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Amy Pinson is trying to teach her German Shepherd named Gunner how to recognize when her husband needs medical help.

Amy Pinson is a 52-year-old registered nurse who works at home processing medical records. She’s a recovering estate sales junkie, current amateur dog trainer and part-time flea market vendor.

“I was a freewheeling spoiled child, according to my two older sisters,” Pinson said. “Regina and Vickie were 11 and 13 years older than me, so I was nearly raised as an only child. As long as I kept the yard mowed, trash emptied and my room clean, I could pretty much stay out of trouble. I did make unscheduled bike trips two miles up the road to a country store for things mom needed. Prices were so high there we never bought much.”

Pinson always had a love for dogs and cats, especially during the early years was her love for “Pokie.”

“I named her Pokie because she was slow,” Pinson said. “Pokie was an Irish Setter that was dropped off from a passing car late one night. She was full of mange, ribs showing, weak and hungry. Dad went to the store and bought some Happy Jack mange medicine. For a while, Pokie couldn’t get enough food down — you’d think she was eating prime rib, watching her eat. By the end of summer, Pokie was full of life with a beautiful shiny brown coat of hair and very protective of me. We became the closest of friends for 18 years.”

Pinson derived a great deal of satisfaction teaching basic commands to Pokie. She feels that simple activities like sit, roll over and shake hands are building blocks for greater responsibility.

“Aside from a love of pets, I was involved with most of the activities of the time, things that wouldn’t interest today’s kids. Like collecting and selling pop bottles for a dime, sleigh riding on plastic garbage bags and climbing trees just to see how high you could go,” she said. “We did mischievous deeds on Halloween but never nothing destructive. Maybe a few rolls of toilet paper in hedges; TP wasn’t that scarce back then.”

Thanksgiving was the holy grail of holiday celebration, according to Pinson.

“Maybe it was mom’s cooking that drew family, friends and extended family to our Thanksgiving table,” she said. “Relatives stayed closer to home years ago. It was easier to get together for holidays. If you couldn’t find something you liked to eat on Thanksgiving, you were a very picky eater.”

Christmas was always accompanied with the smell of a freshly cut decorated tree. On her 12th Christmas, her new 10-speed bicycle arrived. She believed it cut the time between home and the country store by 5 minutes.

“Central Elementary on Union Ridge was a 4-mile bus ride,” Pinson said. “Besides learning my ABCs, I also learned how to trade and barter for marbles with a couple of boys who were less than fair in their dealings. I remember Mr. Rife, the teacher who wore contact lenses. He would freak the class out when he put them in or out. The school was so small that nearly everyone knew each other.”

Small size school days disappeared at Milton Junior High; it was also a much longer bus ride.

“Attending school in Milton was totally different,” Pinson said. “It took some time to adjust. Eventually, I joined the track team and made new friends. I no longer traded marbles, but a group of us girls would trade clothes. In high school, I belonged to the Art Club, played the flute in the band and met this boy who needed a haircut.”

After graduation in 1986 there was St. Mary’s Nursing School followed by the passage of 10 years and a chance meeting at a Milton pizza shop with the young man who finally cut his hair.

“Bill and I dated for 6 months before he actually asked my father for permission to marry me,” Pinson said.

The couple married in May 1998 and enjoyed a honeymoon in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Over the years, Bill developed liver disease. The problem was compounded because he’s diabetic. Amy wanted to make certain that readers know Bill never drank. The problem was diagnosed as Fatty Inflammation.

“Bill would become hypoglycemic, which was usually accompanied with mild tremors and sweating. We have a Schnauzer named Lars who finally recognized these symptoms and now barks constantly when he notices Bill shaking. Because Lars is so old, now I bought a German Shepherd named Gunner to try and teach him to recognize Bill’s tremors.”

At this time, young energetic Gunner and Amy are still a work in progress with his medical training.

Clyde Beal seeks out interesting stories from folks around the Tri-State. Email archie350@frontier.com.

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