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Moxie has her 15th birthday


September 18, 2011
For The Leader Herald

Remember how I said long ago that I was not a dog person? I was specifically a cat person until Moxie came into my life.

Moxie's 15th birthday was Sept. 7, and I was going to write about it last week, but the 9/11 anniversary just needed to be written about first.

All my years growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, we had no pets whatsoever.

Article Photos

Photo submitted
Moxie is shown on the beach, wearing her Aqua Dog swim vest, at Kathryn?Spira’s home in?Caroga on?Sept. 7. Moxie was celebrating her 15th birthday.

I remember hearing the story for years about how a cat jumped up in my basinet as I lay in the cool garage out of the sun when we lived on Traymore Road in University Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. The cat jumped up to lick milk off my face as my Mom has recounted the story over the years. She said she was horrified that a cat had jumped up on her precious baby, licking my face and walking all over me.

From that day she vowed never to have any animals in the house.

However, once Joe Spira came into our lives, he had a dog. It was 1968 and a second marriage for both of them. I heard this story years later about when they were dating and the fact Joe brought his dog when he picked Mom up for a date. Duke was a rather large German shepherd and when Joe came to pick up Mom, he put Duke in the yard and I remember dancing around him as an excited 8-year-old kid who had never had a pet.

Once I got attached to Moxie, all these feelings I had about Duke came rushing back.

Moxie came to us by way of our friend Sherry, who had rescued her from a bad owner. Evidently Moxie had been tied up on a short chain outside in all kinds of weather and wasn't fed properly. She and Herman bonded immediately, but I had been so long without a dog, and already had a cat, Sam, in the house who hid upstairs when Moxie first came to live with us. So it took me a while before I bonded.

The only pet I had when I was pursuing my acting career was a cat named Emily, because a cat could pretty much take care of herself when I went on auditions and traveled to various places like New York City and Los Angeles.

I got Emily from a speech teacher at college. I remember the teacher was a southern belle with blond hair and wore lots of make-up. She was pretty with a strong southern drawl. It was interesting to hear her talk about dialects and proper speech with that drawl!

But back to Moxie. Our veterinarian said Moxie is the oldest Dalmatian with the best health he has ever treated. We don't know how much longer she'll be around, but for the past 12 years, she has been a great addition to our household and brought a smile many times to my heart.

I've heard it said that no one loves you like your dog. Dogs have no criticisms and are always ready to give you their full attention. How could an actress like me not appreciate that!

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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