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Thursday, February 21, 2008

A BOY AND HIS DOG

My youngest with his pup Lucy in 1982

I'm sure glad that I've always been an animal lover. I can't imagine raising five kids without critters of some sort running around. I don't remember how many dogs and cats we've had but a few sure stand out in my mind.

One was a big female German Shepherd and Norwegian Elk hound mix we called Smokey. She had a very peaceful nature. She was calm and loving with my three little girls who were all under the age of four. When they were in the yard playing, she was always right there with them. We lived on the corner of two fairly busy country roads. Both of which some drivers thought were their own personal speedway.

One day while I was in the yard watching the girls play, I heard a car coming down the hill, and noticed that my baby who was about a year and a half, was toddling directly for the road. I yelled at her to stop and started running toward her, as most babies do, she toddled even faster toward the road. Just before I could get to her our dear Smokey had positioned herself in front of the baby and wouldn't let her pass. She was even nudging her with her long nose trying to make her go back into the yard.This is one of those incidences that keeps mama's awake at night reliving the horror of the moment over and over! I thank the Lord for sending us that sweet dog. Smokey got her share of thanks too.

Then there was my cat Heidi. She was a beautiful long haired calico that loved to be cuddled and petted. She had a lovely personality for several years. Then out of the blue she began biting. One day as I was petting her she grabbed my hand and sunk her teeth into my flesh. I won't tell you what I said, but I dumped her on the floor pretty quick!

Then on another occasion my sister Bonnie came to visit and Heidi jumped up on her lap for some loving. I warned Bonnie that Heidi had taken to biting, but Bonnie continued to pet her until all at once I heard Bonnie say a few indescribable words and saw a calico blur fly across the floor.

Well my youngest sister Barbara is an animal charmer if ever there was one. She loves animals even more than I do. She even put dog food out for the coyotes one year because she was afraid they were starving. Well, Heidi jumped up into her lap and of course Barb began petting her. I warned her about Heidi's nasty habit, but Barbara lovingly said, "Oh she wouldn't do that to me, would you sweetie?" Those words no sooner left Barbara's mouth than I heard her squeal a few words she doesn't usually use and once again Heidi became a calico flash.

It was just a few weeks later that Heidi went to live in the country as a barn cat. I'm sure that must have made her happy as she could take out her frustration on all the mice and rats!

We had the usual hamster's, gerbil's, turtle's, goldfish & guppies, even some salamanders. My youngest daughter, the one Smokey saved, even had a goat for a while. We also had cows, horses, pigs, chicken's and turkey's, and even fostered a fawn for a short time. My youngest son had a pet turkey he called Pecker. I asked him how he came up with that name, he said, "Because all he does is just peck, peck, peck all the time." His turkey followed him all over the neighborhood, just like a dog would.

but when it comes to a pet that the boys could hug and call a friend, their dog's got top billing every time. They would roll around on the floor or in the grass with them, share their desserts and even sleep with them if they could get away with it. The girls seemed to prefer their kitties, at least until Cyndi's kitty did a poo-poo on her pillow and she didn't know about it until she laid her head in it. You can't imagine the screaming that took place.

Children need something they can show their love to, especially when there is an absent parent. But before you run out and get a pet be sure you are ready to accept the responsibility. Critters need a lot of time and care, good food, exercise and lots and lots of patience. There are also vet bills to consider. Dogs are pack animals and do much better if there are at least two. So be sure you are prepared for every aspect of being a pet owner before you commit. Also remember that there are many orphan pets at your local humane society just waiting for someone to adopt them. Your family will love a Heinz 57 variety just as much as a purebred.

Have a wonderful February day everyone and don't forget to say your prayers.

Hugs!

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