NB:  Ken Kalish wrote a story about his dog, Molly, and--in return--Steve Sevits wrote about his favorite dog, Hundchen.​

    From:  Steve Sevits

  ​   Date:  September 4, 2013

​Subject:  Molly

​From the time we first brought her home, Hundchen always demonstrated a strong sense of independence.  As one of a litter of tiny puppies at the shelter she was the smallest and consequently shoved aside at the food bowl by the others. 
Joyce named her.  Hundchen, loosely translated from German is “dog baby.” 
When we brought her home and the moment we put food before her, she displayed her tiny teeth and made a six week puppy imitation of a growl.  For positive reinforcement rather than out of fear, I retreated to encourage her sense of dominance.  This set the pattern for the next fourteen years where we lovingly encouraged Hundchen’s sense of superiority.  Each time a delivery driver would come to the house, Hundchen would bark and growl and upon completion of the delivery, when the intruder would leave, our growing white coated guard dog was promptly rewarded with a dog cookie or other suitable treat.  It didn’t take long for her to get the message of how a guard dog should act. 
A growing dog can be like having a baby, but hopefully the dog can be left home alone.  Not so with Hundchen, she always wanted to be where the action was.  The first time she was left home alone she thoroughly destroyed a rice straw pillow brought home as a souvenir from an Army sponsored trip to the orient.  The one item, the pillow, was the only thing touched.   It was as if only one thing had been selected for destruction to “teach us a lesson.”  The next time leaving the dog home alone resulted in an identical performance, this time it was an inexpensive eyeglass case - thoroughly destroyed while nothing else was touched.  Hundchen did not want to be left home alone. 
Living in Schenectady as we did at the time, we occupied the entire upper floor of a WW I vintage house of an eastern architectural style known as “railroad flats.”  The building was narrow and long, our apartment was about 1800 square feet with the kitchen at the back, separated from the wood wainscoted dining room by a massive swinging wood door.  The effect was such that during a dinner party the kitchen could be closed off from guests. 
It was not always convenient to take the dog with us every time we went out.  So our next effort at leaving Hundchen at home was to leave her in the kitchen, closing the swinging oak door leading to the dining room.  Surprise, surprise!  Keeping to tradition, Hundchen attacked the door with a vengeance, clawing and chewing the door.  Left to her own devices, it would be only a matter of time before she would be able to get through the door. 
The next logical step was to have a sheet metal plate cut to size for the purpose of armoring the door.  Net result no progress.  It didn’t take long before the dog started peeling the armor plate off the door.  A can opener couldn’t have done a more effective job. 
This was war!  There is no way I was to be out smarted or out-chewed by 40 pounds of small white dog.  There had to be a means of confining her.  Mousetraps were installed on the armor plating to deter her from attacking the door.  No matter, pure animal cunning took over and Hundchen promptly turned her attentions 90o whereupon she proceeded to dig through the plaster wall.  Had this been allowed to go further she would have pulled the lathe out of the wall.  The only sensible course of action was to abandon all thoughts of leaving Hundchen at home . Hundchen made her point and from that point forward, she went everywhere.  She was always very good at making her point.  Each day Hundchen went to the store with me, she loved to ride in the car  and in exchange its interior was soon covered with white dog hair. 
Eventually Joyce, Hundchen and I moved to an area with a house on 12 rural acres, and plenty of room for an active dog to run.  The dog still went everywhere with us, to paraphrase the tv ad, we never left home without her, we had long since learned our lesson.  Perhaps Hundchen’s love of being with people came from her “pack mentality,” some people say huskies are very social animals.  Although she had the physical characteristics and obvious parentage of a smaller than normal German shepherd, her long coat and dense, downy undercoat was characteristic of a husky. 
Happy years slipped by one by one, and Hundchen’s territorial nature continued to assert itself.  At that time I was still running the modest  wholesale flag business out of a small basement office.  United Parcel Service was my economic lifeline umbilical to the world of both suppliers and customers. 
Since Hundchen would never stray any distance from the house, she was allowed to run free.  She never left the property and stayed far from the road so we felt sure she was safe.  When she wanted to regain entry to the house, she would come to the door and emit her piercing bark. 
Letting her run loose sometimes created problems.  Once she cornered a pair of UPS drivers flat up against the house.  They were immobilized until I called her off.  On another occasion when a UPS driver went into the back of his truck to obtain a package destined for us, Hundchen ventured right into the truck and cornered the driver in the back of his own truck.  He was momentarily helpless at the mercy of less than fifty pounds of white dog.  At a later date I was told she had been voted “meanest dog in Rensselaer County,” two years running by the regional UPS package center. 
In these years we walked down the road, but not as much as we had when we lived in Schenectady.  The long walks of former years had long since conditioned her with the stamina of a championship athlete.  She was lean and very strong.  There was to be a time when all of her reserve strength would be called upon. 
As I recall we had gone out of town and it was necessary to board Hundchen in a kennel, one of the few times we ever did so. 

We picked her up on a Sunday morning.  At home early that afternoon she was not well.  She seemed to be blowing up like a balloon and foaming or at least blowing bubbles at the mouth.  I called the vet’s office and they advised me of the additional charge for Sunday service.  Within minutes Hundchen and I were at the vet’s and the doctor who examined her said that she was suffering from a twisted stomach.  This is a condition where the inlet and outlet of the stomach are twisted shut, a situation which needs to be remedied by surgery - surgery with a high mortality rate. 
The doctor explained three possibilities: to put the dog down with an injection, to do nothing in which case she would die in pain, or to operate which would be expensive with uncertain results. I summoned my wife and seven year old son by telephone.  We decided to give her a chance and try the surgery.  At least, we figured, we would have a clear conscience in knowing that we had done everything we could for her. 
The doctor attempted to relieve some of the pressure building up in the dog’s stomach by forcing a tube past the obstruction.  At this point Hundchen, true to character, bit the doctor.  She bit the man who was going to operate on her, she bit his finger right to the bone.  He cursed.  Joyce, David and I said our last goodbyes and the doctor told us the longer it was before he called us, the better it was.  We went home. 
Hours passed and it was late afternoon before the phone rang.  The doctor answered my unasked question, “that damned dog of yours is still alive.” He explained that a healthy three year old canine with this stomach malady normally had only a 50-50 chance of survival on the operating table. He continued it was a miracle that a twelve year old dog could survive this surgery.  Hundchen’s strong constitution had triumphed again.  The dog had pulled through against the odds, we slept better that night. 
The next day, Monday, a mid morning call from the vet advised us that Hundchen was not doing well.  Her heart had gone into irregular beats and everyone thought the end was near.  I wanted to go to say goodbye but was advised that the additional excitement would only hasten her death.  Reluctantly I stayed home awaiting the call saying that my friend of a dozen years was gone.  All day long the call did not come, not that afternoon, not that evening. 
Tuesday dawned bright and clear but my mood was gloomy.  About mid-morning the phone rang.  I knew it was the vet and I was sure Hundchen had died.  Instead a highly agitated voice at the other end of the phone implored me, “come down immediately and get that damned dog, she’s tearing the metal bars off of the cage, she’s tearing the place apart, we don’t know how much longer we can restrain her.”  Hundchen’s will to live had triumphed again.  Prevailing against all odds, her iron willed constitution and superb physical conditioning carried her through this crisis and on for another two years. 
To this day the color photograph and stained glass portrait of her grace the walls of our home, reminding us of our four footed friend.  At times it almost seemed as if she could read my mind, no wonder, in the early years I actually spent more time with Hundchen than with Joyce, my wife.  While Joyce was off at her job, Hundchen went to the store with me every day.  She was my confidant and my loyal friend. 
That was all long ago.  The business has long since been sold, Hundchen, my wife and I had long since moved to the country and the small, white dog, my loyal companion of fourteen years died.  The small white dog is gone but not from my memory.  Each June I tend the small plot on a secluded hillside where Hundchen is buried.  I polish the brass marker, which is engraved: 


HUNDCHEN 
A dog who loved and Who was loved 
March 1, 1976 - June 30, 1990 


When the task is completed, I silently promise, "someday Sweetheart, we'll be together again and we'll walk through fields of wild flowers where you can poke your nose into each of the blossoms....I promise."  I don’t go up on the hillside often because each time when I  turn to leave, tears come to my eyes.  As I originally wrote these words, she’d been gone over ten years, now over twenty, yet my eyes still mist up at the memory of her.

I had asked Steve about a military abbreviation and he replied that he didn't know what it meant.  

He sad that he was not fluent in alphabet soup.   I then wrote the following:


    From:   Jim White

   Dated:  March 30, 2015

Subject:   AFVN Museum Update

Steve S,
Gosh, I thought anyone who had spent more than a week in the military spoke "alphabet soup" as a second language.  Bet you still know what DEROS meant!  If not the words, at least the meaning. 

Jim W

    From:   Seve Sevis
   Dated:  March 30, 2015
Subject:   AFVN Museum Update
Jim,
There is a distinct difference between being “in the military” and being military.
Originally drafted in 1961 after basic I took the third year and they changed my S/N from US to RA.  Some people who didn’t know better saw 38 months instead of three years and presumed I spent a few weeks “bad time” in jail, not true.
I had the S/N, the uniform and all the other outward appearances, but I was not military and didn’t absorb much of the culture including fluency in understanding alphabet soup.  It used to upset a lot of people when I referred to a field pack as "camping equipment."
The last few months at Ft. Mead, MD the only use they could find for me was to compile movie schedules for the post newspaper and pull guard duty.  By that time I’d been around long enough to play the “regulations game” and I refused to pull guard duty carrying a weapon with which I was not qualified (M-1 carbine). I qualified with the M-2 (selective fire - full auto).
They were very reluctant to give me an M-2, but with the MACV patch on my right shoulder (one of only 2 on the entire post in 1964) they gave me one.  That didn’t last long, until I terrorized the civilian photographer and convinced everyone I was too trigger happy.  After that the only gun they let me near was a .45 - without any qualification they made me captain of the unit pistol team on the sole basis of being in Vietnam.
Military in name and appearance only, but three years in uniform was good preparation for returning to college.  If the Army ever realized how much good they had done me, they would have charged me for the experience.
Steve

Individual Photo Albums & Stories

Stephen W. "Steve" Sevits, PFC, USA 

News Editor,  Saigon  (63)

(TDY from Okinawa)

Steve wrote the following in response to the posting of a

link to an article on "Flags In." 


I believe the grave of Audie Murphy has a flag all the time. 
There is a structure at the base of the mast from the Maine (Havana harbor) and this structure is used to house the bodies of foreign dignitaries who die while in this country.  Jan Paderewski (president of Poland and also noted pianist) was there for many years until returned to Poland when communism fell. 
Anyone who hasn't read the history of how "Arlington House" became the national cemetery might want to read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlington_National_Cemetery which seems to be a reasonably accurate retelling of what took place.  The QM general, Montgomery Meigs, lost a son during the Civil war and had him buried "in Mrs. Lee's rose garden."  Part of the cemetery lore is that if enough Union soldiers were buried on the property, none of the Lee family would return. 
The story was that payment of land taxes was refused, with the insistence that Mrs. Lee pay them in person.  No doubt Mrs. Lee would have been taken into custody had she done so.  Arlington has a very interesting story behind it. Steve (May 30, 2017)


Steve wrote the following in response to the posting of a link to a video on

"Why Did America Flight the Vietnam War."


Not to be a wet blanket, but by 1964 I was home from Vietnam and at Christmastime  1968 I had an on-air chat with Barry Farber (WOR in New York City).  At that time I told Barry the war would not be lost in the rice paddies of Asia but in the halls of Congress.  Farber maintained there was no way I could be correct. 
Please see the above video as a single example of one of many bad decisions which lead to the wasting of lives and money as well as an opportunity to prevail.  Guess winning wouldn't be politically correct, it might make the losers feed bad.  There is only one reason to engage in armed combat: to win.  As Vince Lombardi said: "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." 
Ken Burns forthcoming documentary will fall far short of the truth if it doesn't include information of the type shown in the attached which is but a single example of the lack of the will to win. 
Unfortunately our quagmire in the Middle East is a replay of Vietnam.  Politically correct "rules of engagement" are not a prescription for victory. 
Steve  (May 30, 2017)


Frank Rogers commented back to Steve.


Steve, just wondering if you were identified as a member of the military.  I was under the impression military could not give such opinions.  Glad I didn’t give a newspaper interview on R&R in Sydney.  And, I agree with you.

Frank  (May 30,2017)