Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

I am writing this to remind myself that God does, sometimes, work miracles for our fur friends/babies/whatever you want to call our pets and farm animals. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. I am hoping and praying for it tonight as my dog, Harvey, is very, very, lethargic and ill.

I saw God work a miracle when my little Arab/Appy horse, Whisper, inhaled a blackberry vine. The piece of vine was embedded so deep inside her nostril that the vet could not reach it and remove it. He gave me two options: we could send her to OSU Vet college, have them put her under, and cut open her face to remove the bramble. Or, we could leave it in place and worry that it would work its way further up her nostril, eventually killing her. Whisper somehow managed to sneeze the offending briar out in the next few days.

The biggest miracle that I have personally seen was the llama that died. My friend lived around the corner on a rural road. She called me in a panic: Joey, the llama, had tangled in his lead rope and managed to strangle himself. Would I come over, lay hands on him, and believe with her that Joey would live? Her kids were hysterical and the vet was forty minutes out.

I don’t even particularly like llamas. But I loaded up my kids and hurried over to my friend’s house, where I found an impossible scene: Joey’s neck was twisted in the wrong direction and he was definitely VERY still. I won’t swear that he was dead, but if he wasn’t, he was damn close. And his neck was – well, necks shouldn’t turn like that, even on a llama. He wasn’t breathing, and his eyes were glassy.

But we laid hands on him and prayed. And prayed. And suddenly, Joey inhaled. And his eyes opened up. And he turned his neck around, and we were able to get the lead off of his trachea. He was standing by the time the vet arrived, but his tongue was still quite blue. The vet didn’t quite believe he’d been out as long as my friend said he’d been out, but I don’t doubt her word: it took her time to call me, the vet, and for me to get there. Joey wasn’t breathing when I got there. The vet arrived twenty minutes after I did.

Sadly, a few weeks later, fueled by this coup, the same friend called me to come pray for a Freisian horse that was in distress at a vet clinic in Estacada. The owner had poured thousands of dollars into this horse and just couldn’t have it die. It died. I accepted that. I figured we were over-confident in OUR ability to pray things back into life, and maybe my heart wasn’t as much into the praying the horse back (because I didn’t know the owner, its history, or its intended future, but I did know that Joey was loved by four small children).

Heck, it’s the same with praying for human friends or acquaintances. Sometimes, you just *know* the prayer will be answered, and the person dies. Sometimes, you doubt the very prayer you just said, and a year later, the woman comes to find you to tell you she gave birth to a healthy baby, and thank you for praying she could conceive. It’s a mystery.

I don’t know why God chose to give Joey the llama a second chance. Or why God chose me to pray for the woman who wanted to get pregnant, but couldn’t. I only know God chose to answer those prayers.

I’m hoping God chooses to grant Harvey a longer life, and not at a huge financial expense for us. You can hate me, but there’s a limit to how much I will spend on a pet. I have ten grandchildren – finances are directed toward them, first. But – Harvey is my heart and soul tonight. I hope my readers understand. And pray/send positive thoughts for him. I need my Harvemeister.


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Harvey Albert got a hair cut this weekend. He looks so handsome. This handsome fellow caused me to reflect on the dogs in my life, starting with the very first dogs.

I don’t have a photograph of my mother’s dog, Squeaky. I remember the dog, in that corner of my memory that is more sensory than pictures: he was a nippy little dog and I didn’t like him very much. I vaguely remember being awakened by him nipping on my fingers and toes. He didn’t try to hurt us and our parents thought he was amusing, but i didn’t like him. I think he was a Chihuahua-terrier mix of some sort.

Squeaky died some time after Butchy adopted us.


Butch looked a little like the dog in the old photo above, except 1) Butch was not all Cocker Spaniel and 2) he was a lot like Farley Mowat’s “Dog Who Wouldn’t Be” than an actual dog. Butchy wandered into our lives when we lived in Elko, Nevada, before I was even in Kindergarten. He brought a lot of bad habits into our lives, but he also brought a larger-than-life personality.

He could not be restrained. We had an 8′ tall chain-link around our back yard. Butch climbed it.

Butchy, along with a handful of other dogs, was “grandfathered” in when they finally passed a leash law in Winnemucca. I could name them all: old dogs that had never been restrained, had never threatened anyone outside of their own yard, and were known to always be at the heels of children. All of them were the dogs that made growing up a treasure: dogs that were bigger than life.

Butch, for instance, chased rocks. You could throw a rock into the muddy Humboldt River and he would dive until he found the same rock to return to you. Sometimes, he would be underwater so long, you thought surely he would drown. But then he would be dog-paddling with his short Spaniel legs back to short and he’d drag his impossibly long Labrador body out of the water. Between his teeth would be a rock so similar to the one tossed that we were certain he’d sniffed out the original.

Butchy was good with cats, kids, horses, and grocery store owners. He was not so good with garbage collectors, uninvited salesmen, and other Alpha dogs. My mother once used him to chase off the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Salesman, who, as he kicked and scrambled out of our driveway, yelled back that he would “sue” my mother for turning the dog loose on him. Butch didn’t follow him beyond our driveway, and didn’t do too much damage to him: Butchy was not much more than an ankle biter.

He chased cars. I was ten years old when he died of a “high iron diet” and our father took him off to bury him privately. Each one of us kids mourned him privately and publicly, and we all swore there would never be a dog as wonderful as Butchy.

My best friend’s family had a Norwegian Elk Hound they called “Nipper” because he nipped. I knew Nippy for years, and never saw him nip anyone, so I always figured it was a puppy misnomer. Nipper was fun because you could point at a hole in the desert sand and say, “Get him!” Nipper would dig to China as long as you kept telling him there was something to dig for. The story behind Nipper was that someone turned loose a bunch of puppies at the city park and told the kids standing around that “if you catch one, you can have it.” Of course, Nipper’s parents could not refuse the triumphant boy who lugged his (nipping) prize home.

After Butchy died, my dad was content to just have the cat. My mom, however, could not live without a dog and mourned the loss. Someone dumped a purebred Miniature Schnauzer in the almost-ghost town of Paradise Valley. The folks living there – ranchers, for the most part – told my dad that they were considering shooting the dog as it was a pestilence, running loose and chasing stock.

He brought the dog home. Mr. Tack stayed with us for a couple of weeks, but it didn’t seem like he was happy or my mom was any happier. The dog moped. Reluctantly, my mother allowed my dad to return the dog to the wilds of Paradise Valley. She regretted the decision almost instantly, and soon the registered (but now paperless), abandoned, and moody Mr. Tack came to live with us.

We knew he was our dog when he first howled in the back yard and then began barking at people passing on the streets.

Tacky, as he came to be called, was obnoxious. I took him to 4-H to learn obedience training and to learn how to train a dog. Tacky defied every rule and even laid down in the show ring and went to sleep! Worse, when my mother was mad at one of us, she no longer yelled, “Terryjackiedenny!”, she now yelled, “Terrytacky-jackiedenny!” My name was continually mixed with Mr. Tack’s name.


Mr. Tack’s only redeeming feature was his connection to my mom. He talked to her; she replied. He bit every family member, but he never nipped her. He attacked the garbage man. He ran away. He nipped the dog groomer. But he was devoted to my mom. She loved that dog.

Sometime in my childhood, I encountered dogs that were not good with children. there was Princess, the German Shorthair Pointer. She was kenneled most of the time with her dam, Queenie. They were used strictly for bird hunting. Princess would occasionally escape and when she did, she would attack children and other pedestrians. She was not a well-socialized dog.

There was Kelly, the Black Lab. Kelly took it in his mind to bark and attempt to chase children. The thing with Kelly was this: if you bent over as if to fetch a rock to throw at him, Kelly was back on his own front porch in no time. His bark was worse than his bite.

Then there was the Gordon Setter that belonged to the woman who had the <shudder> pet <shudder> monkey. Her name was Jackie. The monkey was evil, vicious, and, well, evil. I’m not very fond of monkeys, either (especially Spider Monkeys). This Gordon Setter nearly bit me in the face. I’m not going to lay the burden of guilt on the dog: we were telling ghost stories and he was the dog in the room (Jackie was the aunt of a friend). The Setter smelled fear. It growled a warning. I stood up, real fear settling in. Dogs will attack the scent of fear: the dog leaped at me and I jerked back. I felt his teeth slide across my face harmlessly.

The damage was done: if the dog was not a family member, I was afraid of it.

In my early twenties, I attempted to adopt a dog of my own.


I found this sweet Dalmatian at the city pound. Mandy. She was a nervous, purebred wreck of a dog. But she came to love me unconditionally. Unfortunately for her, I met a man, fell in love, and when he discovered she was gun shy, it was only a matter of time before she had to be re-homed. I have always regretted losing Mandy.


Then came this dog. Dogs like Butchy don’t happen twice in a lifetime, do they? I found her in a newspaper ad: part English Pointer, Brittany Spaniel, and English Setter. She was three months old when I stole her home to surprise my husband for his birthday.


We named her Rosie. People mistook her for a Beagle. She had a heart as big as the ocean, and she was a darn fine bird dog.


Rosie was good with children and cats. She was great with male dogs, for the most part. She was never good with other female dogs.

We moved into a trailer park in Rose’s twilight years. Everyone warned us to watch our dog around the Chow-Chow at the top of the hill, Bear. Bear didn’t like other dogs, we were told. We laughed: Bear hadn’t met Rosie.

Bear did come down to meet Rosie, his hackles high and a growl in his throat. Rose saw him coming. She balled all of her energy up and ran at him, hitting him square in the shoulder and rolling him. Bear ran all the way back up the hill, completely cowed. Rose was the new Big Dog in the neighborhood.


If those jammies look like the same jammies in the other pic, they probably were. My son wore the same jammies his sister outgrew. He can be happy this isn’t a photo of him in the pink ones.

Rose, like Butchy, died of a high iron diet. We buried her under a little Douglas fir.


Then came the first dog we paid for. Rejoys Hannah’s Promise. That was her registered name. We called her “Sadie”. She wasn’t much of a bird dog, despite being a pure bred English Pointer. But she was a great family dog.


She was awkward and ungainly, always too skinny, and ever so loyal. Cancer took her, and we sat in the vet’s office, crying as she drew her last breath.


Nearly a year later, Murphy came into our lives. Entirely my husband’s dog, a bull-headed, and way-too-smart Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. He is our second papered dog, purchased – as Sadie was – from a reputable breeder. The difference between Sadie and Murphy (aside from brains) is that Sadie came from show stock. Murphy came from hunting stock.

If I was of a mind to give him credit, he’s a better bird dog than Rosie. He’s a little too stubborn, too strong-willed, and too big for me to completely credit him. He greets me at the end of the day as if I was the only person in his world. He will be seven this May. It is hard to believe we have had this dog for almost seven years!


And then, there is Harvey.


Sometimes, I think Harvey is Mandy reincarnated. I always wanted a Dalmatian; she was my Dalmatian. I love English Setters; he is my Setter. The similarities between the two dogs are amazing (except Harvey is not gun-shy). Harvey will be five this year. That is hard to believe.


I think, more than anything, I am so blessed that Harvey and Murphy think they are litter mates. There have been some cross words between them, but not very many. The one and only fight they have had was over gravy (Harvey won – he actually hurt Murphy). Murphy is the Alpha dog, regardless of the one fight he lost with Harvey.

They are such good dogs. And I have come a long, long way in recovering from my fear of dogs.

(But I still want a cat. Of course, I still want a horse, too.)


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It was a beautiful day out today. The hope of spring was in the air – and better yet, the sun was out for a good part of the day!

No, I didn’t work in the garden. It was tempting, but I had other indoor plans for the day as I finish up the Faerie House I have been working on. No, it isn’t finished, but I am down to the final stages of gluing.

Things have been in upheaval in other areas of my life and I need to concentrate on the thing I always meant to make my career: art. I have let it go for so long that I feel like I am in high school again, just starting over. That is OK: Grandma Moses didn’t start to paint until she was in her 80’s. But once she learned, she painted with a vengeance.

So everything I am doing in my studio right now is practice. I’m brushing up on old skills, trying to remember how it felt to ride that bicycle of my youth. Then I will hone those skills. I am kind of excited for this new phase in my life, but the learning curve is a little intimidating! Ah well: press on.

I managed three things: I walked around the garden and noted all the hopeful changes. I worked in my studio. I shopped at Goodwill.


The Camellia is starting to bloom. The first three blossoms have been open for almost a week now, but others promise to open. The Anna’s Hummingbirds are probably in seventh heaven: just two weeks ago, I observed the female testing all the tightly closed buds on the Camellia, almost willing them to open for her.


The peonies are pushing up through the mulch!


My sole surviving Lenten Rose (Hellebore) is blooming! Usually, it is pouring rain through February and I never see the Lenten Rose in bloom (if ever it has bloomed before). I am sad that only one of the many I have planted has managed to survive, but – dang! It has one bud opening and another two to follow.


My salmon are swimming merrily along the fence… Usually, they are hidden behind my gladiolas, but in the winter they are laid bare to the world.


Actually, the only reason I snapped this photo is because I never realized before that I had so carefully placed the top salmon. The knot on the fence is perfect.


I am *this close* to being finished with the faerie house! Dill has revealed much more of his character to me.


He’s a Brownie and a thief. Once I glue everything in place and set the ground cover in place, I will blog about Dill on my other blog (the artsy one).


I played with pen & ink and water color crayon. I had no real plan for the drawing, hence the less-than-stellar background. All I really wanted to do was practice a little.

In the middle, there was the trip to Goodwill. Actually, I went out because I needed to purchase a “grappling hook” for Dill (a size 2 triple fish hook, available at the general store – BiMart). I spend an inordinate amount of time and money at BiMart: they are local, Northwest grown and a small business that often undersells the big box stores. You can get almost anything at BiMart, but you can’t get everything.

Without going into a huge commercial break there, our local Goodwill is in the same strip mall parking lot as BiMart, which is how I ended up at Goodwill today.


And I found these. Actually, there were a whole lot of decoys on display. I suspect some duck hunter grew old and died and his family tossed all of his floating mallards. But mixed in with the generic mallard decoys were these two treasures. Mourning doves.

I live in a friendly community. A white-haired woman had just handled the decoys and discarded them. I picked them up in her wake and said, out-loud, “Cool! Gone.”

She turned around and asked. “Are you going to put them out in your yard?”

“You bet!” Then I added, “My husband just rolls his eyes.”

“Mine does, too,” she replied. She was scouring for art projects, too.

But the greatest score had nothing to do with art. It was just something for $1.99 that tugged at my heart.


An 8×10″ black and white photo of an old Cocker Spaniel looking plaintively up at the camera lens. It looks a little like my childhood pet (well, Butchy was not “my” dog: he was the family pet and he adopted us. And he was not a Cocker Spaniel, but was a mutt of indeterminate origin with a lot of Cocker in him). Butch had the white on his chest and I guess that is the first thing I noticed about the photo.

But mostly, I noticed the dog’s eyes. He (or she) loved the person who was taking the photo. and the feeling was mutual, because the photo was enlarged to fill an 8×10″ plastic frame that someone kept on display in their home until another dog replaced this one or the person passed away and the family discarded the photo.

What’s a dog in the scheme of things, anyway? A pet no one living remembers. Nameless. Ageless. Just a dog.

That was a dog that was once a puppy that wormed its way into someone’s heart. Maybe it was a great hunting companion. Or just a good kids’ dog. Maybe it could chase a rock into a muddy river and stayed under water until it retrieved the *very same rock* that was thrown. Butchy did that, time and again. We were terrible children, testing his nose, over and over and over again: marking the rock and lobbing it into moving water and waiting.

He always returned with the rock we’d thrown.

Just for the record: I cried myself sick the day I learned Butchy died of a high-iron diet. Our parents hid it from us for a week. Butch died while we were at church and Dad took him to some remote place to bury him. I don’t think he ever intended to tell us the truth, but our mother caved in and confessed the brutal tale.

Butch always loved to chase cars. One bit him back.

So I bought the picture. Not because it’s worth anything or even that I need the cheap plastic frame. I bought it because it was was a dog that was important enough to someone to rate an 8×10″ photo. Just look at those eyes.

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I spent most of today visiting with my youngest. But as fun as it was (and I am so incredibly proud of her), all I wanted when I got back home was to sit down with a nice cold beer and decompress. There was a lot of information to process and I wanted to think and pray about it.

I let the dogs out of their daytime kennels and while they ran around the back yard, I got my drink (and some clippers to use to harvest my two!! ripe tomatoes). Walked out the backdoor and saw this:

Except it wasn’t latched. And the gate was wide open. And Murphy was standing in the middle of the street.

I quickly gathered my wits, grabbed the leash and some bribes and set out.

Murphy was the easiest. I have no idea what has come over our former wild child of a dog, but he padded right back to me and allowed me to snap the leash onto his collar without playing any games. I put him in the house and set out.

“He went thattaway” said the guy on the corner.

“He’s down there,” said the people having a barbecue.

“He just went around the corner,” said the couple in the station wagon.

I was sure he’d get to the very busy main street and get scared and come back up toward me. But, no… I saw him disappear around the corner, trotting up the bike lane. He has four legs and he had a head start. I have two, I’m somewhat out of shape, and it was 81 degrees and muggy.

A little blue car zipped around the corner, pulled a “U-ie” and a 20-something woman opened her passenger door. “Get in,” she said. “We can catch him sooner if I help you!”

She moved her groceries and I climbed into a strangers car, something I haven’t done since I was in my 20’s and lived in a really small town where strangers often gave other strangers rides across town. Momentarily, it felt surreal.

We tracked him to a back yard and I set off on foot again.

Now I had him but you know what? He was totally enjoying being foot loose and naughty and he pointedly ignored me. And headed back out to the very busy street.

I lost the woman in the blue car. I doggedly (pun intended) kept after Harvey but he ducked into a back yard that appeared to go all the way through to another street and he was headed that way. DAMN!

And suddenly the blue car was back! “Where’s he go?” she asked. We drove around the block. I told her my big fear was he’d see a cat and kill it. She kept making jokes, “Oh, there’s a big cat and it’s OK. He didn’t go that way!” Her name was Brittany and she lives close to me. She asked if I had managed to catch the ‘black dog’, telling me in not-so-many words that she had been by my house and seen both dogs on the lam. She decided then to help whoever owned them and actually followed Harvey in her car, hoping to catch sight of a frantic owner.

She did. And I was pretty frantic. I probably looked like an insane 54 year old woman in a tie-dye tee shirt.

We returned to the place where I last saw him and she stopped. I knocked on the front door and waited. A very big man opened and I explained to him that a large white dog was trapped in his back yard.

In moments, I was in a stranger’s backyard, wading through a hedgerow of blackberries (his yard ended at the blackberries and I trespassed onto someone’s unkept lot). Harvey saw me coming but studiously kept trying to get away. I kept walking into spider webs.

I finally had him cornered and he knew it. He came to me expecting to get beat, but all I did was hook the leash onto his collar and he headed back out. The big man laid a piece of plywood over the blackberries so I wouldn’t have to wade through them again.

The woman in the blue car – Brittany was her name – offered us a ride home, but I declined. We were only half a mile from home and I felt Harvey needed to walk. Brittany still gave me a big hug and said she had two dogs at home.

I profusely thanked everyone who helped me: the big man and his wife, and especially Brittany.

Then we came home.

The “black” dog is home safe.

The white dog is home, safe and guilty!

Oh, my, but he acted guilty!

He was not entirely sound. I think Harvey met a blackberry thorn.

Lucky it wasn’t any closer to his eye.

Me? I brought home five or six spiders and their webs in my hair. I needed a shower and deoderant. But I’m in slightly better shape than I thought I was and I am truly blessed to live in an area where people are mostly kind and friendly and helpful.

And whereever Brittany is tonight, I send her the biggest hugs ever! Thank you, Brittany-stranger-in-a-blue-car.

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