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taking for better worse

For Better or For Worse characters

The characters in Lynn Johnston's cartoon strip "For Better or For Worse" have extensive back stories. The birthdates of the characters as shown below are the characters' birthdates in current continuity, as shown on the strip's web site

Main characters

John and Elly Patterson

John Patterson (b. February 17, 1949), is a dentist, whose favorite hobby is model railroading. Although their marriage is strong, their personalities and priorities have often conflicted. For instance, John had a slightly condescending sexist nature that would lead him to hire women on their looks (although that flaw has faded), and he is prone to splurging on expensive luxuries as a matter of personal fulfillment such as luxury automobiles while Elly is a feminist and endeavors to be frugal. The couple attempted to work together at John's practice with Elly as his assistant, but his authoritarian work manner was incompatible in relation to his wife and they agreed that she discontinue her participation. Regardless, the family is notorious in the neighborhood for giving out toothbrushes to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. He is based on Lynn Johnston's real-life ex-husband Rod, who is also a dentist.

Elly Patterson, née Richards (born August 26, 1951), began as the strip's housewife protagonist. Over time, we see her working as one of John's dental assistants, taking classes, and writing for the local paper - mostly unpaid. She eventually lands herself jobs in the library and a local book store. John and Elly bought the book store and expanded it into toys and model railroading before selling it to an employee. She tends to take life quite seriously. She is based on creator Lynn Johnston.

Michael and Deanna Patterson

Michael (b. April 28, 1976), is the oldest of Elly and John Patterson's three children. An alumnus of the University of Western Ontario, he is formerly a senior editor at Portrait magazine. He is married to Deanna Sobinski (b. December 13, 1976), a pharmacist and a Western Alumnus herself, who was his first childhood crush in school, and with whom he'd lost contact after she moved away with her family. Later on, she came back into his life, the victim of a tragic car accident that Michael had witnessed. The couple have had two children: a daughter named Meredith Anne and a baby boy named Robin Michael. Their apartment burned down, leading them to move back home with John and Elly. They eventually bought the house, while the senior Pattersons moved to a smaller house more suitable for an older couple.

Michael has been writing a novel, which he finished the night of the fire in December 2006. The character drew heavy criticism from some readers for exerting more energy rushing into the burning building to save his manuscript than making certain his young family was safe. In February 2007 he was offered a contract for its publication with a lucrative advance. Needless to say, Michael is quite excited at the prospect of being a published author and with his resignation from Portrait when ordered by the publisher to downsize the magazine, he will be focusing on his writing. For her part, Deanna is delighted at this since she felt he was working too hard; she herself works as a pharmacist, in the same building where Michael's father John has his dental office.

Deanna is constantly at odds with her domineering mother, although their relationship seems to have improved somewhat.

At the series' conclusion, Michael is revealed to have become a successful author who works from home with four books and a movie deal while still collaborating regularly with Weeder. Deanna is revealed to have started a small sewing school.

Meredith Anne Patterson

Meredith (b. October 10, 2002) was born at Fairview General Hospital, at 5:15 a.m. weighing 7lbs 4oz. There seems to be a contrast between the start of the comic series involving Michael's early childhood with Elizabeth, where Michael had to cope with being a big brother to a younger sister, whereas now his daughter is the eldest, with Robin as her little brother. Meredith, however, displays uncanny similarities to her father as she grows up. For example, like Michael, she ties a cape to a teddy bear and flings it about, calling it Super Teddy.

Robin Michael Patterson

Robin (b. November 1, 2004) is the son of Michael and Deanna. While his sister most resembles their mother, Robin is the near spitting image of his father. His aunt April seems to be the closest to him out of all the family members and no doubt is looking forward to babysitting him. In 2006, he suffered a fever brought on by an ear infection, which not even his sister rocking him seemed to soothe. Recently, Robin has shown signs of being uncomfortable if someone stares at him.

Elizabeth Patterson

Elizabeth (b. June 26, 1981), John and Elly's adult daughter. She studied education at Nipissing University in North Bay and subsequently taught on an Indian reserve in the fictional town of Mtigwaki in Northern Ontario. In a story arc starting in late July 2005 and culminating in the August 11, 2005 strip, she was stalked, assaulted, and nearly raped by Howard Bunt, her coworker at a landscaping business owned and operated by her longtime friend Lawrence Poirier and his partner, Nicholas Browne. She was rescued by Anthony Caine who revealed that his marriage was failing and that he still loved her. (The Howard Bunt story arc continued more than a year later, when he stood trial for the crime and was convicted.) She declined to renew her teaching contract in Mtigwaki and taught summer school in Mississauga in the Greater Toronto Area in summer 2006. She acquired a full-time teaching job closer to home and moved back in with her parents until she eventually found her own place. Throughout her childhood, her brother Michael referred to her by such names as "Lizardbreath" and "Sistwirp"; she has a low tolerance for April's tendency to use them now. Although she had been in a long-distance relationship with Constable Paul Wright, his affair with Elizabeth's replacement teacher Susan (whom he knew from their childhood) ended their romance. Although her former boyfriend Anthony Caine had told her he still loved her, Elizabeth remained unsure of how she felt about him. However, when Elizabeth and Anthony both attended their friend Shawna-Marie's wedding, they decided to rekindle their relationship. They became engaged in the March 13, 2008 strip and were married in the August 25, 2008 strip. In the series' epilogue strip, it is revealed that their first son, James Allen, was born before her grandfather Jim's death in 2010.

April Marian Patterson

April (b. April 1, 1991, hence her name) is the teenage daughter of John and Elly Patterson. When Lynn Johnston wanted another child but found it impossible to do in real life, she chose to create one for the strip, resulting in April's birth.

One of the founders of her garage band "4Evah" (now: "4Evah and Eva"), April is known to try to fit in with her peers. In 2005, she and Elly were constantly at odds over April's wardrobe. After visiting her aunt's farm in 2006, she has plans of possibly becoming a veterinarian. Her interest in helping animals may be related to her near-drowning when she was about four years old. She fell into a swollen stream while playing on the river bank and was rescued by the family's pet dog, Farley. Farley died immediately thereafter of a heart attack and April was plagued with guilt about Farley's death for a long time afterwards.

In the series' epilogue strip, it tells that April goes on to a university and graduates with a veterinary medicine degree. Her love of horses leads her to work with the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alberta.

Jim Richards

Elly's father, Jim Richards (b. March 21, 1921-2010) is known to the Patterson family and readers as "Grandpa Jim". Jim is a World War II veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force's 408 Squadron. After his wife Marian died in 1998, Jim lived with Elly and John for several years and became very close with his granddaughter, April. He met Iris Reid in 2000, moved to an apartment in the same senior housing building soon thereafter, and they eloped in 2003. April's success with her band inspired Jim to form a new band with a few of his old Legionnaires and veteran friends, called The New Bentwood Rockers. In the strip sequence about Jim's 80th birthday, it is revealed that he has a brother, Ernie, who has sent Jim an e-mail letter.

Jim suffered a stroke in September 2006 and spent several weeks in the hospital. He is now back at home, under the care of Iris and home health aides. While the readers are aware that there was less damage to Jim's brain than originally feared (as evidenced by his still sharp thought balloons), his ability to speak has been severely impaired, and due to the resulting unclear communication the other characters remain unsure (although optimistic) about just how much damage has been done.

In the October 3, 2007 strip, Jim is found in an unresponsive state by a horrified Iris. It is revealed the next day that he has suffered another stroke and is in a coma at the hospital. He has since recovered enough to return home. However, his health is clearly declining rapidly and as such, Elizabeth's wedding plans have been accelerated in order to enable him to attend before it is physically impossible for him.

In the August 16, 2008 strip, Jim suffers a heart attack and is unable to attend Elizabeth's wedding. Elizabeth and Anthony come to visit him immediately after their wedding. The August 31 epilogue strip reveals he lives to see a new great-grandson and dies at age 89 in 2010.

Iris Richards

Iris Reid (b. May 19, 1926) met Jim at a Legion dance in 2000. Iris lived in a senior apartment; shortly after they met, Jim moved into an apartment in the same building.

Iris and Jim eloped in 2003; the adult children and adolescent grandchildren on both sides are ecstatic about the happiness their relationship has brought.

Iris' first husband was named George Reid; together they had three children. Jordan lives with his second wife and two children from his first marriage on a ranch near Calgary; Maggie and her husband and daughter live in Arizona; and Sarah and her husband live in nearby Barrie. George died in 1999, and Iris met Jim several months later.

Supporting characters

Anthony Caine: Elizabeth's boyfriend in high school; they later decided to be "just friends" when both chose to go to different universities. He now manages the garage and other businesses owned by Gordon Mayes, and was married — unhappily — to Thérèse. In 2005, he told Elizabeth, immediately after she was almost raped by her landscaping co-worker Howard Bunt, that he was still in love with her, despite still being married to Thérèse. In April 2006, he revealed that Thérèse had left him for the man she was having an affair with, moved out and leaving him with their young daughter, Françoise. Later in 2006, Anthony told Elizabeth that he still cared for her, but she initially did not believe she felt the same way. In July 2007, at their friend Shawna-Marie's wedding, Elizabeth finally realized that she did return Anthony's feelings, and they decided to resume their relationship. In the March 13, 2008 strip, Anthony and Elizabeth become engaged. They were married on August 25th 2008.Bev and Dan Cruikshank: John Patterson's sister and her husband who operate a family farm, once owned by her father Will; in an area located near Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dan manages the farm and Bev is a veterinarian. Their daughter, Laura, works on the farm and assists her mother with the veterinary practice. The Patterson family as a whole have visited them on occasion and each Patterson child in turn was sent to the farm during the summer when they grow into their early teenage years as a formative experience. April has assisted in veterinary surgery and seems to be interested in the procedures.Agnes Dingle: The landlady of Michael and Josef Weeder (Weed) while the two were attending the University of Western Ontario in London. Though often moody and irascible, she gradually revealed a gentle heart that allowed her to warm to her tenants as good friends. Agnes had a stroke in 2004 but a fortunate phone call from Michael saved her life. She is now living in an apartment near her children.Candace Halloran: Elizabeth's roommate at Nipissing University in North Bay (near Johnston's current residence in Corbeil). The two have known each other since their middle school days, but eventually grew apart. They reunited during Elizabeth's first year at university and have since become close friends. A former rebel with a troubled home life - her mother's boyfriend often came on to her - Candace studied psychology and wants to work as a counselor to troubled teens.Moira Kinney: Elly's trusted employee at the bookstore. Moira used to work for the previous owner of the toy store, Lily Petrucci. Elly kept Moira on staff when she took over the store in 2000, and Moria assumed ownership of the store in 2006.Shannon Lake: A girl in April's home economics class who is mentally disabled and suffers from growth issues. When Shannon got lost in a mall in March 2005, April happened to be there, and was able to stay with Shannon until Mrs. Lake found her. In a recent speech to the school cafeteria, she revealed that her speech difficulties were due to a cleft palate. Shannon is based on Lynn's niece Stephanie Haskins. Ted McCaulay: A doctor, Ted is John's friend and was briefly married. Despite his increasing age, Ted is still single and for years lived with his mother, who died in 2005.Becky McGuire: April's on-again, off-again friend. In a January 2005 plot line, another character claimed that Becky was sexually active (in FBorFW-speak, she was labelled as "hands on", "gig" and "roadside", and was stated to have "been there"), although Becky has never confirmed this. Subsequent episodes deal with Becky's rejection by an older boy and her superficiality.Gordon Mayes: Michael's friend from childhood. The son of alcoholic and sometimes abusive parents, he made his own fortune by turning an auto-repair garage into several successful businesses (most notably a car dealership), with the help of John Patterson as a silent partner. He married his high school classmate, the former Tracey Wells, and the couple have two children, Paul and Rosemary, whom April Patterson often babysits.Connie Poirier: Mother of Lawrence, and Elly's closest friend since their days at the University of Toronto. She was somewhat reluctant to accept Lawrence's coming out when he revealed his homosexuality to her as a teenager. According to Lynn Johnston's retrospective "A Look Inside...[FBOFW]", Connie was intended to be both a feminist shrew and a villainous counterpart to Elly Patterson, named for an incompetent art teacher she had in high school. But the character mellowed to a struggling single mother within a few weeks, and gradually evolved into Elly's closest friend. She also had a casual dating relationship with Elly's brother Phil before Greg and Georgia were introduced.Lawrence Poirier: Michael's best friend since childhood. In 1993, it was revealed that Lawrence is gay. He still remains a close family friend, and hired Elizabeth to work for his landscaping business for two summers. When Elizabeth was almost raped by Howard Bunt in August 2005, Lawrence fired Howard on the spot and encouraged Elizabeth to press charges.Olivia "Lovey" Saltzman: Michael and Deanna's landlady in Toronto. Unlike the crusty Agnes Dingle, Lovey has had a warm friendship with Michael and Deanna from the start of their tenancy. For instance, she often helped the couple out by preparing meals and babysitting the kids as well as having them move to her building's larger quarters at a cut rate to accommodate the growing family. Although the Pattersons terminated their tenancy after the fire and their purchase of Elly and John's house, they remain good friends with Lovey.Josef Myron "Weed" Weeder: A professional photographer who is Michael's university friend, roommate and later journalistic partner. Unlike Michael, Weed has had a strained relationship to his wealthy family(he once called himself "a nerd in a gilded cage"), especially his father who wanted him to abandon photography and join the family business. However, when his father was forced to sell his business and retire, he finally seriously examined Weed's photography business and was impressed enough at his son's skill to heavily invest into it. Though not central to the storyline, in keeping with the diversity angle of the strip it has been noted a couple of times that he is Jewish.

Minor characters

Eva Abuya: April's friend and classmate. She replaced Becky McGuire as the singer in the band 4Evah, causing it to be renamed as 4Evah & Eva.Duncan Anderson: April's classmate and band mate in the group 4Evah & Eva.Ruby Andrews: Candace's aunt, who owned a convenience store in North Bay, where her niece and Elizabeth went to university. Ruby was mugged while minding the store; she recovered but later sold the business.Thelma Baird: A kindly old woman who was the Patterson family's first neighbour. A breeder of English sheepdogs, Thelma gave a puppy to her neighbours, who named him Farley. (Johnston chose the name to honour the Canadian writer Farley Mowat.) Thelma's death in 1987 was the first in FBorFW and served notice the strip would not shy away from serious topics.Jean Baker: John's longtime assistant at the dental clinic.Warren Blackwood: A helicopter pilot who has kept up a long-distance friendship (with romantic overtones) with Elizabeth. He has recently hoped to reconnect with Elizabeth, but discovering that she is engaged to Anthony has dashed his hopes.Rhetta Blum: Michael's second girlfriend, from his later high school years. Their relationship ended when she kept seeing other boys behind his back.Nicholas Browne: Lawrence's domestic partner with whom he co-owns a landscaping business.Howard Bunt: An employee at Lawrence Poirier's landscaping business who stalked and assaulted Elizabeth in the summer of 2005. At first he had attempted to date Elizabeth, but his efforts had been rebuffed, prompting him to label her an "iceberg," and later during the assault, "unfriendly." From there, he began following her home, watching her house at night, a fact not lost on her father John, who tried to confront him at one point. It was John who pointed out that Elizabeth was being stalked, but she thought she could handle it on her own. Ultimately, Howard caught Elizabeth alone at work and tried to rape her on August 11, 2005, but was stopped by Anthony Caine and soon after was quickly fired by Lawrence. He was eventually charged, and more young women came forward with similar complaints. He later stood trial for his crime. However, one of his victims, a relative, refused to testify, and under oath Howard tried to trash Elizabeth's reputation. On February 22, 2007, he was found guilty of his attempted rape of Elizabeth and sentenced to two years less a day in prison to be served without parole, and to also be placed in psychiatric treatment. Françoise (Francie) Caine: Daughter of Anthony and Thérèse Caine who was born on March 7, 2005. She is in Anthony's custody. She misses her mother and is unsure of what to think of her father's relationship with Elizabeth, although since Elizabeth and her father recently became engaged she and Elizabeth have become somewhat closer.Thérèse Caine (nee Arsenault): Anthony's former wife, she has been shown as jealous of his friendship with Elizabeth, and once even threw a fit because he worked late with Gordon's wife Tracey. She reluctantly agreed to bear a child with Anthony, on the condition that Anthony be the primary caregiver, since she didn't want children. Their daughter, Françoise, was born in March 2005. Anthony never seemed happy with the arrangement he had agreed to. Thérèse had previously told Anthony that she would not let the baby alter her career-driven ambitions, because, after all, she did not want to have a baby and was more interested in her job. In April 2006, Anthony revealed that Thérèse had left him, along with the baby girl, for another man with whom she had been having an extramarital affair for some time. A Christmas meeting with Elizabeth and Francie in the mall did not shift her maternal instincts into gear, or move her to establish a bond with her daughter. It was hinted by Elizabeth in a conversation with Candace Halloran that Therese suffered a form of postpartum depression after Francie's birth, and that her parents placed additional pressure on her to have a child. In that same conversation, Elizabeth also hinted that Therese was a controlling figure who tried to change Anthony during their marriage, even making him grow a mustache to make him look less youthful.Everett Callahan: John's associate at the dental practice. John is turning the practice over to Everett, a young dentist who is up-to-date with current techniques and procedures. In the monthly letters, John has had trouble remembering that his associate's name is not "Elliot."Eric Chamberlain: Elizabeth's ex-boyfriend from university. Elizabeth broke off the relationship when she caught him seeing another woman.Gary Crane: Principal of the small school in Mtigwaki where Elizabeth formerly taught.Vivian Crane: Gary's wife, she runs the medical station in Mtigwaki.Rudy Dodd: Candace's boyfriend. Once a roommate of Eric Chamberlain's at Nipissing University, he met Candace through Elizabeth and Eric and bonded with her instantly as, like her, he also had a troubled home life growing up.Susan Dokis: A young woman of Native descent who replaced Liz as the primary grades teacher at the school in Mtigwaki. She is also a childhood friend of Paul Wright - and the "other woman" who came between them.Sharon Edwards: Elizabeth's favourite teacher during her middle school years, Sharon inspired her greatly by building a teaching career despite being a paraplegic (there is an inconsistency in how she acquired her disability, in a later strip she states that she was badly injured in a motorcycle crash as a teenager; earlier quotes infer that she was a wheelchair user from early childhood at least). Recently married and is now Sharon Taylor.Brian Enjo: Michael's former classmate and the son of Keith and Carol Enjo, neighbors of the Pattersons. Moved to Japan and married a Japanese woman.Dawn Enjo: She became Elizabeth's friend when her family moved into Connie Poirier's former home (Connie returned a year later and bought another neighbouring house). She is a descendant of Japanese-Canadian immigrants.Gerald Forsythe: April's boyfriend; also a member of the band 4Evah & Eva. He has recently decided to forego college to become a full-time musician, and has accepted an offer by Becky McGuire to tour with her band for the summer.Luis Guzman: Replaced Becky McGuire as keyboard player in the band 4Evah (now known as 4Evah & Eva)Jeremy Jones: Classmate of April. In elementary school, he mercilessly bullied her while she countered with an insulting song ("Wormy, germy Jeremy Jones"). The conflict culminated with an incident where Jeremy tried to run April down in a bicycle chase, only to crash into an oncoming car and suffer severe injuries. Since April showed the compassion to stay and call for help as well as being the only child to visit him in the hospital, they reached a truce of sorts after the accident, but they rarely speak to each other. He secretly wishes he could be in April's band and accepted.Melville & Winnie Kelpfroth: They moved into the apartment below Michael and Deanna's. He and his wife are childless and don't like children or their associated noise. They bang a broom on the ceiling at the slightest provocation of any noise from upstairs. Damage done to the ceiling with her broom (and later tried to hide) prompted Lovey Saltzman to begin eviction proceedings. Melville smokes a cigar, despite the "No Smoking" clause in his tenancy agreement. His smoking was the cause of the fire that destroyed most of Lovey Saltzman's apartment building. After the fire they are reported to be in "serious condition" and disappear from the strip.Kortney Krelbutz: Former assistant at Elly's bookstore. Kortney was fired for embezzlement and for threatening April when she threatened to tell her mother. She retaliated by filing a wrongful-termination lawsuit, but the outcome of the litigation has not been revealed.Brad Luggsworth: A grade-school classmate of Michael who bullied him in his elementary school days. He changed his attitude as an adult and became a policeman following a stint in the air force.Tracey Mayes (née Wells): Wife of Gordon and a former classmate of Michael.Laurie Mcleod-Shabogesic: Laurie is a real person living in Northern Ontario, and Lynn put her in the strip as a teaching assistant who helps out at Liz's school on the reservation.Martha McRae: Michael's first girlfriend. When Michael failed his first driving test he blamed it on Martha breaking off the relationship just before the test. She is now a mother of two and divorced, and still lives in Ontario. In fact, she works in a sign business in the same city as Michael and they converse as friends regularly.Jesse Mukwa: A bright if rambunctious boy in Elizabeth's school class at the Ojibwa reservation in Mtigwaki. It was he who brought Elizabeth the abandoned kitten she named Siimsha, as he could see they needed each other.The New Bentwood Rockers: A band of senior musicians assembled by Jim at the retirement home where he lives. Years earlier, while living in Vancouver, he had formed another band known as the Bentwood Rockers. (Bentwood refers to a type of antique furniture.)Anne Nichols: The Pattersons' longtime neighbour. For years a housewife and babysitter, Anne in recent years has managed the food and catering services at a local hotel. A close confidante of Elly in the early years of the strip, she has appeared less often recently – in part because of her perpetually rocky marriage, partly modeled after Johnston's first marriage, which ended in divorce.Dennis North: A friend of Lawrence and his partner, Nicholas. He was Elizabeth's escort to Anthony's wedding.Will and Carrie Patterson: John Patterson's parents. They are rarely mentioned in the strip but seem to be living close to daughter Viv's farm. They live in the Winnipeg, Manitoba area in an assisted living apartment.Georgia Richards: Wife of Phil Richards, Elly's younger brother.Marian Richards: Elly's mother, who died in 1998 after a long bout with heart disease. The series about Marian's final days was heavily based on Johnston's own experiences with the death of her mother, Ursula Ridgway. A few of the real-life Ursula's quotes were placed in Marian's mouth to reflect her courage in the face of death.Phil Richards: Elly's younger brother, a trumpeter and music teacher known for being as adventurous and high-spirited as his sister is anxious and stress-prone. Lived in Millborough for several years and appeared frequently in the strip, but has appeared rarely since he and his wife, Georgia, moved to Montreal several years ago.Kevin Smyth: A surgeon who recruited Deanna for a medical mission to Honduras in 1999.Mira Sobinski: Deanna's mother, notorious for her overbearing and obnoxious ways. For instance, she insisted on an extravagant wedding for her daughter and Michael despite the fact that it was against their wishes. Even when they agreed to Mira's desire (after secretly marrying in a private ceremony), the matriarch still proved difficult in her domineering control of the event, including her demand at the last minute that Lawrence Poirier be excluded on account of being homosexual, which the couple refused and was the last straw for Deanna. Mira has since mellowed a bit in her older age but can still get on Micheal and Deanna's nerves from time to time.Wilfred Sobinski: Deanna's father; a hardware store owner. He is somewhat more laid back than Mira, and occasionally is irritated by her obnoxiousness himself.Carleen Stein: "Weed's" long-time photographic assistant, more recently his girlfriend.Ned Tanner: Not a person but a grinning, six-inch, anatomically correct figurine with bendable plastic limbs, colourful boxer shorts and suction cups. Josef "Weed" Weeder, a photographer who often works with Michael, regarded "Ned" as his tongue-in-cheek mascot, as did Mike, and they kept him in the apartment they shared when they were students together at the University of Western Ontario. When Weed fell in love with his assistant, Carleen Stein, he gave Ned to Carleen, to Mike's dismay, who demanded him back as he felt that Weed didn't value what Ned stood for- he was their 'futility symbol'. Then Meredith was having an adventure and flushed Ned down the toilet. His fate remained unknown until late November/early December 2006, when Robin flushed Michael's socks down the toilet. A plumber had to be called, and in unclogging the toilet found not only the socks but also Ned. As a result of this incident, Weed has once again claimed Ned.Greg Thomas: Connie's second and current husband. When Lawrence admitted he was gay as a teenager, Greg threw him out of the house, only to reconsider his decision and accept him.Shawna-Marie Verano: A high-school classmate of Elizabeth. It was her wedding in the summer of 2007 that set the stage for Elizabeth and Anthony's reunion as a couple.Paul Wright: A policeman with family in Mtigwaki. Elizabeth's relationship with him has ended. He helped Elly when she fell asleep on the drive home to Toronto, became enamoured with the photograph of Liz in her mother's wallet and contrived an excuse to meet her. Elly immediately thought of him as "Mr. (W)Right". However, it was later revealed that he had been cheating on Liz with Susan Dokis, the teacher who had replaced her in Mtigwaki.

Animals

Dogs

Farley (Patterson): Old English Sheepdog, the Patterson's first family dog. A runt from the last litter of Thelma Baird's dog Lily; Elly felt sorry for the puppy and adopted him. Farley grew up alongside Michael and Elizabeth, later siring a litter of his own with the neighbour's dog Sera, resulting in his son, Edgar. Farley died shortly after rescuing April from the creek near the Patterson's home.Edgar (Patterson): Old English Sheepdog/Labrador Retriever mixed breed, the Patterson's second family dog, and offspring of Farley and Sera. He was part of April's rescue by barking to warn the family. After Farley's heroic death, Edgar was promoted to the family dog position, and used to be at odds with the rabbit Mr. B from time to time. (Johnston often compares his character to Don Knotts)Dixie (Patterson): Shetland Sheepdog, the Patterson's third family dog. Originally Grandpa Jim's dog, Elly took her in after he moved into a senior residence. Dixie still misses Grandpa Jim, but has settled down into the Patterson home, taking the role as Edgar's devout follower - wherever he goes, whatever he does, she copies.Sera (Poirier): Labrador Retriever, the Poirier's family dog. Connie bought her as a puppy while waiting for the day when she would have grandchildren of her own to play with. After Lawrence's confession of being gay, Connie took her husband's words to heart - "Que sera sera" - and named the puppy "Sera". Sera gave birth to a litter of puppies sired by Farley, one of them adopted by the Pattersons and named Edgar. Her current status is unknown.Lily (Baird): Old English Sheepdog, Thelma Baird's dog. From her last litter, Elly adopted the runt - as Thelma called him - and named him Farley. Lily died of old age, contributing slightly to Thelma's move from Millborough.

Rabbits

Mr. B: Elizabeth and April Patterson's large white rabbit. His full name was Sheldon Fuzzlewhite Bunsworthy, but has been abbreviated to simply "Mr. B". Elizabeth brought him home from her farm stay, Michael named him, and April took responsibility over him as she grew older and Elizabeth left for university. He was sometimes at odds with the family dogs. He enjoyed chewing on telephone and electrical cords, often getting a shock in the process. Mr. B died in April's arms in 2002.Butterscotch: April Patterson's second rabbit, named for her colouring. After April's school friends found that Mr. B had died, they informed her that a schoolmate was looking for someone to take his pet rabbit. April adopted the rabbit and took her home. Though more delicate than Mr. B, Butterscotch has proven to be equally - or even more - full of mischief, has a bad habit of emptying her cage's wood chips onto the floor, and is starting to get the hang of taking on the dogs as Mr. B once did. Butterscotch has also fallen in love with Elly's bunny slippers, either following Elly everywhere when she uses them, or "playing" with them when they are in the closet.

Other

Daphne: One of the horses on Bev and Dan Cruikshank's farm that Elizabeth Patterson rode during her stay with them. With a mind of her own and an understanding of Elizabeth's lack of confidence with her, Daphne started to get the better of her new rider. Eventually, Elizabeth did learn to ride her properly, though she could understand why people preferred their cars to horses - softer seats being one reason.Shiimsa: Elizabeth Patterson's cat. Though her breed was never clearly identified by the strip, many readers speculate she is a gray tabby mix. Discovered as a stray kitten by Elizabeth's student Jesse, he persuaded/manipulated Elizabeth to take her in. Initially unreceptive to the expense, messes and shedding hair, Elizabeth has come to love her cat, hairballs and all. (Shiimsa means "little animal friend" in Ojibwe.) On her first visit home from Mtigwaki after finding Shiimsa, she decided to bring her new pet with her. The Patterson's dogs chased Shiimsa around the house during this visit, scaring Shiimsa and knocking over some furniture. It appears no similar incidents have occurred in Elizabeth's subsequent visits or current residence at the Patterson's home.

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