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National Pets Day

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Being a local history museum, our main focus is on the little stories that happened right here. We tell these stories through artifacts, ephemera, oral histories and photographs. One of my personal favorite parts of this job, is finding old photographs of people and their pets. Many times old photos have such a seriousness about them, but having animals in the photos always sheds new light on what a person may have really been like. So in honor of this past Sunday being National Pets Day, below we have some of our staff and their pets.


Tom Edmonds, Executive Director


Connor Flanagan, Director of Education


My family always had pets, in fact on the same day that I was born one of my parents cats gave birth to a litter of 5 kittens so while I was an only child, I always had furry brothers and sisters to play with. Our first dog, Ramona, died while I was in the 11th grade and after she passed my family wanted to wait a little while before getting another dog. Just before I graduated high school once I decided that I was going to attend a local university for my first year or two of college, my mom and I went to the Southold Animal Shelter to look at a dog I had seen online. A reddish brown pit bull that looked like our first dog, however when we got there, that dog had just been adopted that morning. But we decided to still look around and Addie was the first dog we saw with her giant tongue hanging out of her mouth. We left with her that day.

Remy right after I adopted him

As Addie got older and I got more busy with work we noticed that she seemed to be getting a bit sad. I was not home as much to play with her and she was slowing down a bit and we didn't exactly know what to do. But as some of you may remember we used to do an event at the museum called Yappy Hour with the North Shore Animal Shelter and while helping to set things up for the event I was just looking at all the puppies and kittens that were brought for the day and I accidentally adopted Remy. (At least that's what I told my mom when I called her after I very much on purpose adopted him.)

Addie and Remy enjoying the sun

Right after I got off the phone with my mom, she came to the museum with my dad and Addie for them to meet and they got along instantly. Which was a bit of a concern since Addie sometimes had issues with other dogs. But because Remy was so small when we first got him she didn't seem to mind. She probably thinks somewhat differently now since he is bigger than her now though.

Unfortunately after moving our of my parents house I have yet to be able to live somewhere that would let me have pets so they have to stay with my parents. Before the start of COVID I was able to see them more often, but in the last year it has certainly been a bit less, but my mom will text me pictures of them from time to time of them usually hogging her bed or making a giant mess by ripping one of their toys apart.

Remy and Addie in the woods behind my parents house

Laurie Collins, Museum Manager

I got my first pet when I was around 7 years old. A friend of my mother’s had to give up a kitten named “Boots”. My mother agreed to take her for me. This would have been in the early 1960’s. Bootie and I grew up together. There are many stories I could tell about her, but the best one is that one year she had four kittens. In the late 1970’s when my then boyfriend Jim came to visit me, Bootie would often jump into his lap and fall asleep. At the time I didn’t know that he was not fond of cats. I thought it was cute. When we married I had to leave Bootie behind. She lived well into the 1980’s. She was still around to meet our two sons when they were born.

In 1980 when we moved into our new home, I adopted “Suzy” a German Shepard mix from ARF. She was a surprise for Jim, (a dog person). Suzy and Jim traveled everywhere together in his truck. If he left his lunch unattended in the truck, Suzy would eat it. Suzy was the most easy going dog and our two boys grew up with her.

In the early 1990’s, just before Christmas, our doorbell rang. We found a note on the door for our daughter from Santa. Santa had left a puppy at ARF for her. That is when “O’Grady” a basset/beagle mix came into our lives. Tara and Grady grew up together. Grady had the most amazing sense of smell. One day he dug a foot into a snow bank and came up with a bagel. Grady became a hero in 1998 when I went to the back door to yell at him. He was in his pen barking frantically. When I looked out, I saw that my son’s truck was on fire. I called 911 and Grady and I left the yard as we were instructed. The first fireman on scene was able to put the fire out.


Sally Van Allen, Business Manager

The Kennedy Airport Freight Terminal is not a place I recommend anyone spending much time in, but that’s where I awaited the arrival of the puppy I’d only seen on-line. His flight was delayed in Atlanta, so it ended up taking almost the entire day for the little fellow to arrive on Long Island. At the time, I’d yet to realize that my life would be completely altered the moment I was finally handed the carrier with a little cockapoo inside.

Five years later:

He’s vocabulary includes lots of words and phrases including beach, ocean, dump, ride, ball, Couscous (his bff on Shelter Island), we’re going to see your girlfriends, which announces that we’re off to Classy Canine, which gets a couple twirls of excitement. Trips to Olde Towne Vets gets the same reaction -- he thinks its swell how much attention he gets there. He also knows treat, dinner, let’s check the mail. Closer and I don’t see it alerts him that the ball is not within my reach. He’ll retreat to my chair in the TV room posthaste in response to stay.

He is confident of getting a treat from Lyllis at Hildreth’s or any of the guys at Herrick’s. He knows all the fellows at the Mobile station on North Sea Road and is disappointed when a treat isn’t in that returned tube with my deposit slip (I don’t think the teller can always see him).

And, he seems to know to stop whatever he is doing when asked what are you doing?

Warning: he thinks everyone wants to be his pal, so he doesn’t show much restraint when offering a greeting.

Twenty-twenty meant he had to listen to a lot more chatter, since it was just the two of us, though election topics hardly got a rise out of him.

Never far from my ankles, either in repose or clenching a ball in his jaws, it’s impossible to imagine my world without Halsey.


Liana Mizzi, Special Events Assistant

I've had my fair share of unusual pets growing up. When I was younger, my brother and I had fish, hermit crabs, turtles, even iguanas but nothing comes close to the unconditional love of a dog. It wasn’t until he brought home Dexter in the winter of 2017 that I truly understood what it meant to have a furry friend.

I remember coming home from work and walking into the kitchen to see this little guy sitting there and I was standing there in shock. My first thought was "Why is there a dog in our kitchen," and more importantly, "does Mom know!?!"

Surely there was no way she would allow us to get a dog, everything in the house was always neat and clean and a dog never fit into that equation. She was away in Florida at the time and I guess my brother took that as his window of opportunity. He said "once she sees this face there's no way he's going back". A week later my mom came home to quite the surprise, but my brother was right, Dexter was now officially part of the family.

We all fell in love with Dex immediately. He's such a calm, gentle dog. We really lucked out, we ended up getting the perfect dog especially as a household who grew up without cats and dogs. It was as if he had always been a part of the family. He loves my brother to pieces, he'll follow him everywhere and when he leaves for work you can find Dex waiting by the front door watching and waiting for him to come home while he soaks up the sun. Other times you'll find Dex all snuggled up in my brothers bed.

Soon enough we all started to spoil him with love and toys and home cooked meals especially for him. He loves his scrambled eggs.

Now that we have Dex, I could never imagine my life without him. He's so cuddly and cute, you can't be sad when he's around.

I think my favorite thing is watching him smile when he's having a good time or if he knows he's about to take a car ride with my brother. He has so much personality. He loves going to the beach or to the park. He's not much of a swimmer but he loves to run around. He's just such a happy pup, you can't help but also smile when you're around him.

Unfortunately since moving out of my Mom's house, I don't get to spend much time with Dex anymore but whenever I do see him he runs right up to me so I can shower him in hugs and kisses.


Mary Cummings, Research Center Manager

A haiku for Piper:

Piper dressed as Pope

She's not happy with the joke

A pooch has her pride.

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