Whatever happened to the old-school Southie dogs? You know the ones who just roamed around the streets without a leash and no owner in sight. When you came across one these dogs, you didn’t think it was strange or weird. It was an everyday occurrence and each block usually had at least one. Occasionally, you would come across a mean dog and you might cross to the other side of the street. I once had a dog steal a pack of cigarettes right out of my hand when I was returning home from a trip to Bonjano’s to buy a pack of Winston’s for my mother. No matter where you lived – City Point or the Lower End – there was a dog just walking down the street.
Begging for hot dogs
My good friends the Dailey’s had a Golden Retriever named Tawny who left the house each morning around 9am and didn’t return home until suppertime. It was like his job to roam the streets. In the summertime, you could find him in the Pleasure Bay area walking the beaches, taking a swim, or begging for hot dogs out at Sully’s. In the winter, he was often in the Murphy Skating Rink, hanging in the warming room and looking for pizza. They have a plaque there now dedicated in Tawny’s memory. He was fixture in the Farragut Road neighborhood and he was loved.
Pugsley Linnell was little black black pug who lived on East Seventh Street and frequented the Quencher Tavern. Driving up I Street, you could find Pugsley sleeping in a patch of sunshine right outside the Quencher’s front door. He would wander in looking for some dropped French fries or to cool off in the shade of the bar. The Linnell’s would call the Quencher asking who ever answered the phone, ” Is Pugsley there?” The bartender would hang up and tell Pugsley to “Go home” and he would. The sight of Pugsley walking down the street by himself would brighten your day instantly.
The end of the old school dog
When I moved to M Street 18 years ago, I found Babe – a black and gray mutt – happily lying on the warm asphalt in the middle of the street. She politely stood up and got out of the way of my car. After I passed by, she went back to napping in the middle of M Street. Babe was the Bernardi’s dog and I believe the only old school Southie dog left in South Boston. She roamed the neighborhood in her sweet free spirit way and everyone always had a smile for her. Babe was 16 years old. That’s 112 in dog years. When Babe passed away a few years ago, she ended an era – the end of the old school Southie dog.