I’ve been in love with animals for as long as I can remember.
As a child I had ponies and horses, frogs, foxes, a raccoon, a ground hog and even an opossum for a few days. Once I rode a circus elephant and a Lipizzan horse. Of course, I had dogs.
Before I graduated from high school I helped my father, Edward Love Johnson, an avid naturalist and outdoorsman, establish and operate the Old White Rodeo in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, worked as a horse trainer and riding instructor, and won numerous barrel races on her Quarter Horse mare, Bobby Mu.
Bobby and I had a unique relationship. I never told her what to do. All I did was ask. We understood each other perfectly.
While holding down my day job teaching journalism at Marshall University, I raised Zebra and Society finches, Love Birds and Parakeets, Collies, and horses including National Show Horses and Half Arabians. I also discovered one of my passions — rescuing abandoned dogs.
Show ups and drop offs
For years it seemed as if our farm was on the map as a drop-off point for unwanted dogs. We couldn’t resist loving them, and once they were named, they became part of our family.
JP (wonderful husband) laughingly refers to our place as “The Puppy Torture Farm.”
Arriving dogs are initially kept in isolation until free of parasites, vaccinated and given a clean bill of health by their vet. Naturally, during this time, the new dogs want to be a part of the family and protest vigorously at the torture of being kept apart from the others.
Can’t keep them all
Over the years we’ve rescued more than a hundred dogs, although the number we are able to keep at one time remains somewhat constant. Eleven or 12 is pretty much our limit. However, once we were up to 16. That many dogs keeps us both pretty busy.