Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dog Blog: "Aha moment!"

Last August, I posted the Dog Blog, which has subsequently received more hits than any other of Clermont's blog entries. Apparently I need to write a little more about Clermont's ample pet population!

In my earlier Dog Blog mentioned that I could not for the life of me read this particular headstone in our little Pet Cemetary. For a four years now I have not been able to make out anything but the date. My best guess on the word above was "died," although even I have to admit, it wasn't a very good guess.


Thank goodness for Joe, our maintenance supervisor! While pouring over some old maps, he found that someone had labeled each grave in easy-read-handwriting. The mystery dog's name is Odin!

What made Odin so special? This is an attractively ornate stone in comparison with the others, and Odin was the first dog at Clermont we can find who merrited such a permanent grave marker.

Named after a Norse god (pictured above), Odin died on August 5, 1893 in the midst of John Henry's elaborate renovations and additions to the mansion at Clermont. In 1893 John Henry had only recently been married to his new wife Emily so it is a reasonable guess that Odin was a companion to John Henry through his years as a widower (from his first wife Catherine) or possibly the pet of his daughter Katharine through her teen years (Katharine was 20 in 1893, two years from her own marriage to an Englishman).
What kind of dog was Odin? Soda, the next dog we see with a stone marker in the pet cemetary (1902), was Jack Russel Terrier, and Boston Terriers were the first dogs John Henry later shared with his third wife Alice in 1906. Did John Henry have a preference for small, tenacious dogs? Or was Odin a larger, rangier creature like those sometimes pictured with his namesake? If I find out, I will be sure to let you know.

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