Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Animal Parade!

The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.
~ Samuel Butler~

Money will buy a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of his tail.
~ Josh Billings ~

Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. ~Mark Twain ~

My first was Diablo. He had short brown hair and deep brown eyes. He had very short legs But he was perfect for me. I loved him with all of my six year old heart. He was my best friend for a few years. I cried as I searched for him one Cold November Afternoon. He was missing. I was certain My cousin took him because she didn't have one like him. I cried and searched till Daddy came home. Diablo was gone, Daddy had found him that morning on the back porch steps. Daddy took me out back near the chicken pens to show me where he had buried my friend. Daddy explained that Diablo was old But I didn't care. I said I didn't want another one! EVER! Daddy just laughed at me. He already knew what I would learn. Diablo was my first but he wouldn't be my last. I was an animal lover. I loved Dogs!

I have had many furry friends over the years. I think they are like people in a way. Some impress you more than others. Some you remember for a little while. Some you never forget. We all loved animals.
I was a country kid. That meant I lived outside of the Small town. My Daddy wasn't actually a farmer. My Uncles had farms growing hay and corn and soy beans. They had mules and tractors and Combines. My Daddy just grew food crops. Tomatoes, peas, some corn, String beans, Butter beans, cabbage and Okra. Daddy grew what we ate. That included some of our meat. That meat came from animals.

Daddy never let us name any animal that we might eat. We could name the Hens and Daddy had one old Rooster for years and years. He called the old Rooster Captain. Young Roosters were for the soup pot they were all known as pullets. My Sister named a pig once. We all loved that pig. When it came time to Butcher that year we all cried and begged and pleaded. We hated bacon, we didn't want any sausage that year. We weren't going to eat Madam no matter what Daddy said. Even Mama shed some tears. Daddy called uncle Oneal to come and get Madam. I am sure that he butchered her and ate her. My daddy was upset over the whole ordeal. That night he made the no naming food rule. But that was also the first time we were allowed pets. An animal of our own.

We still couldn't have just any animal. No snakes or Big lizards were going in Mama's house. Mice and rats were also out. No wild animals. Grandma swore they all had rabies and we ate rabbits and squirrels so they were already part of the food rule. We already had some cats around even though they were all half wild. I only recall two of them that ever had real names. They were "Old Black Mama," Called that because she was solid black and the mother or grandmother to every other cat there; And Tinkerbell. I found Tinkerbell after she was abandoned by Old black mama. She was half starved and I fed her milk with an eye dropper till she was old enough to eat on her own. She would purr and rub against me. Grandma said she thought I was her Mother. I liked her all right. I just wasn't really a cat person. I Still had Diablo then. I was a dog lover. I had already made my choice as to what would be my pets.

After Diablo came Dave and Bruno, Sugar and Lucky, Lady and Mister. We had Daisy and Doll, Doobie and Shadow. There was Red and Blackie and Brownie and Twitch. We had Piggy and Spanky and Sissy and once we even had one called Pot head. Not because she smoked pot, but because she had showed up at our house nearly starved to death with an old pot stuck on her head. Jimmy freed her from the pot and fed her and she stayed. We had lots of dogs that just showed up there. Daddy said the town folks dropped their unwanted dogs off in front of our house. He always said we weren't keeping any more but he always fed who ever was there at feeding time. Somehow we always had at least one extra dog.

After I was grown I had a parade of animals. We had horses and ponies and spiders and hamsters. We once even had a snake. We had lizards and gerbils and turtles. We had fish ... so many fish. I still have thirteen ponds full of Koi and gold fish and frogs. We have a blue million frogs. We have had rabbits and squirrels and ducks and chickens. We have had a few cats. But mostly we have had dogs. We have had all kinds of dogs. We have had purebreds and mixes and just plain mutts. We have had barkers and growlers and one that people swore could talk. We have had big dogs and little dogs and Middle sized dogs too. I loved them all. I love them too much. I want them all. I once had, including puppies, thirty-two dogs. Dave said they had to go. He was nice about it. We couldn't afford all those dogs. I got to choose their homes. I wasn't very happy about it, But he was right That was too many and they had to go.

Since then we only keep four or five dogs at the time. Usually having three outside and one inside dog. Last year was rough for us and our dogs. We had had all of them for a good while. Max was 14 years old, Hot-dog was 25 years old and Piglet was 4 years old. They all died. We think a car hit Piglet but the others ate tainted food. My heart was broken. That left only Buddy outside and Cocoa inside. Cocoa fussed and whined for days until finally we let her go out with Buddy. She refused to come back inside. Colt was brought to us by a friend to replace Hot-dog. He is crazy but he's lovable. Since Cocoa had decided she was a yard dog we had decided that we wouldn't get another inside dog. Then we met Little Man.

We debated it. Since all the children are grown and gone we could go places and do things. Not if you own an inside dog. They have to be let in and out and washed and brushed. They have to be petted and fed and played with. Outside dogs need the same things but inside dogs are different. You can leave outside dogs for a short time. Inside dogs are harder to leave. But< I argued he is so tiny and he won't get bigger and he fits in a coffee cup. We can take him with us! And we did! He'd sit on the console between the seats in Dave's truck or on the front seat with me in my car. He loved to go visiting and even went all the way to Tennessee with us to visit Dave's Aunt Ruth. We fell hard and fast for that tiny dog. He became Dave's friend. Dave's dog! I'd catch Dave talking to him when he thought no one was listening. He followed Dave everywhere he went. Until last week. Last week Little Man wouldn't come when we called him. He was no where to be found. I thought someone had stolen him. I searched till bedtime but couldn't find him anywhere.Dave found him the next day out near the trash cans curled up in a ball. At first he said he thought, (I feel hoped is a better word for here), that Little Man was asleep. He was not asleep. Our tiny dog had died. Our friend was gone.

Dave buried him out where all the others are. Hot dog and Max; Trigger, Boo and Smokey. All our animal friends who enriched our lives. Some for years and some for only short times. We agreed that we will rest for a while. Dave said he didn't want another inside dog right now. I agreed. I washed and cleaned his dishes and toys. I packed everything inside his kennel box and put it away. I had just carried it all out to the shed when Dave called from work. He had found out about some new puppies. They are tiny tea cup Chihuahua's just like Little Man. I reminded him that we are resting.We are he agreed. He just thought we should know where we can get one. Just in case he said. I figure that we will rest about five more weeks. By then the babies will be old enough to take from their mama and we will have rested from having an inside dog for about as long as we can. We are animal lovers. We are dog people.

Not everyone is an animal lover. If you aren't then admit it and don't have pets. There is no shame in not being an animal lover as long as you don't harm them. If you love animals but can't keep one, there are plenty out there in shelters who are looking for homes but need to eat Every day! Help them if you can. Remember to help control the strays by having your pets spayed or neutered if you can't or don't want to raise puppies. Train your animal to be a part of your family But never forget that they are an animal. Love them, Laugh at them, and enjoy them for how ever long they remain with you. We are resting, But only for a few weeks. We can't help it. We are Dog people! Be kind to animals! Have a wonderful Doggy Day!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You, there have been a couple times in your life when you might as well have owned a zoo! I remember being young and going to that loft apartment house you live in - the one that was upstairs on Galilee and you having all those fish tanks. Seemed like they were wall to wall! I liked the fish but I couldn't sleep there because the pumps in those tanks kept me up ALL night long! But the horses I remember best. I remember Uncle Gaylon putting the saddle on wrong and me falling up underneath the horse. And I remember you walking beside teaching me to ride bare back because I wouldn't get on another saddle. I remember you yelling at Uncle Gaylon for not doing it right and scaring me death. You said I'd be scared of saddles for the rest of my life and that he he ruined me for the whole ordeal. I still ride bareback. I've not ridden a saddled horse since. Nor a bridled one if I can get away with it!