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Thread: Willow Oak

  1. #61

    Susie and Marwen

    Our family always had a pet around, dog or cat, since before I was born. Personally I didn't possess a pet between the time I graduated from high school and just a few years ago, when I began collecting this motley crew that now lives with me. And what of me? I was the third of three children. My older siblings were sisters. Susie was the middle child, and Susie was stricken with Down's Syndrome. Even for that, Susie lived until the very healthy age of 54. For all the dire prognostications by doctors when Susie was born in 1951, it was pneumonia that got her in the end on July 2, 2006.

    For a mentally handicapped individual Susie was blessed with at least one very unique gift. Even though she was not easily understood when she spoke, a person had no difficulty understanding her when she sang. Susie could flat sing. Our father was a minister, and we grew up in church, listening to and singing all the old-time gospel hymns. You grow up like that and you learn to recite all these songs by heart. Susie was no exception to that, but she managed to take it beyond.

    Susie's "discovery" came in the summer of 1971 at a summer camp. She was "allowed" to enter the talent contest. Susie simply blew away the field. From then on until she got too old to perform Susie was a celebrity. I saw Susie sing in front of thousands. Susie has sung in front of crowds as large as 8,000 or more. Susie's heyday would not last for very long. During the final 15 years or so of her life Susie's health prohibited her from performing or even attend church much, for that matter.

    All of her life Susie lived with our mother, and they always had pets. Susie had her own special pet, a black cocker spaniel she named Marwen. For most of her adult life Susie's two closest friends were named Marlene and Wendell, so it was only natural that she name her dog after them. Marwen hung around for about 20 years or so. Actually, Marwen was three dogs. When Marwen, the first, passed, Susie got another black cocker and named him Marwen. The last of this line was, naturally, Marwen III. Susie loved her Marwens -- all three of them, and they loved her. About three years ago, Marwen III passed on, and I buried him in Mother's front yard in front of Susie's bedroom window. Two years ago Susie finally passed away after a short illness. There will be no Marwen IV.

    This past weekend after running a few errands in town I drove over to the cemetary and visited with Susie at her grave. Before I left I knelt beside her tombstone and whispered, "See you in heaven." Mother's place is near mine, and on my way home I stopped. I walked out to where I had buried Marwen, her burial spot still easy to find because of the large rocks I placed there. Before I left I knelt down beside Marwen's tomb stones and whispered, "See you in heaven."

    Last edited by Willow Oak; 08-19-2008 at 03:28 PM. Reason: spelling, of course

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    22,421
    I'll bet your sister Susan was a wonderful person. I'm sure she is missed. That's funny how she kept naming her dogs the same name, Marwen.

    Forever in my heart...Lacey,Sassy,Mandy,Corey,Ginger,Casey

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark - GMT+1
    Posts
    14,771
    It sounds as if your sister had a great life, in spite of living with Down's syndrome, and her three Marwen's must have wonderful for her to have. Her grave looks beautiful and I see there's a nice wooden bench where you can sit and "chat" with her. Her gravestone is pretty much the same shape I chose for John.

    Thank you for sharing.

    I'm glad you enjoyed about Batman, I met him only a year before he was put to sleep - 11 years old.

    How is the little newcomer, Taz, getting on? He's SO cute!
    Randi



    "I don't know which weapons will be used in the third World war, but in the fourth, it will be sticks and stones" --- Albert Einstein.


  4. #64

    Hard Lessons Learned ... the Hard Way

    I am not dumb. After all I am a college graduate. Of course, I didn't actually graduate until I was 35, apporximately 14 years after I originally enrolled ..., so maybe I ain't so smart after all. But I have learned a lot, and a lot of the lessons I have had to learn the hard way.

    I saw the cats beginning to multiply. They weren't mine. They were someone else's. I lived with my mother, and my sister lived on the same property, and it was they who had been collecting these dogs and cats all these years, so let them deal with it. But they weren't dealing with it, and that's why there were so many dogs and cats. Sheba had recently borne her litter of four males, and there were a few more cats that had showed up since, among which were Charcoal, Boots, BKI and BKII (Black Kat I and Black Kat II), and others, and I had assumed the role of caretaker.

    So I set about looking for a vet who would help me out and not require that I turn over my checking account number. I did eventually find someone who would do the lot for $200, so I loaded up the cats -- nine in all and headed for the vet.

    I know that you sitting there with all of your years of experience, saying to yourself that you do not carry one cat, let alone nine, loose in your car, but hey, I was a newbie. I didn't know.

    As long as I did not pull the car over and open the door I was okay, but when I finally arrived at the vet's office I knew that my car would never smell the same again. On the ride over most of the cats had pretty muchy freaked out -- almost all of them except for Socks. From birth Socks had been the calmest, coolest, most laid-back cat of all. Early on in life he had crawled into my lap and lay there. Everyday my lap was his destination, and if he was not in my lap he was in the chair next to mine. Without a doubt, Socks was my favorite. And on the ride to the vet Socks was the only calm one of the bunch.

    As a matter of fact, Socks lay in my lap during the trip to the vet, and naturally he would be the first that I would carry inside. So I gathered Socks up first, opened the door very carefully so that no one else would escape, and headed for the door. I was carrying Socks in my arms when the door opened, and when it did Socks bolted. Off he ran into the woods adjacent to the building. That was seven or so years ago. I looked for that guy for days, and for weeks I returned and went all throughout the woods looking for Socks, calling out to him, but I never found him nor did I ever see him again. My heart was thoroughy crushed over that incident.

    I managed to successfully deliver the other kitties to be neutered and spayed, but I really learned my lesson that day.

    Lesson #1: When transporting your pet ALWAYS CONFINE YOUR PET TO A PET CARRIER OR LEASH until safely delivered inside.

    This next lesson required required several incidents in order to be driven into my thick skull. Occasionally we would find the body one of our cats off in a field or some such place, seemingly in one piece but mussed up nonetheless. I was always puzzled as to the nature of the death, but eventually I did figure it out. Evidently sometimes a cat will get itself into a scrape with a pack of dogs, and this has happened several times. To be truthful, this is what happened to Shadow, Curiosity, and Sheba, as well as at least three other cats of which I am aware.

    I made a decision long ago that I would not confine the cats to an outdoor pen. This has mostly worked, but there have been failures. Most of my cats understand how to navigate among the dogs, but even among my own dogs, who are mostly very friendly to the cats and each other, "accidents" can happen. So whenever I leave the house now I confine the dogs to minimize the incidents of "accidents."

    Lesson #2: CONFINE YOUR ANIMALS WHEN AWAY FROM THE HOUSE..

    However, I had to endure the demise of poor Yella Fella and poor Goldie and almost the demise of Cathy before I learned that even among friends, accidents do occur. I acquired first Yella Fella from the neighbors. He was in bad shape -- full of ticks and fleas and mange. I bathed him and administered Ivomec as I have done so often before, and within a couple of weeks he was well on the way to recovery.

    I always quarantine a new animal for at least two weeks, and such was the case with Yella Fella. Within the allotted time Yella Fella had recovered well enough to introduce to the general population, and after the initial sniffing and snarling, the other dogs settled back into their normal routines. When I would go to work I continued to confine Yella Fella behind a child gate, but one day when I arrived home I found Yella Fella running loose but in one piece. I decided to leave him out. This worked for about a week, and then one day I arrived home to find his lifeless body in the back yard. Evidently, the other dogs had not quite accepted Yella Fella fully, but I was not aware of this. Poor Yella Fella. I truly did not know any better. Even so, I feel that your untimely demise was my fault.

    Shortly after losing Yella Fella I acquired his sister. This time I would make sure not to make the same mistake again. "Goldie" was in much worse shape than her brother had been. She was all over sores and welts and fleas and ticks, but as with her brother I was quickly able to set her on a right course. In her case I decided to extend the quarantine period and observe the other dogs' behavior before I trusted them to be all together while I was away. Over the extended period Goldie grew and I observed on my days off and my time at home that the other dogs genuinely seemed to accept the newcomer. So the time came that I felt like it would be safe to leave her out with the other dogs when I left for work.

    The day came to leave Goldie loose, and all day at work I worried. That was the longest day of my life -- all day I worried and sweated and wondered: had I done the right thing? After all, wasn't I risking Goldie's life by taking this chance?

    When I arrived home all was very quiet. Eerily quiet. Too quite. Slowly and nervously I exited my vehicle. The dogs were all in a very abject mood as I entered the house. Ordinarily I would have expected Goldie to be bouncing around outside, as with all of the animals, but there was no Goldie. I knew before I even got out of the car. I knew before I even entered the house. I knew. I found Goldie's lifeless body under my desk. I cannot describe the rest of the scene. I cannot think about that now.

    Lesson #2: NO MATTER THE DISPOSITION OF YOUR PETS(S), EXPECT ACCIDENTS TO HAPPEN..

    I do often think that I have done a good job of rescuing a few animals and helping those in need to receive help. I do have a few success stories. But I have a few failures also. Sometimes failure is the only way to learn. Even so, learning can be so painful. I cannot blame myself for Yella Fella's demise, but I knew I was taking a chance with Goldie. With Yella Fella I sincerely thought all was okay, but with Goldie I knew there was the possibility of a bad outcome, yet I took the chance anyway.

    There is a footnote to this story. Yella Fella and Goldie were litter mates. Their mother belonged to neighbors. She and I never met until one morning about 5:00 am. As I was pulling out of my driveway to go to work, Yella Fella and Goldie's mommy decided to chase my truck. Another vehicle was approaching from the opposite direction and hit her. I pulled up and exited my truck. She was in very bad shape. Here it was, 5:00 am, and here was this dog lying in the road, all beat up. What could I possibly do to help her? Well, I had to go to work; It was too early to find a vet open; her owner's were not awake yet; she was in very bad shape -- she couldn't possible survive.

    As I was kneeling next to the mother of Yella Fella and Goldie I recalled an incident that had happened a few weeks before. Another dog, owned by the same neighbor, had been hit in approximately the same spot in the road. I had arrived shortly after it happened, and the owner had arrived also. The dog was in very bad shape and could not survive, but it was alive. After some consideration I retrieved my .22 rifle, and she called another neighbor to come and do the deed. I recall asking the guy if he would please put several bullets into her head, but macho as he was he assured me that one shot between the eyes would do the trick. I didn't argue, but against my better judgment I decided to stay and observe. He shot the dog once in the head. What happened after that I wish I could forget. The dog required several minutes to expire, but it was a long struggle. Oh, it was probably unconscious during the whole time, but I decided right then that the next time this situation presented itself I would do the deed myself.

    Now here was the next time. I retrieved the rifle from my house and returned to the dog who lay beside the road. She was alive and conscious, but it was ovious that she would not survive. Never in my life had I done what I was about to do. It was very early in the morning and still very dark. The air was cool and crisp, and I love dogs -- all dogs. Yet I was staring down the muzzle of a loaded gun with the bead set squarely between the eyes of one of God's precious creatures, and I was about to take from it the greatest gift on earth. I had been in the same position a few years earlier when Sam first showed up at my place, and in his case I couldn't pull the trigger. But now -- there simply was no other choice. This time there was no long struggle. It was over in seconds. I pray God forgive me for doing what I felt like I had to do.

    Yella Fella:



    Goldie on the day I brought her home:





    I give Goldie a bath in my kitchen sink:



    Goldie, a few weeks later:



    Last edited by Willow Oak; 08-20-2008 at 11:59 AM. Reason: I can't sbell, okay? Safistied?

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Randi View Post
    How is the little newcomer, Taz, getting on? He's SO cute!
    I don't know if you are aware, but I made a few posts regarding him in the dog rescue forum:

    http://petoftheday.com/talk/showpost...9&postcount=14

    http://petoftheday.com/talk/showpost...1&postcount=15

    Basically, Taz is beginning to show his personality. Although he does play a lot with the other dogs (or attempts to) he does not mind being alone. I'll find him alone outside under a tree chewing on a stick when all of the other dogs are inside enjoying the air conditioning. He has himself a habit of crawling under the couch when he is inside, but he is getting too big for that. One day either he won't make it in or he won't make it out.

    Every morning as I leave for work I tell the dogs to go to their rooms. I'll say, "Go to your room." At that each dog goes to his respective kennel or cage. I've learned to confine the dogs when I leave. Taz has his own kennel and he dutifully goes to it his just like the others go to theirs.

  6. #66

    Is it Christmas yet?

    No? Well, I just survived a heart attack, so I am allowed. As I may have mentioned in another post I grew up in the home of a strict, Victorian era Baptist preacher. My dad had two loves in his life: his books, of which he must have had around 30,000 volumes and his memories of WWII. Dad was a tail gunner on B29's during the war, and he talked about his experiences constantly.

    I am presuming most of us cannot relate to the experiences of those who placed their lives on the line in times of war. Dad was in the Pacific theater, and I've heard him talk about having to shoot at and being shot at Japanese fighter planes while on a bombing run or whatever. Actually, Dad was in a reconnaissance group, and he brought back tons of photographs -- photographs of unimaginable devastation.

    May I be afforded an aside here? Had the United States not entered the war the world may still be fighting the evil Nazi regime. Had the British not decided to take a stand the world would without a doubt be marching to the beat of a Nazi jackboot. All of the various allies played their part, including the brave French underground. The Canadians, the New Zelanders, the Indians, etc., etc. ..., Where would we be without that brave, selfless, and valiant generation?

    Back to my story. My dad was Victorian-era. No vices had he. I have no images of my father sitting or lying down. Dad was always busy at work. One thing my dad strictly forbad was the consumption of any kind of alcoholic beverage. To this day, and I am 54 years of age, I have never tasted beer.

    I have, on the other hand, tasted other kinds of alcohol. Back in the day I was a salesman, selling security systems, fire alarms, and burglar alarms. I had a call to make on a local tavern, but I was in the throws of a serious head cold, teetering on the brink of the flu. I made my call, apologized for my condition, upon which the tavern owner said, "I have something that will take care of that for you."

    "I'm sure you do," I said. He excused himself and returned with a shot glass full to the brim with a pretty purple-colored liquid and said, "Drink this." Now I had never had alcohol in my system before, but at that particular moment I was weak and vulnerable and quite willing to try anything that might relieve my miserable condition, so I relented. It was delicious! I sipped excitedly as I presented my wares. He had given me the most delicious blackberry brandy, and was it ever so delectable! I fairly floated through my presentation, and by the time I had finished I felt like I had genuinely left the nasty head cold behind. Blackberry brandy is indeed the nectar of the gods.

    I have kept a bottle of blackberry brandy in my pantry ever since. Mind you now, I have never been drunk. I do not now nor I have ever drunk alcohol for purely social reasons. I partake for medicinal purposes only.

    However, one Christmas not long ago I was watching around me and noticed that everywhere people were embibing and enjoying the intoxicating pleasures of various potions with intriguing names like sherry and port and vodka and scotch. "What's all the fuss?" I wondered to myself. I had never drunk any of those -- nothing more than the blackberry [what turned out to be flavored] brandy that I kept in my kitchen cabinet, and that only to sip when I was not feeling well. So, I decided to check things out. I decided that I would settle the issue for myself once and for all. I would discover for myself what all the fuss was about. So I went to a local liquor store and asked for advice. I was given several small bottles of various renditions of hooch, paid the bill, and returned to my house.

    At home on Christmas Eve I decided to give them all a taste. I opened each bottle in turn, but in each case I could not discern anything special. So I went through each bottle again, swigging and tasting then swallowing. "So what's the big deal?" I asked myself. I couldn't see it. What exactly is it that all these people see in these things? Nonetheless, I continued to sample these bottles of different colored liquid. Eventually I grew tired and went to sleep.

    The next day was Christmas, and that morning I awoke with quite the headache. I went outside to drink in the early morning sunshine, and as I stepped out I noticed how warm it was. The sun was already high in the sky. I saw my neighbor from across the street (This was years before I bought Willow Oak, and I was living in a trailer park at the time), and exclaimed as to how gorgeous a day it was, being Christmas and all.

    "Yes, Christmas day was a beautiful day at that."

    "Was?" I asked.

    "Yes." Then he looked at me and laughed. "Boy you had quite the party going on over there at your place."

    "What day is it?" I asked.

    "You don't know? Christmas was two days ago."

    Like I said, I have never been drunk ..., that I am aware of.

  7. #67

    Thumper the Killer Kat!!!

    "Mister! Mister! Do you need a cat, Mister? I'm all alone in this world, and I don't have nobody to take care of me, Mister. Do you need a kitty, Mister? Mister, if you will take me home with you I promise I'll be a good kitty. Mister, I don't have nobody, and I'm all alone in this world, and I don't know what I'm gonna do. Mister, do you need a kitty? I sure hope so, Mister, because I don't have nobody, Mister!"

    I'd heard these words before. Cougar had grabbed me that way a couple of years earlier. That one had worked out okay, but this one ..., looks more like trouble to me. But what else was I to do?

    Words cannot tell the story of Thumper. Only pictures can do justice here.

    Thumper was just a kitten when I snapped this shot. As you can see, from early on he was a genuine cut-up:



    Thumper is ever on the move:



    Thumper is so independent. Dogs? What dogs? Who cares? What's all the fuss? Lemme see if I can find me a place to relax over there:



    Thumper and Oscar:



    Thumper "kicks" it with Pookie:



    Thumper thinks that Sam is just a big bore {{sleepy}}:



    Silly goose:



    {{{Yawn!!!}}}:



    And, oh yea. Did I mention that Thumper ain't afraid of nobody? Come on, big guy. Show me what you got!


  8. #68
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Posts
    12,031
    I will take Thumper along with Sam! I love a jelly belly!!

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark - GMT+1
    Posts
    14,771
    I just couldn't bear the story of Yellow Fellow and Goldie - so very sad!

    Thumper seems to get along great with Oscar - in fact with all the dogs. He looks so sweet in the first picture, and so goofy in seventh. What a gorgeous kitty. No wonder you couldn't resist him!
    Randi



    "I don't know which weapons will be used in the third World war, but in the fourth, it will be sticks and stones" --- Albert Einstein.


  10. #70

    Auntie Mame

    In case you didn't know, and even though you could probably care less, I post to another site from time to time. It is of a different genre from Pet Talkers, but the people are the same.

    I read in one post where someone had lost a beloved pet and was requesting prayer for the family. What is this? Is this the point in civilized society to which we have ascended that when a household pet passes over to the other side we are so grief stricken that we request others to go to their knees and request of the Almighty God that he bestow some manner of comfort on our souls?

    I do it every day. So what? Anyways, I shared with that individual a link to the Willow Oak thread on this site, which thread we are in right now. Others on that site read the post and followed the link to here, and recently I received an email from one of those readers who shared with me the most wonderful story. With her permission I share that story with you:

    You can find a bit more about some of our rescued (and other animal stories) at Momma Dawg's Multiply site. Auntie Mame's story goes something like this: My Second Daughter taught gymnastics in a small town about fifteen miles from here and her drive home is along unmarked county roads. While she’s used to seeing deer jump out, a possum or skunk along the edge of the road, she just couldn’t place what she saw in any of her known categories. So, at eleven at night, she’s stopped along the side of the road walking back to see what “didn’t belong there.”

    Holding her own in front of this approaching human was a small kitten, mewling loudly. According to Second Daughter, who speaks Cat fluently, she was saying, “I’m trying to get to your mother’s house. I’ve heard that she takes care of kittens, and I need lots of help.”

    The next morning when SD brought this buddle of skin stretched thinly over tiny bones, it was evident that she needed a lot of help! No cat food in the house, of course, and we knew that milk would only create diarrhea, so we mooshed up some dog food and the kitten devoured it. Yep, desperate – she’d never look at dog food now. She’s too good for that.

    Her eyes were still blue, and she fit in the palm of our hand. She wanted to lick any skin that came close to her. Instead of being covered in soft fur, there were single strands standing alone. All of her strength had gone into surviving, not covering her body. You couldn’t tell what color her fur would be, though her skin was spotted grey and white.

    We took her to the vet and this “free” cat came home worth $135, got her shots along with medicine to remove worms, mites and ringworm. Quite successfully I might add.

    It took a while before we could figure out her name. We tried calling her by different names, but we got them all wrong. As her fur grew in and we understood that she was a gray tabby, we even tried Smokie, but she never responded. Princess, Ghost, Shadow – none of those caught her attention. We were sitting in the den about a month later, my husband and I, and I told him that maybe she didn’t have a name.

    When I said “name”, she turned quickly and looked at me. I looked right back and said “Is your name Mame?” She came to me and jumped in my lap. I said, “Is your name Auntie Mame?” thinking of Rosalind Russell’s portrayal of that colorful character. She leaned over and licked me on my check, and she’s been Auntie Mame since then.

    Her eyes eventually turned green, and being thin is no longer her problem. She became even more valuable with another trip to the vet to be certain she leaves no kittens to be found on the side of the road. Unlike Second Daughter, most people don’t speak Cat. During her recuperation, Beloved Husband (despiser of feline creatures) held her on his chest and the bond has only strengthened since then. I may be the one to feed her and clean out her bathroom (yes, she has one of her own -- it just worked out that way, it was not built for her!) but he's the one she goes to, settles in his lap, throws her head back so she can stare into his face then reaches out a paw to touch his chin and settle on his chest.

    Ah! Contentment!

    PS -- She remains fearful of cows!!

    Auntie Mame:

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    22,421
    What a sad story of Yellow Fellow and Goldie.
    But now -- there simply was no other choice.
    I pray that I never have to make such a choice.

    Forever in my heart...Lacey,Sassy,Mandy,Corey,Ginger,Casey

  12. #72

    What the heck?

    Before I bought Willow Oak I lived with my mother. It was there that I began to accumulate these beasts that now occupy so much of me. In the beginning it was all cats, then came Bonnie, then Lola Belle, then Lu Lu, then Fred. At that time I worked from home, so I was irritated that day when the dogs started making such a ruckus. I stepped out onto the back porch and could see that they were barking at something just across the fence behind my mother's house. I walked back to the fence where the dogs were, and woah! A litter of puppies, perhaps no more than five weeks old were crowded into a ball just outside the fence!

    How did these little guys get here? I wondered. Could someone possibly have dumped them here, knowing that we keep a lot of animals, presuming that we would take them in? I couldn't see how that could be, seeing that a person would have to go through so much trouble to tote the pups all the way to this spot, which was so far from the road. How could a person expect to do that undetected? I was puzzled.

    Anyways, I was able to deliver the pups, five in all, to the local animal shelter where all were eventually adopted out. This was a strange case, but it would not be the last. One year later, in approximately the same spot another litter of pups appeared. Now this really was puzzling! Was someone deliberately dumping puppies at our back door? Why would they do that? Why not dump them at the front door? I could not see how or why anyone would go to all the trouble of traversing the yard and several yards of woods to place the pups in a spot way in the back like that, but there could be no mistaking the fact that someone or some thing was doing so. All of the pups were simply too small to have wandered there on their own. Maybe one pup might, but a whole litter? And if they wandered there by themselves, why would they then be all balled up like a litter of pups or kittens are wont to do when their mother leaves them?

    In all, while I lived at my mother's house I discovered three litters of puppies this way. All pups were delivered to the shelter, and to my recollection all were subsequently adopted.

    In the meantime I bought Willow Oak and moved my crew there. Shortly after moving to Willow Oak I found Oscar wandering around and crying off in the woods, and from whence he came I could not tell, but he was by himself. I've already told Oscar's story, but there is a bit more to it. For one, whereas the other puppies I had found were in fairly decent shape, Oscar had a pretty bad case of mange and had open sores. He was very tiny, and I bathed him and nurtured him back to health. In the mean time I had, myself, developed an itch.

    On a visit to the Vet's office, I related to one of the vets about my itch, whereupon being asked, I showed the offending rash. I was told that I had mange. Joy, Joy. So the vet wrote me a prescription for some ointment, and thus began a regimine of self-treatment for mange. I also placed my own self in quarantine.

    One of the requirements of this ointment is that you strip completely naked and rub the stuff all over your body -- every square inch. Then you must remain unclothed for a period of time to let the ointment work. Lucky for me I live alone and in the country. I got the bright idea that a little sun would facilitate the treatment so for several days I wandered Willow Oak in the nude. What a site I must have been: a white man covered in a chalky-white merengue, walking about the premises totally and completely naked. I can only imagine what my crew was thinking. For me I didn't like it. I can see where if a person were accustomed to doing so, walking about in the buff might make one feel "refreshed," but for me being naked only made me feel ..., well, ..., naked!

    Anyways, I cured my own mange problem, and Oscar's mange cleared up nicely, and, well, I've already told his story. But the story about finding puppies in the woods wasn't over. I continued to find puppies behind my mother's house as well as in and around the woods that surround Willow Oak.

    Willow Oak had once been surrounded by a very dense forest of old pine trees, which had been harvested just prior to my acquisition. Hence there are huge piles of trees that have been pushed together to form little mounds here and there. It was deep within one of these mounds that I found a litter of puppies. Such clean puppies they were, too -- no discernable fleas or ticks or mange, and they were adopted out quickly by the animal shelter. In that case, however, I did not come out so clean. I had to crawl down into that old pile of trees, which were covered with years of dirt and humus, hacking my way through until I reached the pups. Part of the way down into the pile I had had to retrieve my chain saw to cut through some large tree trunks that were still relatively intact.

    Anyways, I continue to find puppies in those woods and on my property. Where do they come from, and how do they end up in little piles just behind the fence of my mother's property? Well, I've thought a lot about it, and I can come to only one conclusion. Somehow, someway the mother (or mothers) of these pups know(s) that there are humans nearby that will take care of their pups. So, these mothers deliver their pups, once weaned, to a spot adjacent to and easily accessible by their human neighbors.

    I simply cannot come up with a better explanation

  13. #73

    Too Much Drama For Me

    Larry is a good guy. Really he is. Larry is the guy who sharpens the chain on my chainsaw; the guy who changes the oil on my lawnmower, and oh yeah, the guy who built the fence in my front yard. I couldn't stomach the expense of hiring a professional so Larry volunteered to help me out at the discounted cost of $1 per foot (plus materials, of course). And a great job Larry did. Larry, I owe you one, buddy!

    A few weeks back I had been at Larry's shop waiting for my chain saw and just generally "killing time," as we Southerners are known to do. There is always a group of loafers that hang around in overhauls, spitting tobacco, cursing the government, and complaining about their wives. I hang out there myself sometimes, but only because I need my lawnmower oil changed or the bearings greased on my chain saw.

    "Too much drama for me," Larry had said when I explained to him how I had all these animals, and I really needed a fence to help contain the dogs. “I know I couldn’t put it with it. I don’t know how you do.”

    A week or two later Larry came to my house, and together we mapped out where the fence would go. "How you put up with all them animals, is what I don’t understand." Larry said. "I'm just glad it ain't me."

    Well, I really didn't expect Larry to understand, but I attempted to explain anyway. "Why don't you just take all them animals down to the shelter. They'll take 'em off your hands for you." I tried to explain that might have been a good idea in the beginning, but now that the animals had been with me for so long I just couldn't do that. Larry just shook his head and said, "Too much drama for me. I don’t know how you do it"

    Larry and I agreed on a price, the day came to begin construction, and promptly at the appointed time Larry showed up with his materials. On cue, the dogs cut loose, yelping and hooing and generally trying their very best to let Larry know that he was in their territory, and they were in charge.

    Work began in earnest. Larry is very respected in his chosen field, and other people even hire Larry to do odd jobs. If Larry says he can do the job he can be trusted to do a fairly good job, and he won't drag his feet about it. Each day that Larry arrived, the dogs would cut loose with a howling and a wailing, but as each day passed the racket would be less and less. Eventually the dogs would get accustomed to seeing Larry, and his arrival would only induce a small amount of noise. Still, Larry could be counted on to say, "Way too much drama for me. I don't see how you can stand them dogs!"

    Due to weather and the fact that Larry had to work after hours during the week because of his regular job, the fence took about two weeks to complete. Each day as Larry would show up to work the dogs would start their racket; and as always, after Larry had been on premises for a little while the dogs would get quiet. But he would always manage to remind me each time he came out that the situation in which I found myself was just "too much drama" for him. Larry could be annoying in this way, but I bit my tongue. I needed that fence.

    By necessity Larry would be forced to be around the dogs. He would see them running and playing and barking. One day his wife came to bring him some lunch. She brought Larry's two little children with her. The kids ran around and played with the dogs. Fred and Sam are especially gentle with little ones, and who could resist the touching site of the little two-year-old boy, no bigger than a "corn nubbin'" pulling on Sam's tail and Sam turning and barking playfully with a big grin on his face? And there was Fred getting jealous and chasing Sam away so he could monopolize the children’s affections. “Look at that!” Larry said. “They jealous of one another. Ha!”

    During this and subsequent visits from his wife and children I would watch Larry as he watched his kids. I would catch him laughing and smiling. Oh, yes. He couldn't hide it from me. He couldn’t help laughing and smiling, watching the kids run around chasing and being chased by these big dogs that easily dwarfed the children in size.

    One day Larry had to miss because of business out of town, but when he returned he had a present for the dogs. He had bought some dog-chews and other toys for the dogs at a farm auction. "They was auctioning them things off, and I thought you might want ‘em for your dogs.”

    Every evening after work Larry worked at constructing the fence, and within the estimated two-week time frame Larry had the fence completed, and to this day it has been about the best investment I ever made for them, er … my animals. It keeps them safe and sound and allows for plenty of room for running and playing. Larry did a good job, even though he thoroughly got under my skin while doing it.

    A few weeks went by and I visited Larry's shop to have my chainsaw sharpened. While there Larry mentioned to me that his wife had been reading my blog. ”My wife reads yore blog ever’ day. She’s gotta know how them dogs are gettin’ along." He told me that he had found a stray dog and had decided to keep it and wanted advice on shots and such.

    I continued to visit Larry's shop, especially since we had had so much rain. Since I mostly heat my house with my fireplace and have to cut wood often, my chainsaw needs constant sharpening. On another visit Larry offered that he had acquired another dog, “and somebody gave my wife a couple kittens she had found.”

    Recently I saw Larry working on a lawnmower motor. "How are the animals doing?" I asked. "Well, my father-in law gave me a beagle he done found, and my wife's done got herself another cat.”

    "Well, how many does that make now?" I asked.

    "Oh, we got us, lessee ..., we got us three dogs and five cats."

    At that, I leaned back in the barstool on which I had been resting myself, and in my most matter-of-fact way slapped my knee and exclaimed, "Too much drama for me! I don’t know how you do it! I shore am glad it ain’t me!"

    Larry:

    Last edited by Willow Oak; 08-22-2008 at 09:02 PM. Reason: I can't sbell

  14. #74

    Negative Influence

    I continue to have a negative influence on others. One of my coworkers became jealous of my hogging all the glory, so he went and acquired himself a new pup. He "claims" it was a gift for his wife, but I know better.

    He is 10 pounds and only six weeks old. He is part boxer and part St. Bernard.


  15. #75
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    20,714
    Gosh, I hope your "negative influence" becomes a world-wide epidemic!

    That puppy is just TOO cute!
    "Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get." -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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