The Abandoned House

Linda A Robinson, PhD
5 min readNov 6, 2018


How I came to live with Ms. Lapin, her spouse & son, a big dog named Pip and a cat named Silver

Photo Credit: Author’s Collection (1998)

I followed some people into a house that I later learned was a crack house in a crime ridden neighborhood of Philadelphia. Hey, this was the ‘90’s and crack was the scourge of that decade so I’ve learned. Since Whitney* was my alter ego, he taught me a lot of stuff including reading and writing since I moved on, like him, to the Great Beyond.

His bad habit of going off on tangents apparently has rubbed off on me, since I just stopped telling you about The Abandoned House after two sentences and started telling you about how I learned to read and write. GEEZ. Oh well; scold me, if you must. It won’t hurt; if I were still alive, it would hurt my feelings, though. This I know for sure.

Back to the house story: It was March of 1997 and I had escaped from my backyard and starting exploring this neighborhood called Feltonville. I wasn’t even a year old. Since I love meeting new people, I just followed some strangers on the street and they went into this house. They thought that I was cute, so they said to me: “come on in, Little Doggie.” I wasn’t wearing a collar or anything that showed them my name. These strangers left the crack house and closed the door. It was a pretty smelly place without any doggie bowls for food or water. I was in there a couple of days…so I just peed and pooped wherever. I got cold too, as it was March and this house had no heat in it. Then, I got scared. REALLY SCARED. REALLY THIRSTY and HUNGRY.

I saw a broken-down upholstered chair near a window, so I jumped on it and stared out the window. Staring is one of those things that Tibbie’s do, by the way…. When people walked by the house, I started barking to get their attention. I barked so much and got so hoarse that when I barked, no sound came out.

Eventually, me sitting on that chair got me noticed. Some man wearing a uniform and a badge came into the house and swooped me up in his arms and whisked me away into this truck with cages on shelves. I thought that he was going to take me home — at least that’s what I was hoping for. We drove a while and eventually wound up in this building with a lot of cages with doggies and kitties. I guess you could call it an animal motel. The nice man who rescued me from that smelly, Abandoned House called the animal motel The Pennsylvania SPCA (PA-SPCA).

There’s lots of nice people who work at the PA-SPCA. They gave me a bath since I got all dirty and matted up in that Abandoned House and gave me some kibble, which I gobbled up immediately and some water. Then a woman with a white coat came to inspect every part of me. She made some comments about my youthfulness, my very crooked teeth, my undershot jaw, the fur that was growing between my foot pads and the four dew claws that I have. She said something about “fixing me” because I was very adoptable, being so cute (despite the crooked teeth that really needed doggie braces!).

I got “fixed” and they put me in a bigger cage wearing one of those stupid looking plastic collars so that I couldn’t gnaw at my belly. I still really don’t understand what these humans mean by fixing….Whitney never explained that part to me. Maybe if I post a question to I will get an answer to this question. What do you think?

Anyway, one Saturday morning, after I was all healed up, I was put into a truck again, with several other little puppies and a few cats. I was thinking that this time, I was being taken home — finally. I was right, but wrong at the same time. I never got to see my original family. Instead, I got a new one.

The driver arrived at the local Pet Smart. He removed all of the cages from the truck and moved them into the store. Wow, there were lots of new and interesting aromas in this place. Aromas of other dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, gerbils and of course doggie kibble and doggie treats. A crowd of people were watching as we were moved from one set of cages to another inside of that store. Ms. Lapin was among the set of people.

I started staring at her, and not at the families with children. She had a kind face, but kind of sad at the same time. She was there to buy dog food for her big dog Pip. Pip had been sick with some disease called cancer for over two years. Of course, I didn’t know any of these details then….

Ms. Lapin bought her 40-pound sack of doggie kibble and then returned to those cages about 10 minutes later. I did that staring thing again — at her only. It must have worked because she told the PA-SPCA adoption person that she wanted to adopt me!


She filled out the required paper work and that was that. She put me in her car, along with that huge bag of kibble and we traveled to what became my new home. Ms. Lapin’s spouse, however, wasn’t too happy to see me!

I was being carried under her left arm, against her hip when we arrived at the door. Peter said: “what’s that?” in a rather gruff and annoyed tone of voice. He can be somewhat of a crank at times…

Ms. Lapin replied: “a dog!” Then she proceeded to tell him about my staring routine in the Pet Smart and how she just knew that I was destined to become a member of their family. She of course told him about how I was found in an Abandoned House in Feltonville, too.

Silver, the cat and I became fast friends. Likewise, with Pip. I became Pip’s protector against Silver (they didn’t like each other at all). I’ll tell you more about how I protected Pip in another one of my stories.

Photo credit: Author’s Collection, Summer 1997
  • Epilogue: Did you read any of Whitney’s stories? He wrote seven of them! You might remember reading that Whitney went off to the Great Beyond in the summer of 1978 and morphed into other doggies here on earth for a couple of decades. Then, he eventually came into the body of a Tibetan Spaniel that my second “owners” named Cindy. Guess what? I’m Cindy! I’ll tell you about more of my adventures with my human, Ms. Lapin, who also shared a home with Whitney, twenty+ years earlier! Stay tuned! In about a week or so. It all depends on the mood that I’m in. My humans are sitting on the edges of their chairs today, waiting on the results of those mid-term elections. Whatever that means…

Put your paws together if you like my first Dog Tale!

© Linda Lapin (aka Linda A. Robinson) November, 2018



Linda A Robinson, PhD

Student of Life, Retired I-O Psychologist & Top Writer on Quora 2018