Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Animals, our wards

Pets are a part of my life.  Are they a part of yours?  Don't tell me;  I'll just think they are.  This bit has to do with my animals - past and present.  You are welcome to add comments at the end and tell me of yours - I'll read it, will be duly impressed, and say "Awwww."

As a kid we had many a dog and cat - no snakes or amphibians.   Those will remain for a later bluggy.   Primarily, this is a stone about our pets since marriage.   Might add the wife had a few pets as a child too - even chickens and cows.   The first one I knew was Cam, a love-love-love-able big ole blond dog ... was it a Lab?  I forge.  Her animals will come later too.

After the ceremony - and other FALL adventures, we settled into Lubbock to finish Tech.   We found a duplex on the north side surrounded by families who could only afford what we afforded - not much.  Our rent was $50 a month - I do think that was with utilities paid.  It was a one bedroom with kitchen/L.R. - park on the street and a fenced in front yard.  We wanted and bought a Siamese cat - $15 - no papers.  This was a nice cat.  We'd wake up in the night and she would be perched above our heads on the headboard looking down...yes.  It might startle a more aware individual.   We named her  MICE  ( pronounced  Missy ).  This cat was all over that place and moaned like Siamese will moan.

When we moved to Sudan, Mice made the trip.  We had a big back yard with a fence.  We were so afraid she would get hurt or lost.   We never let her roam.  After a period of time, my father took Mice away.  He said that he had found her a place on a farm in a barn with lots of real mice.  I don't know;  he may have lied to us.  We missed her; but not her bizzarrrrrr behavior - sometimes referred to as being a "cat." 

In 1964 we made a trip to New York City to visit brother Marshall and see the 1964 World's Fair.  That is a different stone for the future.   Driving home we spent the night at my Uncle Junior and Aunt Mary's house in Oklahoma City.  They were always excellent hosts.  That afternoon we drove over to an area known as West Minster or maybe Westminster.  What do I know - that was 1964.   We bought a registered Pekinese, black.  She spent that first night in a box with the blessings of Jr. & Mary - have I mentioned they were always excellent hosts?

The Peke has a mashed in face.  Jr. suggested it be named   (oriental voice)  No Chin Taw  (for those who have to have an explanation, that would be No Chin At All.)  She had no chin.   We named her No Chin Taw Abby  (Abby because of the Westminster Abby connection)  Sometimes I even amuse myself.

Abby was a good dog but crazy.  I blame that now on our Parenting skills.  She would bolt for the door when it opened.  More than once I journeyed into the dark to bring her back home.  She had no sense.  One of those times, she was hit by a car.   I buried her on Sudan ISD school grounds.

Time passed.  Children were born.   And, we bought Jill, a black and tan dachshund.   That was one of the nicest animals ever.  She lived with us in Ardmore and made the trip to Amarillo.   My memories of Jill are only good.  She burrowed under a blanket to sleep.  She stayed in assigned areas.  She growled when told "Go to bed;" but, she went to bed.  She was a great dog.

As she aged we bought her a companion Maisy - a Scottish Terrier.   Likewise, Maisy was perfect.
Mandy died in her sleep one night.   I still remember daughter Laura coming to the bathroom door as I shaved and telling me that Mandy died.  Still I tear up losing her.  She was with us 15 years that morning.

Maisy was given a companion Mack, another black Scottish Terrier.  They had pups which were sold  to some lovely people.  I remember the last one went to a tall, old, black man from the other side of town.  We thought that puppy had found a wonderful person.   Because of circumstances, Mack and Maisy were given to a young couple as we moved out of that house.   I miss their spirit and happiness.  Scottish Terriers are not for people who want to rest quietly.

As time progressed, we ended up with 4 more cats - cannot remember all their names, so I won't write any.   Over time our college kids either took them or they died...Ben, (there I go using names) was a blond big ole boy who had liver or kidney problems.  Polly Patches was the last to die.  I found her in the Town East Shopping Center, Mesquite, one afternoon.  I was there with my kids.  We had to look into the pet store window.  There she was.   She had a FREE sign.  You can guess where the name Patches came from.    I used a pay phone and called my wife.   She said bring it home.  We did.  Polly was fabulous and lived with us even as we went to Pflugerville years later.

Meanwhile we found a red dachshund - Mandy.   Mandy lived with us for 16 years.  This was the only dog we had to put down.   I frankly cannot talk about it to this day.   Mandy lived in the country with us and was fierce.   She was bit on the nose by a snake.  After that her voice changed when she saw a snake - We could hear that sound and joined her to kill the varmit.   Mandy demolished a skunk on our front porch.   Another adventure we cannot forget.   As time went on she became weak.  She stopped eating and drinking.

But before she died we bought her a companion, a tiny blond (wheaten) wirehair doxie we named Greta.   Greta had a twin sister who was bought by one of my Manor students...Harmony.   Harmony died this last year.   Greta will be 11 in the near future and still rules with an iron fist.

What we think we have learned over the years is, dogs need companions.  They can be left alone for hours on end.   So we buy pets for our dogs.   Greta was not alone long.  We drove to a little place near Hearne and found another wirehair,  black and tan, Fritz.   Fritz joined us and life has never been the same.   That boy and Greta were a team for so long.  He has reached 9.

One day, we drove back to Hearne.   There was this beautiful white and tan, spotted wirehair - little girl.  Liesl joined our dual....and then there were 3.   She is just one love-me dog.  Liesl gets nervous with loud sounds and strangers.   She has nipped at a few.

Forever, we wanted a chocolate wirehair.  They were unfindable.   A trip to Canton's First Monday - Dog town - there was a pile of chocolate wirehairs, dapples, etc.   The lady put the chocolate boy in my arms.  My wife asked to see a chocolate dapple.   I asked her if we should get the 4th dog - the chocolate.   I don't remember the exact words,  she said, "I would take them both."  And we did.   Oscar is the choc -- Bruno is the dapple.   They ARE a pair.  We have had dominance issues between Oscar and  Fritz.  Things seem to settle down, then, WHAM, a brief encounter.   Those 2 boys don't like each other.  Bruno doesn't care either way.  He is a hugger;  Oscar wants a ball thrown 24/7.  

Now we have 5.   I looked down at them yesterday - Five beautiful faces looking up at me  ( I want a cookie ).   5 dogs.   5 different personalities.  They know things.  They are naive about other things.  If you have one dog, that is a shame.  If you don't spend time with that one dog, you are being cruel.  

That's it.  I think I'll go out back and fill the bird feeders.
p.s.  I did not edit this nor will I -  you edit your copy with my approval

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