Mom Column: #52

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"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!" - Thursday, June 4, 2009

Now, if I were Julie Andrews I would be singing along, but seeing as how I’m not Julie Andrews, and I can’t sing to save my life, I’ll just tell you about a few of my favorite things…my top three, to be specific.

Anyone who really knows me could easily guess these, but in case you aren’t that familiar with my likes and dislikes, I will reveal them now.  (In no particular order)… Books, chocolate and dogs!  I LOVE books and love reading/listening to them on audio, but I fear it would bore everyone for me to list my favorite books of all time or my favorite authors.  Chocolate kind of speaks for itself, what can you say except that it tastes damned good and I could eat it any time of the day or night.  But dogs…now there I could go on and on, which I will!

I can’t remember ever not having a dog, from the time I was a toddler living on a farm near Doland, SD where my dad had two…a black lab type named Prunella and a collie named Shep.  I can still remember being about 3 and playing outside when my older brothers assured me that Shep wouldn’t mind at all if I climbed up on his back and rode around on him.  (I hadn’t yet learned not to listen to anything they told me) and old Shep whirled around, snarling at me when I tried climbing aboard.  A few years later we moved into town and acquired a beagle mix who we named Kelly after Kelly Miles, the girl whose dog was the mother.  Kelly had several batches of puppies before being spayed and lived many years, even making the move to Carpenter in 1976.  She must have been about 16 when she finally headed for that doghouse in the sky. 

After Dick and I were married we lived on his parent’s farm where they had a nice old collie named Maggie.  When she was younger, someone had driven by and shot at her, right here in the yard, hitting her lower jaw and deforming it, but she lived and was still around when Ryan was born.  We had to have her put to sleep, though, as she started snapping at him.  About that same time I had gone to Huron for something and went into the pet store, just to look.  I came out with a tiny, adorable little puppy, not knowing how in the hell I’d justify my purchase to my husband, but then remembered that his birthday was the following day, so problem solved!  The puppy would be his gift!  She was so small that I could easily fit her into my coat pocket, then tied a ribbon around her neck and there was no possible way on earth that he could be angry…we never did come up with a good name for this dog, so for the rest of her life she was just Puppy.  Puppy Louise if you want to get technical.  We had no kids yet, so she was my baby and went everywhere with me and worshipped me.  The first day that we brought Ryan home from the hospital, Puppy trotted over to check him out, then bared her teeth and growled…Dick kicked her into the air and she flew across the room, hit the wall and fell into a beanbag chair.  It may sound cruel, but she never bothered him again!  A particularly favorite story about Puppy Louise:  She was a barker (being a Chihuahua terrier) and got all riled up if someone knocked on the door so it was always fun to tease her.   When we first moved over to the old farmhouse I had the great idea to strip and refinish the cupboards in the kitchen which led to months of mess.  Our kitchen was nearly unusable with stripping formula, cupboards hanging, paint peeling off the ceiling, etc…you get the idea.  Anyway, Puppy and I were home alone and out of nowhere, she jumped up and started barking.  Nobody was at the door, so I decided to tease her by knocking on the wall and hollering “Come in” which really got her fired up.  She was in killer mode, so I egged her on saying “sic ‘em girl…go get ‘em” and continued knocking on the wall.  It was hilarious watching her snarling and growling, barking and throwing a fit.  Suddenly, something caught my eye and I turned around only to see that there really WAS someone at the door…and she was looking in the window at me like I was insane!  After apologizing to her and calming down the dog, I had to listen to her spiel on a multi-purpose cleanser she was selling.  I’m sure she looked through the window and saw the mess and thought “Ka-Ching!!!” and was willing to brave the vicious dog to make a sale.  I didn’t buy any though.

As on any farm, many dogs have come and gone throughout the years, some lasting only briefly, especially if they were car chasers, some living a good, long life.  Here are the names I can recall…Puppy Louise, Barkely I, Barkely II, (both were run over)…Freckles (a Dalmatian that we inherited after Cousin Katie moved away), Chocolate, Simba Sue (my beloved Sheltie of many years) Jake, Cooper, and Brandy.  Jake and Cooper were also Shelties that I was crazy about, but again, cars and disease took them long before their time. 

Simba had been my close companion since 1994…she had 3 litters of puppies over the years which were a blast, but the last year or two her eyesight and hearing were pretty poor.  Over Thanksgiving weekend she died, and our golden retriever, Brandy, seemed to be heartbroken.  For nearly ten years she and Simba had played, eaten and slept together and she had never been the lone dog on the farm.  Brandy pretty much holed herself up under the stairs in our garage and would rarely come out.  She had lost her friendly, playful nature and I was convinced she was depressed.  I considered getting a new puppy, but was afraid that Brandy would be mean to it, so put it off for awhile, but one day not long ago, I was listening to a radio call-in show where people can advertise anything and heard a caller with a 3 month old chocolate lab for sale.  Later that day, I arrived home with that puppy in my backseat and introduced him to Brandy.  It wasn’t love at first site, she gave him the cold shoulder for a day or two, but now they are best friends!  Brandy is back to playing and running around and has gotten her spirit back, thanks to little Buster, our newest addition.  He is growing like a moose gives her a real run for her money playing tug of war with a slipper they found in the garage.  They love to go out into the pasture and bring back huge clods of afterbirth to munch on…they chase the cats, dig up my flowers, rip the trash open, track mud all over the deck and jump up on my clean clothes…in other words, I love them!!! 

Here are some pictures that Jordan took the last time she was home, but he has already grown a lot since these were taken.  Aren’t they sweet???!!!

Buster Buster & Brandy
Buster Buster
Brandy Buster