Family reunions, especially in the South, used to be a common occurrence. They took place in several different forms. Some flew under the flag of another name but in essence were mostly a time when extended family members came together.

These events usually involved tables filled with great home cooked food, reminiscing about old times, children playing tag, and lots of laugher.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a reunion of a different sort. There were no aunts, uncles, or cousins there that day, only siblings. They had not seen one another for six years.

There are four of them altogether, quadruplets, but only two came. Their names are Cocoa and Louie. Cocoa does not look anything like her brother or any of the others. Not to be ugly, but they look like dogs. That’s because they are dogs.

The puppies were born in May of 2013. When they were about a year old Jennie, their owner, moved out of her house and into an apartment. That was when the bad news came. The apartment management did not allow pets. Jennie had met my wife, Jean, through a Doterra Oil group.

Jennie posted on the group’s Facebook page that she needed dog sitters to keep her puppies until she could move back into a house. Initially, another family volunteered to keep Cocoa. After a short period of time, they returned her because she demanded too much attention. I sure am glad parents don’t have the option to return children for that reason!

Jean and I agreed to lend a helping hand. Eventually, Jennie realized that this was not going to be a short-term fix. She asked us if we would be interested in adopting Cocoa permanently. Of course, we had become attached to Cocoa by then, so we agreed to permanently expand our dog count.

Six years later, Cocoa and I were in our front yard one afternoon. She was checking out the bugs, the birds, and anything else that moved, including people and dogs that happened by. People constantly walk, jog, and bike through our neighborhood.

We saw a couple walking on our street, so naturally, Cocoa ran out to greet them. The lady said, “Oh, a dapple dachshund! We love dachshunds. We’ve had several.” Just about the time I thought that she looked familiar, she looked at me and asked, “What is your name?” When I said, “Bill King,” she laughed and said, “That’s Dapple!”

Dapple was Cocoa’s original name, and the lady was Jeannie, Cocoa’s original owner. She and her husband had moved into our neighborhood. She said she had gotten one of Cocoa’s brothers back. He was one of the black and tans. His name is Louie. Then she said, “Maybe we can come by one day and bring Louie to see his sister.”

Last week it happened. Louie came to visit, and we had a family reunion that went to the dogs.

They gave one another the typical doglike sniff tests. They watered the grass, on top of each other’s watered spots, numerous times.

As best as we could tell, they seemed to know each other. Big Ginger (Sixty Five) came out to join the reunion, but she had not been invited, and Louie did not appreciate her crashing their party. I think Louie initiated the growling contest, and they even showed one another their teeth.

Ginger soon became bored with the whole ordeal and went on about her business. It was a special day, and a reunion of a different sort. I think the siblings enjoyed it, and I know the owners did. Reunions are good, not only for dogs, but especially for people.

—Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit for more information.

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