It’s Not Unusual

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Ahh, it’s May here in south Georgia. That means it’s already summer, and all it comes with: Heat, humidity, gnats, etc. It’s not unusual to be outdoors enjoying all that summer in the southeast has to offer: Smelling the one or two annual flowers that consistently and determinedly pop up, admiring the many songbirds that grace our tree branches, playing with our dogs, outdoor grilling.

Ok, I have to explain a couple of things before this blog progresses further…

  1. Jake, my Lab, has done the landscaping for me. I used to do it. I loved it when the spring came every year and I could get outside to do some therapy yard care: You know, planting those cutesy flowers and little odds-and-ends plants that I would buy. That all came to an abrupt end when I brought Jake home. Since then, I’ve lost my Gladiolas, my Lantana, my 4ft. Bearded Grandfather tree, my Gerber Daisies, a couple of potted plants, and several other various flowers/plants. The only thing still growing in my yard since Jake, is one Oak tree, one Pecan tree, one Flowering Pear tree, one Cypress tree, and a few unidentified scraggly trees towards the far corner of the yard. That’s it. The only flowers that remain are the Daffodils, and some kind of broad-leaf stuff that multiplies and has orange flowers. ~sigh~
  2. The last thing I want to explain is the “playing with dogs” part. Out of our four dogs, Jake is the only one who “plays”. He has a couple of games that he likes: Fetch, or retrieve, Tug-of-War, and Take Things from “mama” and either hide it, or run with it. Twinkie, my long-haired Chihuahua, knows only one game. It’s the Roll Over and Rub My Tummy game. Obviously, she has to have another willing player, and that is “Ant Al”, a.k.a. Allison, my daughter. (Don’t ask me where her title came from, it just is.)

So, now that the explanations are done with, I can finish my story. Where were we…oh,yes! Outdoor grilling. As I said, it’s not unusual to grill  outdoors when the weather warms up. Nothing better than grilled homemade hamburgers. Usually, Allison gets the grill ready and grills the food while I’m going in and out preparing the rest of the meal, getting items for her, etc.Yesterday, however, I thought I would do the grilling since she had not yet arrived here.

After I had mixed the hamburger and ingredients together, formed them into patties ready for the grill, I covered them and popped them back into the fridge until I was ready for them. Next, I got all the items I would need to bring with me outside in order to grill: The charcoal, the lighter, the metal spatula, the fireplace bucket and shovel, (to clean out the ashes from the last grilling), the grill scrub-pad, and the one hot pad that I have especially for taking the hot grill rack, or grid, off the burning coals in order to hold it while I scrub off any remaining debris before I put the hamburgers on. It’s not unusual to have these things outdoors when you grill.

It’s also not unusual that the dogs were all outside when I began this task. As they watched me, I lined everything up on the porch and the porch railing that I would be using. I scooped up the ashes from the previous grilling, and put them in the bucket to be thrown out later. I dumped the appropriate amount of charcoal in the grill, stacked it all up in a pyramid-like fashion, lit it and replaced the grilling rack so it would burn off any previous debris, bugs, etc. and turn it to ash to be scraped off with the grill pad.

By that time, Allison had arrived. Keeping my eye on the fire in the grill, Allison and I were talking back and forth in the house. A typical day exchanging pleasantries, happy to have her here. By now, Twinkie knew Allison had arrived and was outside at the door jumping up and down, spinning around and around, barking and panting wanting to get in the house to see Ant Al, and get her belly rub. This was easier done with the other dogs staying outside. So, I let Twinkie in, and she made a bee line straight to Ant Al, spinning around, running in between and around her feet, laughing, and finally falling to the floor belly up for her tummy rub. I have never seen such an obsessed and possessed little dog! She LOVES her Ant Al.

While all this was going on indoors, I went back outside to finish getting the grill ready. All I had to do was scrape off the grilling rack, and we would be ready to grill some hamburgers. I grabbed the scrubber, and….no hot pad. I knew I had brought the hot pad outside with all the other items. I had placed it on the porch railing so the dogs would not mess with it. Where was that darn thing? All of a sudden, I look to the yard and there it was, my hot pad, in Jake’s mouth, and he was not ready to give it up! “JAKE!” Off he went, trotting around the yard with MY hot pad in his mouth. You gotta understand, I have a total of 3 hot pads, 2 for the kitchen, and 1 for grilling. One! ~sigh~ Here we go, me telling Jake to give me that, and Jake trotting/running around the yard with it flapping in his mouth. All of a sudden, Jake had HIS game going…Keep Away From Mommy!  Meanwhile, the coals are ready for those yummy hamburgers, and Allison and I are both hungry. Yelling “Jake, give me that!”, obviously doesn’t work, it just makes the game more fun for Jake. He knows I can’t run, so he doesn’t have to try very hard either. As I’m standing there, with my hands on my hips, and my You’re-in-Trouble face on, Jake does what Jake does…he runs right past me, just out of reach, with the hot pad flopping and looking right at me as if to say, “Nanny-nanny Boo-boo, You can’t catch me!” UGH! I try to entice him with a game of “Throw the Bone”, but he’s not having it. Don’t tell me dogs are dumb. Not my bunch! They know exactly what they are doing, and right then, Jake was loving every minute of it. He had his own game going on.

Knowing that I wasn’t going to get my hot pad from Jake, I called for Allison to come outside and try to get it for me. Usually, she can talk him into giving things back when I can’t. So, with her coming outside, I went in and got my camera to get a mug shot of the guilty one. After playing around with Allison, still holding onto the hot pad, he finally stopped. Allison, with her mesmerizing eyes, held Jake’s attention like he was hypnotized, and grabbed the hot pad. Well, that broke his attention, and because she wasn’t fast enough, Jake grabbed the other end of the hot pad. Now, it was a tug-of-war, another favorite game of his. But, Allison had a firm grip, and the better end of my poor  hot pad. In the end, she won, and I was finally able to get the hot grilling rack off the coals to scrub it, and continue on with our grilling.

It’s not unusual around our house; it’s always “expect the unexpected”. Jake’s a sneaky one, and we love him dearly. Thinking about getting your own Lab? Boy, have I got some stories for you!

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Every Dog Deserves a Forever Home

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I had just gotten home the other evening, and there he was; whimpering, scared, unsure of what to do. It was a puppy at the end of my driveway. I immediately decided I had to do something. Thinking he would surely run away, I began to softly call to him, encouraging him to come to me. To my surprise, he started walking to my car smelling it, wondering if he should risk all. I kept talking to him, and it didn’t take much. He came right to me. I’m thinking, “Now what?” I have 4 dogs of my own and a few yard cats that keep expecting the bowl to be filled, I surely didn’t want to take on another dog. But, knowing he was put in my way, I had to do something for him.

So, I picked him up and realized the first order of business was a major cleaning. Boy, did he stink! He was caked with dirt and who knows what else. He was a mess. We went straight to the bathroom where I gave him a long, warm, soapy bath with the Rapid Bath System for dogs. (I love the Rapid Bath System!) When he was finally free of the dirt and stinky smell, I dried him off and got a good look at my orphaned pup. What a cutie, as you can see from his picture.

As I’ve had to do before with strays, or adopted puppies, I once again turned my garden tub into a temporary nursery. I put a tiny crate with soft towels in the tub, along with a pee pad. But, before I put him away for the night, I fed him and gave him water. Knowing he had not been taken care of, I didn’t want him around my own dogs for fear he may be carrying the Parvo virus, which can be deadly for dogs. Also, most newborn puppies and kittens usually have some kind of intestinal worms. So, I had to be very careful. He certainly didn’t appear sick, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

I knew that first night was going to be a long one, and I was right. He whimpered off and on throughout the night leaving me with very little sleep. Even my sweet Maggie had to sleep in the “dogs” room in her own bed. She always sleeps with me, but I knew that wouldn’t work with the puppy in the adjoining bathroom. Needless to say, I was up and down all night caring for the little guy, making sure his place was kept clean, dry, and he got his water and food breaks. Come morning, I knew I had to start the long task of trying to find him a forever home.

Allison and I both posted on our Face Book pages, and I even emailed a dog rescue person we knew who lives in Soperton, GA. I also went to the Reidsville Vet Clinic and posted a printed out picture of him with contact information. I was determined to find him a home. (At one time, I owned 7 dogs, and I always said that I could not do that again. For me, it was just too many, even though I loved them all.) During that day, I went in my bathroom to be with the puppy for a little while, cleaning his area, feeding him, and playing with him (I’d bought him a rope toy from ALCO that day). I felt bad for him having to spend his time in my garden tub, but really I had no other choice. I was not going to put him back in the situation he had come from!

No luck the first day…no takers.

The second night we slept much better. He had become familiar with his “home”, and he only woke me up once. Again, I got up cleaned his area, fed and watered him, and then, propping on the tub, I played with him for about 5 minutes. He was so tired he went to his sleeping place and lay down. Happily, I quickly went back to my sleeping place.

The second morning, I printed out 2 more pictures of him. My first stop was the Animal Hospital here in Glennville. Boy, were they busy! They must have had 20 crates (that I saw) with a cat in each. I don’t know what happened to get that many cats at one time. It reminded me of those animal hoarding shows on Animal Planet. I felt sorry for them, but I can only pray they found homes for them. Seeing as they had their hands full, I just posted the puppy’s picture and a couple of my business cards on their bulletin board, and left.

My next stop was Dr. Deal’s, here in Glennville. There were no patients when I went in, only the employee staff. I asked them where their bulletin board was, and if I could post the picture. One of them took the picture and said it depended on what kind of dog it was, and I’m thinking, “Why would that matter?” But, I didn’t say anything. After they had decided the puppy might have some Lab in him, one of the women who works there said, “I think I know someone who might want him.” My heart kinda skipped a beat, both wanting to find it a home AND wanting to MAKE SURE it had the ‘right kind of home’. So, she called this older gentleman she knew. She told me that his 9-year-old Lab had died last September, and he actually cried about it. (I knew right then, this was the kind of person that this puppy needed.) We agreed to meet in an hour, me with the puppy, at Dr. Deal’s office.

All kind of thoughts were running around in my head: “I really don’t need/want another dog; Am I making the right decision; Would the dog be loved; Oh, I really don’t want/need another dog” …..over and over in my head!  UGH

Anyway, I packed the puppy up in the little crate I had, with a towel (for comfort), I also packed him a bag of food and a small bag of Milk Bone dog biscuits, plus his rope toy that I had bought and a PetsMart tennis ball for when he was a little bigger. I whispered to him that I hoped he had a good long life, and that I would miss him. Off we went.

I got there just a few minutes before the man did. I made sure the woman knew that the puppy had not had his shots, or had not been wormed. I also had asked her about what kind of life this puppy could expect to have. She reassured me, she knew the man very well, the puppy would not be chained, and although he would live outside,  it would be out in the country, in the farm fresh air, the older man’s “tinker” shop, and a few other animals like chickens, cats, etc. It sounded perfect for the older gentleman AND the little puppy. They both needed each other, and I would be part of that. It warmed my heart.

When I saw the man, and he saw the puppy, I knew the right decision had been made. He immediately took the puppy and held him in his arms. After talking with the man for a few minutes, it was time to leave.  I thanked the woman again for helping make this possible, and walked out with the man and the puppy. They had parked right beside my car. We said our final good-byes to each other, and as I was getting in my car, I heard the older man say, “Alright puppy, let’s go home.”

With the feel-good warmth in my heart and tears in my eyes, I drove home. I somehow knew those two needed each other, and that little puppy would have his forever home. Good luck little fella!