Hadn’t been back to Sycamore Springs for 3 years so Eric and I decided to take a little trip and hike around the park.
For the past couple of months, I’ve had a regular visitor. I don’t know his name or where he’s from. The first time I saw him, he was pilfering the bread I’d thrown out to the birds and chipmunks. I walked out on the porch and he hastily began to exit stage left. I called out for him to come and visit me for a while. I guess he wasn’t used to being invited for a chat. He came to me in a friendly, but wary manner, expecting any second to be scolded and told to get.
When he got closer I realized how thin he was. From the top looking down he looked like a razor blade. After petting him and having a nice little chat, I decided he needed something a little more substantial than bread. I ask him to stay for lunch and went into the house to get a bowl of Bernie’s food. When I returned he’d trotted up the road, assuming the visit was over. When I called to him, he immediately turned and ran back. I was a little surprised such a debilitated fella could run that fast. I asked if he could sit while I served his lunch. I didn’t think he would, but I hoped because I didn’t want him taking my hand off as I sat the bowl down.
He immediately plopped his bottom on the ground and waited politely to be served. After eating, he went his way and I went mine. I assumed he’d been dropped off in the neighborhood by someone unable or unwilling to care for him. He had no collar or tag. Since that day he has has been a pretty regular visitor and since eating more often, he no longer looks as though he could keel over any second, but he’s still pitifully thin. Bernie always enjoys his visits as much as I do. Sometimes he comes up at night and lays on the porch with me while I do my stargazing. I noticed a new accessory the other day when he came. He was wearing a collar. Obviously he does belong to someone. Someone who puts a collar on him, but can’t be bothered to throw him a few scraps of food. I was so annoyed, if I knew who they were I’d have marched up to their house and asked them WTF. I’m still aggravated about it. I took his picture today and he sat very nicely for my amateur photography efforts. Such a nice guy. Look at those sad eyes. If he was yours, could you look into that sad face and not at least feed him? I also added a picture of Bernie so he wouldn’t get upset. And don’t look at my ugly porch floor, I’m still working on scraping all the old paint off.
Some of you may remember my puppy, Max. He had an eye problem, which I’d been assured when I’d adopted him was nothing. Well, shortly after I’d posted about him, I took him to the vet and discovered his health problems were not only worse than I’d been told, but would be ongoing for his entire life. Since I’d been given a health guarantee, I went back to them and presented the vet report. I thought they’d agree to share at least the initial expense and let me keep him. But no, they were not willing to do even that. All they’d do was take him back. I’d just gone through all this last year with my other little dog, who eventually passed away from her illness. and the year before that, I’d lost my elderly boxer I’d had for many years. With the year I’ve had, this was just too much. I told my husband I was leaving the decision up to him. He returned Max. That was it for me. I decided not to look at anymore dogs and convinced myself I didn’t want another one ever.
Famous last words. A week ago my husband called me from work and said he’d found a dog he wanted at a shelter about fifty miles away. The shelter wasn’t officially open for adoptions until noon and my hubby had appointments all day and could not return when the shelter opened. He wanted me to go check out the dog. This is something I really didn’t want to do, but I love my honey, so my friend, my son and I went. When we arrived, they said his name was Bernie and he was a three year old boxer mix they’d picked up as a starving stray. They didn’t think he was housebroke or had ever lived in a house and did not walk on leash very well. That didn’t bother me, I used to train dogs. Then they told me about his leg. He has a problem with his front leg. Their vet said he thought he was either born that way or it’s an old injury and although he favors it slightly, it doesn’t bother him. I thought, oh great, here we go again.
We met Bernie in an outside lot where he could run free. He came up to my friend first and she started to pet him. He promptly peed on her foot. Not a good beginning. 🙂 The young man who brought him out gave him a toy and he went nuts. No way were you going to get that toy from him. For such a skinny debilitated dog, he was strong as a horse and stubborn as an ox. To be honest, I didn’t like Bernie much. I called my husband and asked him if wanted the dog. He said yes, and sounded excited like a little kid when offered a new toy. When I told him I didn’t think Bernie was the dog for me, his voice deflated, but he said okay. Well then I felt horrible, like I’d just snatched the toy from that kid. I hung up and went to spend more time with Bernie. I told myself he was just misunderstood and was really a great guy. I did the paperwork, they called my references and I brought Bernie home. He rode like a gentleman in the car. No problems at all.
Bernie has proved me right. He is a great guy. He is housebroke and has very nice house manners. Doesn’t get on the furniture, doesn’t bark all the time and greets all visitors with friendly affection. He also walks on the leash very nicely. He still does have a pee accident when greeted too exuberantly. But even that is getting much better as he becomes more comfortable in his new home. I will have my vet do an ex-ray of his leg, but regardless of that outcome, Bernie is here to stay. I love this guy.
Here’s some pictures of Bernie. He’s putting on some much needed weight and looking a bit more fit.
It’s raining this morning and I’m a little cranky. I’ve been an insomniac for most of my life, but for the past few years I’ve been trying to get no less than six hours sleep a night. It works pretty well except when my hubby has to get up before 5:00 AM for an early appointment. He’s considerate enough not to wake me, but my cat isn’t. CB knows he’s not allowed on my bed or my sofa because of my pet allergies and he abides by these rules. But when my hubby is up early, he seems to think it’s time for me to get up too. He has this habit of touching his nose to mine to wake me, as he did this morning. But crankiness aside, We had the most beautiful sunrise yesterday morning. Thought I’d share it with you. As usual, you can click the image for larger versions.
When I first got Max, the cat would have nothing to do with him. Lately they’ve begun to have wrestling matches. As these pictures show, the clear winner is always the cat. I think this may change as Max gets bigger. CB may have to relinquish his title. Sorry the pictures are blurry and pixellated, but these guys were rolling around so fast, it was hard to get focused.
Is there anything sweeter than a new puppy? Yes, a puppy that’s housetrained. 🙂 I think that’s why I’m partial to cats. I found CB, my cat, as a kitten and when I filled his litter box, voila–he was instantly housetrained. Nice. But back to Max. We named him Maximo Daegan. Maximo because we like it and Daegan because it’s Irish for black haired. But to us, he’s just Max. He’s an eight week old black and tan mini dachshund. A tiny little bundle of trouble.
He tortures CB everytime my back is turned even though he knows he’s not supposed to. I’m really surprised the cat tolerates it. Being nipped at by that little bundle of energy cannot be pleasant.We’d not had very good luck with pets in recent years. After we lost Charlie, our boxer, we decided no more dogs. It was just too hard. But after a little while we tried again with a rescue snoodle whose previous owners had dumped at a kill shelter. Unfortunately unknown to us at the time, Sophie had liver cancer and eventually had to be put to sleep. I swore never again, but I’d not been without a canine companion since I was a kid and things just didn’t seem right without one. So after two years, I began to check the shelters and recues for the right dog for our family. I found several, but some were not cat friendly or dog friendly and a few didn’t even like people. I did find four that seemed perfect, but were adopted the day or day after I visited them.
Then I found Max. All his simblings had already found homes, but Max had an eye injury, which is probably why he was still available. I couldn’t resist him and his eye is supposed to heal without any problems. We’ll have to wait and see on that. So although I had not wanted a puppy to mess with training. That’s what I got and I adore him.
Unlike most of my family, I’ve always been an animal lover. We traveled a lot for most of my childhood, so we never had any pets. That is until one of my older brothers fell in love with a Midwestern beauty and Dad decided to buy a farm, giving my brother a chance to stick around and court his new love. They eventually married, but that’s another story.
Once established on this large farm, Dad adopted a stray dog, a big, yellow male he named Ring because of a distinctive darker ring around his neck. Not long after, a large tomcat sauntered into the barnyard and Dad adopted him as well. Voila! We had pets, only the first of many we’d have over the years.
Mom never liked animals in the house and she didn’t have to worry about Dad, as he abided by her wishes and kept them in the barn. My siblings weren’t a problem either, as they weren’t particularly fond of any kind of pet. I, on the other hand, was quite a trial. I’d bring home not only everything I could catch, but also any critter injured on the road. They’d end up in a box in my bedroom where I’d nurse them back to health. This included many snakes, lizards, birds, kittens, puppies…you name it. Mom threatened to throw me out of the house once if I didn’t get rid of the healthy green snake I’d been keeping as a pet. I loved my Mom, so I returned it to the woods where it belonged.
I believe Dad may have liked animals almost as much as I do, even though he pretended otherwise. His excuse for having cats was to rid the barn of mice. And he only had dogs to protect the property. Yeah, right. I think he especially had a fondness for cats because every time winter temps would fall below freezing, he’d bring Tom into the kitchen. Tom was that very first cat Dad had adopted. Mom wasn’t crazy about having the cat in the kitchen, but she was kind hearted and didn’t want the cat to freeze. Unfortunately one winter night the temps fell well below zero and when Dad went to get Tom, he was no where to be found. Every hour on the hour Dad would go out and look for him.
About three in the morning he finally found him. Frozen stiff. He came into the kitchen with Tom in his arms. It was the saddest thing I’d ever seen. The cat was rock hard. Dad lined a cardboard box with soft rags and put Tom in. Then he set the box on top of the large wood stove in the kitchen and built a small fire. I was horrified, thinking he meant to throw the cat into the fire. He didn’t. He just left the box setting on the stove. Mom asked him why he’d brought the dead cat in the house and he answered, “I have hope.”
At the time I hadn’t a clue what he meant, but understood later as Tom sat on the floor lapping warm gravy–gravy that Mom had given him in one of her best dishes. Maybe Mom didn’t dislike cats as much as I’d thought. Old Tom had a very long life or maybe it was two lives.
I still love cats, but hadn’t had one for many years. Recently someone dropped a half grown Havana Brown near my house. After watching him for a week or so and realizing he was starving, I brought him in the house and adopted him or he adopted me…something like that. He’s a little sleepy here with his large, green eyes half closed, but beautiful, huh?
We live close to the elementary school and a few years ago the school put in a walking path along the creek bank with lovely gardens to enjoy along the way. When the path leaves the school yard and gets closer to our home, it meanders through some grassy areas with large trees on one side, the creek on the other. The other evening I was walking our new fur baby when I smelled the loveliest scent, one I didn’t recognise. I finally spotted the vine crawling along the creek bank and hanging in clusters from the trees. Click image for a closer look.
I’d never seen this particular flowering vine before. It had delicate white blooms and I thought it might be Star Jasmine. I didn’t have my camera, but went back the next day and took some pictures. After doing some online research and comparing the pictures with my own, I realized I was wrong. It wasn’t Star Jasmine. It was Sweet Autumn Clematis. It isn’t native to this area, so I don’t know how it got here, but it makes walking that path this time of year even more of a pleasure than usual.