Kristin Flierl is easily described as private person. I knew this when we selected her and her two pups, Mac & Emma as the March 2011, Pet Family of the Month. I thought on the off chance I could convince her it would be fun to share her “children’ with Oxford. She agreed, making note “this was very out of character for her”. Everyone likes the spot light every now and then. It makes us feel special, and that is exactly why I asked her. She is a very special lady and her dogs Mac and Emma are too.Kristin, a native New Yorker has lived and worked in a variety of large cities over the years; Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans and most recently Gainesville, FL. Having never been a pet owner she adopted Sophia, her first true love, while living in New Orleans in 1997. Sophia (now deceased), was to become the matriarch to Mac (Macadamia Nut), a 90 pound Dalmatian in 1998, and Emma (Emily Elizabeth), a 70 pound black lab in 1999. Both also adopted in New Orleans.
At 6 weeks old, Mac was rejected by his mother because all he wanted to do was eat! She was a very petite lady. It was time for him to leave the nest, and Kristin was there to give him that soft landing. He howled the whole the way home. Mac was a chatty little fellow, who has grown into a large, mellow, old man. Sophia having been spayed prior to her adoption from the SPCA, was never a mother herself but she took right to Mr. Mac. They slept together, played hide and seek, and had a good ole time playing at the Mississippi River levee. This was one huge dog park. Scores of dogs and people were always there. It was constantly “yippy/yappy hour” for all. Sophia and Mac, both big swimmers, loved to go for a dip in the Mississippi River and even lived to tell the tale of a close encounter with two alligators. Unbeknownst to them, one was lurking in the River and the other, on the banks. Good thing they were good swimmers and runners! The levee holds a special place in their hearts because this is where they met Emma. A construction worker brought her there in hopes of finding her a home. You see, he found her under a house lying with her deceased mother. For Kristin, it was an easy decision. Emma found her new home. Life long friendships were formed there at the levee, ones that will not soon be forgotten.
I asked Kristin to sum up what the dogs mean to her, in her own words:
“We are all slowing down now – except Emma, who at 10 years old, acts like 2 – so we don’t go running in the park or swimming in any rivers. We need a ramp to get into the car, so short runs to the neighbor’s house to visit with their doggie friends, and short walks in a nearby empty subdivision are the limit.
A few years ago, I was the primary caregiver for my mother when she was dying from cancer. I arranged to work part-time during this time, but my mother was at home alone for about 5 hours a day. I had all three dogs at the time – Mac, Emma and Sophia. My mother had a difficult time talking to me about dying and how she felt each day – she didn’t want to be a burden and always tried to act like her pre-cancer self. Although she never said this – nor did the dogs say anything – I know that during the time she was alone with Sophia, Mac and Emma, she spoke to them about her feelings. Something all pet parents will understand. Even when I was home, the dogs rarely left her side. Although I wish I had been able to spend more time with her during the time she lived with me, I take comfort from knowing that my dogs were excellent stand ins and for this, I am forever grateful”.