The Runt of Sydenham Street
It was while we lived on Sydenham Street that we got our very first pet – a little black Scottie dog. I don’t remember how or where we got him from, but I do remember he was the smallest in his litter and that we called him The Runt.
He was so cute! We all loved him, but for my Mommy it was love at first sight. Despite Runt’s small size and health problems, he was an active happy dog who would take any opportunity to run out an open door. One day, as one of us children left the door open, Runt ran out and didn’t return. That day we couldn’t find him.
Mommy was crying, as were all of us kids. When, after a few days, he didn’t come back, Daddy went to the SPCA to look for him. He was there – the dogcatcher had got him. Daddy had to borrow two dollars to get him out. Two dollars was a lot of money back in 1939!
We were all so happy when Daddy came in carrying our little Runt. He was so happy to see us too. Mommy sat in her chair and held him for a long time.
The Runt was never completely well after that. I don’t remember how long he was ill, but we didn’t have the money to take him to the veterinary. He died and we all cried, but it was Mommy who was hit the hardest. She loved The Runt so much!
Daddy put him a box, covered him with his blanket and buried him in the back yard. We put little stones all around his grave. Daddy made a cross out of two sticks tied together. We were so sad. We made sure his cross was always upright and that the stones outlining his grave were always in place.
When we were moved to Boston, us kids wanted to take him with us because there wouldn’t be anyone in Philadelphia to take care of his grave. Daddy said no. Daddy said The Runt’s place was there on Sydenham Street, that Sydenham Street was his home. Mommy had some crepe-paper roses she had made and she gave them to us to put on his grave.
Mommy really loved that little dog. She always wanted another Scottie dog, but she never got one. At that time F.D.R. had a little black Scottie in the White House named Fala.