WHEN WELCOMING a New Year, that time when we remember and reflect on old friends and acquaintances, each one is special. For pets this year, no memory would fill a heart with more joy than that of the little mix-breed Danny Boy.
Featured in Pausing With Pets about three years ago, Danny Boy's story began about 12 years ago when he was a puppy roaming in a neighborhood around North Avenue dragging a large rope that was around his neck. Someone took the puppy home but within a few weeks he was again spotted in that area with another rope around his neck. This time a kindly person took him to his back yard where he was to live for many years with food but no shelter. Danny Boy spent his days in a small yard, he slept curled against the house for some modicum of shelter, he ate scraps and drank rain water.
When his owner became ill, a neighbor took Danny Boy to the S.P.C.A. where he was promised a home until his story could be told and another owner found.
Lil and Chuck Moses, who lived off Falls Road near the Pennsylvania line, read his story, came to Baltimore and adopted the small dog. They gave him the name of Danny Boy and even changed the sign on their farm to read ''Danny Boy's Farm.''
They say it took Danny Boy a long time to learn to stretch out to sleep rather than curl up against a wall in the house.
That was almost three years ago. The couple has sold the farm and now live in Littlestown, Pa. Chuck Moses writes, ''The picture I am sending of Danny Boy indicates his favorite position. He is getting old, our vet says he is around 13 and is suffering the same aches and pains Lil and I have. He has arthritis but he's still young at heart, shows a great deal of affection for us and is friendly. We have absolutely no regrets about making Danny Boy a part of our family, and we give him all the loving he can stand.''
Another dachshund has captured Bill Haroth Sr. of Dundalk. When his 14-year-old dachshund, Hansie, who was ''everything'' Haroth, died last year from an enlarged heart, Haroth was heartbroken. But a "for sale" ad in the newspaper offering an unwanted 4-month-old dachshund brought Haroth out of his gloom. ''Hansie II is a carbon copy of my first Hansie. And, this little fellow is the apple of my eye. He's so smart I am offended when people call him a dog,'' says Haroth.
Last February, Harry Baron of Sparks admitted that his basset hound, LuLu, was the greatest thing in his life. Barron's wife Janet was a good sport about it. ''Harry rocks LuLu when they watch television, kisses her goodbye and in general lets LuLu run his life,'' she says. A 9-month old male basset named Barney is a new family member, and LuLu loves him. Barney was being put down because his owners didn't want him so Harry Barron brought him home to LuLu.
Heidi the 900-pound pig who belongs to Wendy and Vic Skruck Monkton, was featured last July. To keep her from being lonely after she ate herself out of the Skrucks' house, the family bought her a pen pal named Hanna, who weighed a mere 500 pounds. When Hanna wants food from Vic Skruck, she'll lift her foot and put it in his hand. However, the two are too fat for their expected handouts. Heidi now weighs 980 and Hanna 700 pounds, and the veterinarian has them on a diet. The doughnuts and ice cream bars have been eliminated. The two are on fruits now.
These pig gals have been written in the will of their owners. And a party is coming up. On Feb. 13, Hanna will be 2 and she's being given a party with a two-tiered cake and a crystal pig on top.
When Mickey, the parakeet belonging to Phillip Drebing, 13, flew out of the door last year and was lost for 23 days in the Middle River area, Phillip and his mother, Karen, never believed they would see him again. Not so. A bird lover, Roay McNamara, found the parakeet along the road and just happened to see Phillip's sign in a pet shop. Mickey is home and happy along with the family's other parakeet, Binky, and the Yorkshire terrier, Sebastian. Sadly, the rabbit, Buttons, died this year. Phillip is in the 8th grade at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel school and his mother drives a school bus for Baltimore County.