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Thread: Willow Oak

  1. #76
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Copenhagen, Denmark - GMT+1
    Although I have to admit, I couldn't live with that many animals, I think it's great that you care, and have such a wonderful property for them all.

    Larry did a real good job with the fence, and it's great to hear that he and his children were smitten enough to get some of their own. Often people don't understand what it's like to have animals, until they've been close to them - in this case, it only took a few weeks. Now, do what you can to educate him on how to handle them!

    "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.

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Never has the Last word.
    I LOVE the Larry story!!!
    good for them!
    that puppy is adorable!!!
    Keegan 9/28/2001 to June 9, 2012
    Kylie (June 2000 to 5/19/2012)
    "we as American's have forgotten we can agree to disagree"
    Kylie the Queen, Keegan the Princess, entertained by Kloe the court Jester
    Godspeed Phred and Gini you will be missed more than you ever know..

  3. #78
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    My life is God filtered :)

    Aside from Wednesday, I've had a really bad work week WO, but I just have to say that this picture and that Larry story has made it all better again. Oh and I really had to laugh at your "negative influence" comment.

    This is one of those threads where you have to grab yourself a cup of coffee or some other beverage and sit down and just read and absorb and perhaps read again. When I get home from work I plan to do just that.

    Are you sure you couldn't use a "Krazy Kanuck" to help out?????
    Last edited by slick; 08-22-2008 at 10:31 PM.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand and strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!

    Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see
    --Polar Express

    Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

  4. #79
    lovespeaks Guest
    true love speaks well. clearly.

    we have had quite several "larry" situations here for having a little ark altogether here. love that; happy endings. especially on those rats and snakes. like us, humans, we are not always vemonous.

    in despite of fay the hurricane, looking forward to more novels of your divine tails.

  5. #80
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Santa Clara, CA
    I also loved your "Larry" story and that puppy is too darn cute.
    Owned by Sky, Pearl, Ziggy Stardust, Alani, Blaze, Colby, Finnegan, and Summer.

    My Rainbow Bridge Babies:
    RB Pepper 3/17/97- 2/3/03 RIP Sweet Pepper
    RB Starr 3/22/05- 7/1/09 RIP Sweet Starr
    RB Sunny 8/25/00- 2/28/10 RIP Sweet Sunny
    RB Storm 1/11/96- 8/2/12 RIP Sweet Storm

  6. #81
    Taz is picking up some bad habits from the other dogs -- lying down when he eats and barking at the table:

  7. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by slick View Post

    Aside from Wednesday, I've had a really bad work week WO, but I just have to say that this picture and that Larry story has made it all better again. Oh and I really had to laugh at your "negative influence" comment.

    This is one of those threads where you have to grab yourself a cup of coffee or some other beverage and sit down and just read and absorb and perhaps read again. When I get home from work I plan to do just that.

    Are you sure you couldn't use a "Krazy Kanuck" to help out?????
    I saw Larry today when I went to town. He has already got himself another dog -- a Lab. According to him he has had to teach the dog to leave his chickens alone. The dog was killing his chickens, but after a few lessons from Larry the dogs seems to leave the chickens alone when they are in the immediate vicinity of the chicken house. However, if they wander too far astray from there all bets are off. I won't say what method he uses to teach his dogs, but evidently he has made some progress, at least.

  8. #83


    My visit to the local farmer's market yesterday put me in mind of an experience I had not long ago.

    Summertime is the ideal time to live in Alcorn County, Mississippi. The good country folks around here love their gardens, and the old timers can be seen early mornings tending their gardens with their 'maters and 'taters and okry and squash. There would be peas and corn, radishes and lettuce, and everybody has a "par" tree in the yard, and apple trees and fig trees. Poke salad grows wild, and every body has chickens and there are goats and cows and pigs. There is a good reason that Mississippi leads the nation's obesity rate.

    I have tried my hand a time or two at gardening. I’m not bad, but proper vegetable gardening requires time, and time is something I do not have a lot of. So, I usually buy my stuff at the local farmer’s market where one can find all manner of local fruits and vegetables, or I may resort to my favorite method: stop and chat with some of the local farmers and hope that they offer me some of their harvest for free. I have learned one thing, and that is that country folk are proud of their garden vegetables and fruit trees and are only too willing to share. So, I take advantage. Lots of folks around here are very willing to give of their harvest, and it is considered rude not to accept.

    With my schedule I can only go to town once or twice a month to run errands. There are several routes to town, and each time I go I try to take a different way. It was on one of these errand runs that I first saw the white dog. She was about the size of a large Labrador retriever, but she was not a retriever. I don't know what she was, but I saw her walking along a country road, head hanging low, looking lost and forlorn. Of course, I had to stop. She came to me warily but with tail wagging. She had a collar but no tag. I knew I couldn't leave her so I prepared to load her in my car.

    "That's my grandson's dog!" I looked around and there in an adjacent yard was an elderly lady gathering in her garden. I walked over and after a short conversation assured myself that she knew the dog. I wasn't going to leave the poor thing abandoned, but if she belonged to someone nearby then I guess she would be okay. "Yea, that's my grandson's dog. He lives just up the road a piece."

    "Nice garden you have. Do you work it by yourself?" I asked. Yes, she responded, then she asked if I'd like to take home some 'maters or okry. "Well, I don't know, I'm sure you could use all you have there."

    Oh, shoot," she said. "I got more'n I could ever eat. We give it all away, or it will all spoil. Go ahead and take what you want."

    "Well, I guess I'll take a couple tomatoes." She helped me load up a plastic shopping bag of ‘maters and okry, and I was on my way.

    A couple weeks later I went to town a different route. Along the road I noticed a dog, and, what's this? The same dog? I was on a different road, and pulled beside the dog to have a look. It was the same dog, all right. I got out of my car and checked out the collar. Same dog for sure. Then I looked around. There was a farmer and his wife working their garden nearby and I yelled out to them, "Do ya'll know this dog?"

    "Eh? What's that? Oh, yea. That's our niece's dog." I walked over to where they were. We talked for a while, and they assured me that the dog belonged to their niece who lived just down the road. Funny, I thought. That's the same dog, but their story is different from the old lady's. Before I left I had some nice squash and some good ears of corn.

    A month later I was down another road when I saw the same dog! It is hard to believe, but I was seeing the same dog as the two times before. Of course, none of the locations were more than a couple miles from each other, but they were all either on different roads or different sections of the same road. The story was similar in this case, only the dog belonged to someone's sister who lived farther down the original road than the spot where the first old lady had said her grandson lived. Satisfied that the dog did actually belong to someone, I left the dog alone. This time I left with some pears and some peaches.

    At least one more time I saw the white dog, and I've never seen her since. I was traveling down the same road as the first time when I saw the white dog at the opposite end of where I had first seen her. A little girl was playing in the front yard of a house nearby, and I stopped and asked if she knew the dog. She said she did and that the dog belonged to her neighbor. The little girl's mother exited the house and I asked again about the dog. "Belongs to the man next door, but we feed her sometimes, so I guess she sorta belongs to both of us." I noticed that they had a nice garden. I told her I was just concerned about the dog, and oh by the way, that's a nice garden you have there. "Would you like some peas? I got some nice corn and tomatoes, too." I was glad to receive the fruit and vegetables.

    As I left the lady and her little girl I wondered to myself about the white dog. What a scalawag that dog is! I said to myself. She's a regular vagabond! I shook my head, amazed that a dog had figured out if she wandered up and down the old country roads she could always rely on finding a free meal here and there. Then as I was driving along with my bounty, the thought occurred to me that the old cur just might be thinking the same thing about me.

    They grow 'em small down on the farm in North "Missippi." And yes, that is I, haggling with the farmer (well, his grandson) over the price of some "okry."

  9. #84
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Never has the Last word.
    sounds like that dog shows up whenever you "need" some produce!
    hope she DOES have a good home.

    Keegan 9/28/2001 to June 9, 2012
    Kylie (June 2000 to 5/19/2012)
    "we as American's have forgotten we can agree to disagree"
    Kylie the Queen, Keegan the Princess, entertained by Kloe the court Jester
    Godspeed Phred and Gini you will be missed more than you ever know..

  10. #85

    Taz Again

    Each morning just before leaving for work I tell all the dogs to "Go to your room!" At that command Cathy goes to her kennel; Sam, Oscar, and Scamp go to their kennel; Fred goes to his kennel; Bonnie, Clyde, and Lu Lu go to their kennel; and little Taz has already learned what that means: he runs to his little kennel. In the case of Taz, he has really grown over the past couple of weeks or so, and he has quite outgrown his kennel, so I have fixed him up a much larger place. He hasn't quite become accustomed to his new place yet, so this morning when I gave the command little Taz went straight for his old kennel. I saw this and stood by, yelling at Taz that he had gone to the wrong place, and imploring him to "Come here!" It eventually occurred to me to retrieve my camera, and I did just in time to snap this shot as Taz was turning to exit his former "room:"

    [If you look closely, you can see that the gate is open. Taz had entered the kennel and was sitting there waiting for me to close the gate.]

  11. #86

    Pride and Prejudice

    I was born in the mid 50's, and like so many Southerners of my generation grew up during the Jim Crow era, and like so many of my generation, was taught and grew up with the impression that the Negro race was inferior to the Caucasian. Surely prejudice resides in the heart of everyone to one degree or another, and thankfully, eventually I would come to the point in my life where I would realize that the philosophy with which I grew up is all wrong. But it would take a non-human creature to help me reach that point.

    At 32 years of age I had reached the lofty position of pizza delivery person. Even though I had graduated from high school third out of a class of 143 and had been offered scholarships, I had decided to take a different path. But that is a different story. During the spring of 1986 I made a decision that changed my life forever. I decided that I could do better than pizza delivery, so at the age of 32 I enrolled as a freshman at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Back in the day, I told my fair share and enjoyed my fair share of "N" jokes. It was all in good fun. Whereas I had been raised to believe a certain way, my parents did insist that I show respect to all people regardless of race or color. The brand of prejudice with which I grew up did not include lynchings, but it did include jokes like: "I don't have anything against blacks. I think everybody oughta own one!" Believe it or not, there are still people who tell jokes like that. Thankfully I finally got over it, and although it wasn't necessarily my fault that I grew up that way, I am very grateful that I was able to finally realize the wrongness of the way I was.

    In Baton Rouge I found a very nice second floor apartment situated immediately adjacent to the LSU campus. The kitchen and one of the bedroom windows looked out onto the horse and cow pasture of the LSU veterinary college. Beyond that was the levee that held back the Mississippi river. If you've never been to that part of the United States you might not realize that the levee system of the Mississippi River has quite become Pandora's Box. Samuel Clemons wrote about this in his wonderful book, "Life on the Mississippi." Through the years, despite the efforts of engineers dredging the bottom to remove massive amounts of sediment that settle from all that is carried from upstream, the bottom of the river has steadily risen so that today the bottom of the river is where the top used to be. I saw this for myself the first time I happened to look out of my kitchen window in time to see one of those large oil tankers floating by ... above the level of my second floor window!

    Anyways, I used to love to look out and see the levee, and the pasture, a gorgeous green was dotted here and there with horses or cows. I was in college now and was happy for the decision I had made. Now I could get down to doing something serious with my life. I was enjoyed college life! For me it was not all about parties, oh no. I loved studying and doing homework. I still do. Today I am a software engineer, and I spend my days reading through and writing hundreds of lines of code, developing highly complex applications or their algorithms.

    It took a while to get here though. First I must pay the price of going to class, doing homework, and taking exams. But truth be told I loved all of that. During most of my college career I tried to avoid social entanglements such as close friends, especially girlfriends. I did not need nor did I want the distractions. But I did acquire one minor distraction, and that was in the form of a beautiful, golden cocker spaniel.

    Shortly after moving to my new apartment two new tenants arrived. They were two of the most beautiful, tall, sleek, gorgeous beauties I had ever seen, and their beauty was breath-taking. I had never been that stunned by the good looks of a black female. As it turned out both girls were members of the LSU women's track team. I met them in the summer of 1987, and as it turned out the LSU girls track team won the NCAA outdoor track and field championships that year. Eventually, the LSU women’s track team would win 11 or 12 consecutive national titles beginning with that first one. These two girls were pioneers in that effort. One of them, and I hope I can get away with using her real name here, was Esther Jones. Esther was on one of the women's relay teams that one a gold medal in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. I didn't get to know Esther all that well -- she was world class and was always on the road. The other girl, equally athletic, was a high jumper. She was the first to show me just how misinformed I had been regarding my prejudice against blacks -- she and her dog.

    At the time I met Esther and Leslie I still felt toward blacks the way I had always felt: "show respect, but remember that they are not a good as you." Esther and Leslie moved in, and college life went on. Going to college was the best thing I ever did. At 32 I had a healthy respect for going to class and doing homework. I determined that I would make the best grades I could, and I was into my third semester before I made my first "B." Until then I had made all "A's" taking courses like microbiology, calculus, and organic chemistry. I had grown up in the South, so I had been around blacks my whole life -- but not to socialize with them. I experienced the desegregation period during the 60's and 70’s. The first blacks with which I went to school were three students that integrated my school in the eight grade. I had made friends with them, but the prejudice with which I had been raised stayed with me. Now I was sitting in class at LSU next to young people of all manner of background, color, and ethnicity. I learned early on that Orientals are extremely intelligent, as are Indians, and surprise, surprise: blacks! I still have the computer printouts from tests results. My name was most always placed at or near the top, but more often than not there would always be one or two students that consistently outscored me. I made it a point to seek these students out, and when I did would find that they usually were not Caucasian. As often or not some of these students who would outscore me on a chemistry test would be black.

    I had always been taught that blacks are superior athletes to whites because they had been bred to work in the fields. I had also been taught that blacks had thicker skulls and smaller brains, with the result that whites are superior intellectually. Of course, I believed what I had been taught, so how was it that these black students were outscoring me on college-level exams? It didn't fit in with what I had been taught.

    Things were great back at my apartment. They got better. One day there was a knock on my door. Leslie was there holding her dog, Abigail. She was going out of town, and would I mind watching Abigail for a few days? I knew Abigail. I had seen the little dog hanging around Leslie’s apartment and had come to pet her and hold her as did everyone in the complex. Abigail had been a gift from Leslie's boyfriend. I observed that Leslie took very good care of Abigail, and I would always say hi to the pup whenever I saw her and Leslie out and about or by the apartment pool. I had gotten to know Abigail and Leslie, and Leslie decided that she could trust me to look after her pup while she was gone.

    So Abigail came to stay with me for a few days. In the beginning I was not enamored with the idea of taking on the responsibility, but Abigail quickly wormed herself into my heart. Within a few days, Leslie returned from her trip, and Abigail went home. In the mean time I had begun the practice of leaving my front door open when I was home. My air conditioner did not work very well, and it does get hot in South Louisiana. Leslie’s routine came to be that she would open her door and let Abigail out, and Abigail would run to my apartment and fly through the open doorway, scurrying about the apartment until she found me. She developed the habit of throwing herself into my lap and showing me her belly. I had earlier made the mistake of scratching her belly one day, and it was all over with after that.

    Everyday after those few days I had watched over Abigail, she would come down to my apartment for a visit. In the early mornings, Leslie would open her door and Abigail would run out of her apartment, down the walkway, turn the corner and glide straight into my apartment. It became a daily routine. I am a very early riser. I would be up and at my desk studying each morning by 4:00 am, and usually sometime between then and time to go to my first class at 7:30, Abigail would come flying in, waddling and shaking and beaming all over. One morning I had stepped out early and had closed my door behind me. I happened to see Leslie open her door and saw Abigail fly through her door and down the walkway, headed for my apartment. I heard a heavy thud and heard a sharp yelp. I rushed over to see what happened. There was Abigail lying on her side just outside my closed door, her tongue hanging out as she panted. Her eyes looked at mine and for a few seconds they failed to recognize me. The look on her face said, “What happened?” When Abigail finally recognized who I was she broke into that winning smile of hers, raised herself off, and stood by patiently until I opened the door. Cautiously she proceeded to go inside.

    "I gotta go to class now, Abigail. You come back and see me when I get back."

    Leslie was a gorgeous girl -- tall and lean with a big smile and very pleasant personality. In the beginning she would apologize for Abigail's intrusion, but eventually she would come to accept Abigail's forays are just part of the way things are. Abigail became as much my dog as she was Leslie's. Over the course of the year or two that Leslie, Esther, and some of the other LSU track girls' lived at the complex I became friends with most of them. Quite often before a big meet, all of the girls would gather at the complex and go to a movie. They never failed to ask me to tag along. As a group we saw such movies as "Field of Dreams," and "Rain Man." These girls, world-class athletes, All-Americans, and NCAA national champions would exit the theater in tears, wiping their faces, and I, being the macho man that I was, would be doing the same.

    Time moves on, and in college one semester moves into another, then another, and so on. Each morning before I would go to class Abigail would show up in my bedroom or kitchen, wagging her tail, smiling that big smile of hers, looking for her belly rub. Her “mommy” and I had become very good friends, and it was inevitable that the day came that Leslie would announce that she had become engaged to be married. Within a few weeks she was married and moved out of the apartment. Abigail went with her, of course.

    College moved on and the great day of graduation arrived. I was thoroughly exhausted and ready to move on to bigger and greater things. President Ronald Reagan spoke at my commencement. On the return walk to my apartment I happened upon a couple walking through one of the several Live Oak groves around the beautiful campus. The couple had their dog with them, and as I crossed their path I realized it was Leslie and her husband. Abigail was with her, and the three of us enjoyed a brief reunion. I held Abigail for a few minutes, and she wagged her tail and licked my face, and the two of us enjoyed a few minutes embrace. I gave Leslie a hug, shook her husband’s hand, we parted and have never seen each other since.

    I turned back, though, and watched as Leslie and her husband and Abigail continued on their way. Abigail would look around, but Leslie had to hold tightly to her to keep her from jumping and running back to me. But as they disappeared from view, I thought back on that day that Leslie had knocked on my door and asked if I would babysit her dog. I recalled that on that day I still held to that prejudice with which I had grown up, but that over the past three of four years of knowing Leslie and her dog, of attending classes and coming in second to students who were supposed to be “inferior,” I had definitely come to realize that those philosophies with which I had grown up were all bogus. I had learned from my time with Leslie and with her dog Abigail that among God’s creatures, “red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight.”

  12. #87
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Copenhagen, Denmark - GMT+1
    Aww Taz, how could you know that your dad had rigged up a bigger cage for you? But I'm glad he did, because I'm sure you are growing fast. Nice he was quick enough to get a picture, too!

    Willow Oak, I enjoyed your story about getting things straight on ethnicity, I can imagine (from films I've seen) how life must have been - probably still is, growing up in the South. Worlds apart from what I know.

    Good for you that you got a good education and got to know Abigail. I'm sure that has had a huge influence on your later life, and the reason you're such an animal lover now.

    "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.

  13. #88

    Cleo and her crew

    Cleo came to live with mother and me in a very pregnant state. A friend of my sister had asked that she take Cleopatra off her hands, then mother asked if she could take Cleo, then after the kittens were born and had grown up she felt that she could no longer properly care for them, so they became my responsibility. When I bought Willow Oak Cleo and her crew came to live with me. Of her progeny, one sadly did not survive kittenhood, but the others include one male, Darkly, and the other two are Pinky and Lightly. Darkly and Lightly were given names by my mother. The only way she could tell the two apart when they were wee kittens was that one was darker than the other.

    Cleo likes hanging out in the kitchen window right above the sink:

    Cleo requires a lot of attention. Her hair gets very tangled. She is a very affectionate kitty despite the fact that she was passed around so. Please tell me why anyone would pass her on to someone else. I don't get it.

    I took this shot early one morning just as the sun was rising:

    Cleo also like to hang out in the towel closet:

    Pinky likes the towel closet also:

    Pinky is what one might call a "bee-atch." She does not like the dogs and she does not like other cats. She would rather yell and scream at them, and chase them from her presence. If she had her way she would be the only kitty on the premises. She would also be happy if the dogs all left. She is, however, very attached to her mommy, and she definitely loves her "daddy."

    Pinky really is a sweetheart:

    Everyday after I arrive home Lightly is among the first to demand my attention. For several years now she anticipates my bedtime and as I am preparing for bed I can hear her on the bed calling out to me, "Come on, daddy! Hurry up, daddy! Come to bed, daddy!" Lightly developed a nasty infection in her tail, which then had to be lopped off:

    Darkly is very low-maintenace. He and "Buddy" have become friends. Then again, Darkly gets along well with everybody. Darkly is suave and debonair:

    Cleo survived a run-in with the dogs, requiring several days to regain her confidence and composure. I took this shot right after her ordeal:

  14. #89
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Good heavens, look at the hair on Cleo!!! Have I mentioned Taz is adorable?
    Forever in my heart...

  15. #90
    Quote Originally Posted by chocolatepuppy View Post
    Good heavens, look at the hair on Cleo!!! Have I mentioned Taz is adorable?
    Err ..., that would be "fur," as in "that's a flea-bitten pack of hounds you have there!"

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