Frank’s arm was touched we could all hear a rumble across the whole yard. The bigger boy decide he was done for the day and turned away. He hadn’t taken two steps before Greta was back “asleep under the tree.” My friend asked what would have happened next if the bigger boy had continued his threat. My replay was: “We don’t know. No one in Leesburg has been stupid enough to find out.”
Slaps in the Face
One day I needed to run a quick errand and asked Greta if she wanted a ride in the car. Of course she did! On the way home, 15 minutes later, her head jerked up and she started to pace in on the bench seat that was the front seat of the small car. Every time she turned around I got a big tail slap – right in the face. About two blocks from the house she jumped out the window ar 25 miles per hour and was gone like a shot. Two minutes later, when I got home, I discovered the problem. She had forgotten that the rest of her boys were playing in the back yard – without supervision or a guard. There she was “asleep” under her tree – on guard for bullies or dragons.
Greta Could Count
One day we noticed that Greta was great at counting. She was always where the maximum number of “at risk” Pringle boys were. If one left the house, she still had three at home and she stayed. If a second left, she still had two at home. so she stayed. If the third one left, she went with the one who was outside. If we were all home and two or three left together, she would go with the group who were outside. We tried to confuse sometimes by coming in and out of the various doors in the house. She was better than that and was right 99% of the time. It felt strange one day when I realized that I had “graduated.” I was old enough that I no longer figured into her counting.
Never Lose as Chess or Checkers
In the 50’s and 60′ board games where how you spent the evenings. Video games didn’t exist and TV was a fraction of what it is now. In our house you never had to lose. You just let Greta in and her tail would sweep the board clear – game over. 🙂
You Will Be Sleeping in Greta’s Bed
I came home for my first weekend after I left for college. I knew I’d be in the “guest bedroom.” My old room had gone to one of my brothers. I was a little surprised when Mom told me that I’d be sleeping in Greta’s bed. Greta had never been allowed to sleep on the beds. Mom explained that when everyone went to bed Greta would be downstairs “asleep” on a rug at the foot of the stairs. However Mom was always a light sleeper and every night she would hear Greta come up the stairs and get up on the guest bed. About 4:00 AM , Greta would go back downstairs so that she was “asleep” on the rug when people got up. Mom had decided to let her have the bed.
I went to bed early. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t quite go to sleep. I lay there half asleep and half awake as the house shut down for the night. Finally everything was quiet. Then I heard a thump, thump, thump getting louder and louder. I didn’t know what it was. Then the sound became tick, tick, tick. I didn’t know what that was either. Then WHAM!! 80 pounds of Shepard landed on top of me. The thumps had been her coming up the stairs and the ticks had been her nails on the hard word floor. She hadn’t been able to see me in the dark. She took a leap and we both got a big surprise. She slid off onto the floor, sniffed me up and down and settled on the floor. The next morning she was downstairs where she had obviously been all night. 🙂
Timmy Fell in the Well
One of the TV shows we all watch in those days was Lassie. She was a large collie who had lots of adventures with her friend Timmy. One of the constant themes was Timmy getting in trouble and Lassie heading off of help.
One morning in the early fall, I was fast asleep. It was 5:00 AM and I am NOT a crack-of-dawn person. Greta pranced into my bedroom and grabbed the leg of my PJ’s and started pulling. I woke up and it looked to me like Greta was say “Timmy fell in the well and broke his right leg.” I thought maybe there was something like a fire or a car accident or something important that she was trying to tell me. I slipped into some slippers, grabbed a coat and headed down the stairs with her tugging on me all the way. We went out the front door and Great took off like a shot. Not to a big fire in the neighbor’s house but over to a pile of limestone rocks in the side yard. She grabbed one, pranced back and dropped it at my feet and proceeded to run in circles. I finally woke up enough to realize that I wasn’t hearing “Timmy fell in the well.” I was hearing “It is the first cool, crisp day for autumn where I am not cooking in my fur coat and I want to PLAY! THROW THE ROCK! (I didn’t say anything about Timmy) THROW THE DARN ROCK!!”
Eyes as Big as Saucers
Through a long story we acquired a second dog – Little Girl. This was Mom’s dog!
Little Girl taught Greta that the doorbell needed help. It was their duty to bark as loud as possible so that the doorbell didn’t feel lonely. One day one of my mother’s sister’s was visiting and she was sleeping on a fold out couch in the living room. The couch was in a small alcove. If you were on the couch you could look through a side window and see who was standing at the front door.
I was going fishing with one of my best friends at 4:00 AM. I heard his car pull in the driveway and it occurred to me that he just might ring the doorbell. I’m hopping down the stairs, pulling my jeans on when I saw that my worst fear had been realized. Greta was standing, straddling my aunt with her head right over my aunt’s head. Sure enough the doorbell went off, the dogs did their part and my aunt woke up with 80 pounds of German Shepard six inches from her face barking her fool head off. My aunt’s eyes grew as large as sources. I swear there was nothing but whites in her HUGE eyes. Things calmed down quickly and I thought that the incident was over.
Oh No! Later that afternoon and I sitting on a porch reading and Greta was sleeping on the floor near by. I got this creepy feeling and looked up to see my aunt tip-toeing up to Greta. She leaned down, cupped her hands and started barking at a full roar (she was a music teacher, so her full roar was LOUD). Greta came up like she was climbing a ladder, her front paws were grabbing thin air as she literally stood up on her hind legs.
It was WAR! For the next two weeks if one of them would doze off you knew that the other would be sneaking up to give a huge laughing WOOF WOOF!
My Most Embarrassing Moment
One last story or I’ll be writing all night. I came home form tennis practice one day covered in clay. We had clay courts and it had rained. I noticed that my dad had a customer in his office (the big car in the driveway was a giveaway) and did my best to slip in and not bother him. Greta went in with me. I didn’t know that she had been left outside on purpose. As I slipped by the door to my dad’s office, Greta went bounding by and I saw her tail slap mom’s favorite lamp. It started to fall and I took a leap. I ended up on my back between dad and his customers, filthy from head to toe and hugging the lamp. My dad looked at me for a minute and then looked up and said: “I’d like to introduce my oldest son.” I wanted to cut a hole in the rug and head for Albuquerque like Bugs Bunny did in the cartoons. I can still feel my red face.
I am looking forward to the Rainbow Bridge for Dogs, Cats and other special pets. (Greta won’t be the only one waiting there. I can see Penny, Zeke, Lessa, Yenta, Nicholas and a pride of cats.)
I miss that great fur-baby to this day and it has been over 50 years. I won’t have to look for her on the Rainbow Bridge for dogs. She’ll be watching and will come at a dead run across that meadow and we’ll cross that bridge together!