Pamwla Wetterman

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Salute to Our Veterans

Bill and I spent the past week in Branson attending their annual Veterans conference. Our goal –to sell His novels, Room 1515 and The Fifth Step. Our result—humbling.

The veterans we encountered served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and the Afghanistan wars. The common thread binding these fine men and women together shone brightly. Heads held high, eyes searching for former war buddies; they openly shared war experiences with fellow comrades with pride. The greatest compliment of veterans in attendance served in Vietnam.

With outstretched hands, we greeted those that passed by our booth. They gazed intently at the WWII picture album we shared. Viewing pictures taken by Bill’s father as he marched across France and Germany, sparked comments and memories of a time now past. Past to most Americans, but not forgotten by our Veterans.

We soon absorbed the emotional impact of their sacrifice. Many of these warriors’ eyes moistened as they retold their stories. They voiced the pain of returning home to dishonor because the American people were against the war in Vietnam. Unable to find employment, many lost the very family they fought to defend. Several voiced stories of losing fathers, brothers, sisters, and best friends. Clearly, the war experience remained a presence in their lives even today.

One wife shared that her husband had been a vile man upon his return from Vietnam. He often expressed rage instead of understanding when dealing with family issues and child discipline. He remained distant and unloving until 9/11. The attack on his nation erupted feelings he had tried to bury for over forty years. He experienced a severe flashback and retreated to his closet with a knife and deep depression. Finally admitting to the pain, he sought help through the VA and is whole at last.

Another vet spoke of his need to return to Branson annually to experience the gratitude for his service. Recognition not received upon his return from war.

Attendees shared stories of parents unable to speak of experiences while serving overseas. They owned shoeboxes full of pictures found in the attic with no way of knowing the story behind the Brownie camera shots.

A woman in her sixties recorded her father’s memories while on his death bed.  For the first time during her life, he shared his past. At the age of seventeen, and the eldest son of a Catholic family in Poland, he was forced into service with the German army. He witnessed atrocities against the Jews. He spent six years as a prisoner of war. Finally free, he sought admission to the United Sates where he built a life, started a family, and found peace. The daughter is writing his memoir. She beamed with pride.

We must never forget our Veterans. Please give a heart filled thanks to a vet today.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Magic Words

Labrador Retrievers are among one of the more intelligent dog breeds. Their vocabulary often extends over two hundred words. They generally understand short phrases. Bailey, our wonderful black lab, cherished several words that generated immediate response. Her favorite word, Squirrel, sent her jumping and barking at the back door. This behavior continued until she raced from the house into the yard. All the while, barking and searching for that darn squirrel.

Her second favorite word, Porch, also caused her to jump, bark, and race to the back door. This key word was the command to join me on the back porch. How she loved to have her pack leader sitting on the screened in porch. She reclined in her constant position –at my feet protecting me from all those darn squirrels.

Her favorite phrase, Time for a Walk, sent her racing to the utility room where her leash hung from a hook. She never passed up a trip to the neighborhood pond. The geese spent their days, both summer and winter, by the fish pond. Although Bailey hadn’t been trained to hunt, her instincts were strong. Both her parents were field labs; her baby book has pictures of her daddy with a fowl in his month. I swear he is smiling. She recognized her prey and stood in perfect pointer form with her tail flagged high. What a thrill for her to experience her genetic imprint.

Barkleah, being a foxy Toy Fox Terrier, learned many of the key words as well. He modeled his behavior after Bailey. But being an Alpha dog, he soon demonstrated his ability to take over command. His tactic was ingenious. He would race to find me. Then he stood on his two back legs and placed his two front paws on my knee. He stared with those coal black eyes and would not move. After several seconds, I would put him on the floor and return to my activity. He repeated his stance and stare routine until I stopped whatever I was doing and said, “Show me.”

With Barkleah in the lead, he hopped around the room, raced to the kitchen, wandered towards the bedroom all the while making sure I was still in tow. Finally, once he had total control, he raced towards the utility room and sat next to the hanging dog leash. Mission accomplished. He seemed to smile as I asked, “Do you want to go for a walk?”

Of course, the response was affirmative. Bailey stood behind Barkleah and seemed to whisper, “Good job, kid.”
When did I lose my position as pack leader?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wishing For A White Christmas

The weathermen were predicting a record snow for Christmas Eve, 2010. Since their record of accuracy was questionable, I planned our family gathering and smiled. How nice it would be to have a white Christmas.

With dinner in the oven, the stockings hung on the fireplace, and gifts laden the floor around our Christmas tree, the Wetterman clan gathered for the Christmas Eve service at church. The temperatures had dropped and tiny snowflakes fell. The festive air touched our celebration.

After dinner had been devoured, time arrived to open gifts. With friends and family gathered around the tree, and the ritual of passing out gifts began. As the evening transformed into night, and our guests were packing up to go home, we checked the snowfall. To our surprise, a foot of snow had fallen during our festivities. By morning, we had over twenty-four inches of snow,with snow drifts up to three feet in our backyard. Bailey, being a lab, loved the snow. No level of snowbanks would daunt her. However, Barkleah, the one who hates water, had never seen snow before and could not be persuaded  to go outside for any reason.

Open up that door, we need to go OUT.
Bailey ventured out the door, plowing a path as she explored the yard. Her flagged tail remained above the white powder, but she was hidden in the deep snow. She created tunnels and pathways from the door, across the backyard, and around the fenced perimeter. Barkleah hid and watched from the warmth of the window. Finally, no longer able to fight his physical requirements, Barkleah agreed to step outside. He hopped like a bunny towards the tunnels Bailey had created. Feeling secure, he ventured away from the tunnel and disappeared quickly. After his rescue, he remained on the path generated by the lab snowplow.

For the next several days, Bailey romped and rolled in the snow, while Barkleah remained  content to recline on his dog bed in front of the fireplace. The paths through the blizzard remained for Barkleah to explore as he desired. Bailey continued to create new pathways in the white maze. 

It was a beautiful white Christmas.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Barkleah James, the Wetterman Clown

Animal Planet had it right when they featured the Toy Fox Terrier breed. They are often referred to as the clown. Two things they don’t like—water and small children. We soon learned that Barkleah’s fear of kids and water was a natural self-preservation defense for very small dogs.

Barkleah joined our family pet collection the Christmas of 2006. Our son, Jeff, living in a condo, missed having a dog. After a great deal of research into small dogs that thrive indoors, his number one choice was a Toy Fox Terrier.
The first time we met Barkleah he weighed less than four pounds and spent most of his time in a cuddle sack nestled inside our son’s shirt where he felt safe next to Jeff’s beating heart. Having had experience with Golden Retrievers and Labs, Barkleah appeared more like an ant than a puppy. When he bounced around the room in play, my greatest fear was stepping on him, and he would be NO MORE.

Barkleah gained immediate acceptance from our tender hearted Bailey. Although she wasn’t sure what he was, she knew he was a Wetterman. 
As time went on, Bailey worked hard to teach Barkleah how to watch for trouble out the front windows, bark continuously at the threat, and then tramp off to catch a nap. She worked with him on his sanitary training and soon had him mirroring her trips outside. Unfortunately, Barkleah never picked up on the required bark by the door to get human assistance. He patiently stood at the door waiting for someone to notice. Oops!
If it was raining, forget any trips by Barkleah, he knew when it was wet outside.
While Bailey slept on the patio in shade, Barkleah found warm, sunny spots to bake. As Bailey romped in the grass, surveying her fenced in yard, Barkleah gingerly hopped like a bunny rabbit to keep the grass off his feet as much as possible. The two were as different as water and land.
They both loved shopping at the pet store. Bailey hunted small children to receive pets and strokes on her head, while Barkleah growled as kids approached.
We had the opportunity to have Barkleah move in with us when our son took a position with the U. S. State Department and moved to Romania for a year. Bailey was thrilled. She loved his company and the two were like Mutt and Jeff.
Having Barkleah with us full time, we soon noticed he had many cat-like behaviors. He lay atop the back of any chair or sofa in the sun. This was his position for bathing. Daily, he licked his paws to wash his face along with Carlos, the cat.  He slept buried in blankets atop our bed or on the couch in my office. When I threw a pile of sheets on the bed to fold, he crawled inside the warmth for a long nap—folding had to wait.  He curled up in the armchair in Bill’s office for napping. Not only was he sweet and cuddly, but he required continuous companionship.
By the time our son returned from his job in Romania, Barkleah was settled in with us and our routine. How would we survive with him moving back to the condo? Of course, like any civilized family, we drew up a custody plan and shared Barkleah Three nights with his daddy, and four with his grandparents—not perfect, but it was worth it. Bailey no longer had to be an only dog pet.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Carlos Is Back
Our home is often a sanctuary for the pets of family and friends.  Naturally, we attempt to match up the visiting guests to be compatible with our personal doggies. However, at times we have ventured out of our comfort zone, introduced natural enemies, and enjoyed humorous results. 
One Sunday evening we received an emergency call from our eldest grandson. He had recently moved to Colorado Springs and faced an emergency situation. He had moved to Colorado at the same time the wild fires were consuming homes and forests this summer. He needed a safe habitat for his Maine Coon cat, Carlos. All the animal shelters were full and Carlos was ill from the smoke.
Plans were made to meet our grandson halfway between Tulsa and Colorado Springs. We traveled with Barkleah, our Toy Fox Terrier, and made the drop sight within five hours. Carlos was gingerly placed in my arms and we turned the car around and headed for home.
Barkleah, nestled in my lap, looked up, gave Carlos a deep threatening growl as if to say, “This is my Mommy—you find another lap.” Carlos, a sweet, laid-back kitty, meowed as if he understood and settled down on the side of my seat and fell asleep. An hour later, Carlos climbed up on my shoulders, wrapped himself around my neck, and fell asleep. He rode there the rest of our travels—what a long tiring trip.
Once home, we held our breath as Carlos and Barkleah staked out their territory. Barkleah weighed only one-half pound less than Carlos. But Senior Carlos appeared much larger. His full face, long thick fur, and huge paws gave him a powerful presence. The two ignored each other for the rest of the day.
That evening, Carlos slept on the bench in our bedroom and Barkleah remained captain of the king-sized bed. The next morning, Barkleah and Carlos discovered that they both loved to play with little jingly cat balls. Barkleah, not one to share, raced and grabbed every ball Carlos chased and hid it under the bed in our master bedroom. Not to be out done, Carlos attacked the squeaky mouse and tugged on the tail. Naturally, Barklean intervened. Soon the mouse had been hidden under the couch.
Carlos, finally ready for a challenge, stood nose to nose with Barkleah and the two jumped around in a circle, never breaking their eye contact. Once they had completed a full circle, Carlos placed his huge paws on Barkleah’s shoulders and rose up on his back feet. Barkleah responded in kind. They fought like two sumo wrestlers. We watched in amazement. Barkleah had a new friend.
Carlos gave us a few moments of concern during his stay. He loved to sleep in hideaway places and if you called him, he remained silent. If a closet or cupboard door was left open, he soon found a place to sleep. His powerful back legs allow him to jump onto a shelf and disappear.

What a gift Carlos gave us with his sweet purrs, his loving meows, and his playful nature. He has returned home to live with his beloved owner. We miss him a great deal. Maybe he will come for a visit for Christmas.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How I Spent My Summer
A few years ago, Bailey helped me create a memory book for our houseguest. His name was Boomer—short for Boomer Sooner. Those of you who live in our part of the country know the connection to University of Oklahoma football.
His owner traveled and worked in Russia for seven weeks. Boomer came to live with us while she traveled. Boomer, a mix of Boston Bull Terrier and Beagle, had the appearance and shape of a Bull Dog. As his owner often said, “He is so ugly he’s cute.”

Boomer, a gift from the pound, appreciated living in a loving home that cared for their pets. He embraced Bailey as if she were his long lost sister. Bailey accepted his presence and began to show him the ropes.

Boomer had never experienced the freedom of a doggie-door. Being low to the ground and slow to grasp new ideas, he attempted and failed to maneuver through the door. Boomer had a record of attempted breakouts at his home. He desperately wanted to understand the concept of using his head to open the flap and jump fearlessly through the pening
Bailey patiently worked with Boomer for a few days and finally he found success. His poor belly dragged on the opening, but he was free to roam in the yard. He never did grasp the re-entry process back into the house.

Our morning routine included a few oddities. Bailey greeted me as I stepped out of the shower to lick the clean water from my feet. Yes, that’s crazy but she loved to do it, and I always spoil my doggies. Boomer watched for a couple of days and then joined in. Yuck! Oh well, I wanted him to feel at home.

Our next morning chore was flossing teeth. I sang the famous flossing song, “Flossy, flossy, clean your little toothy” as Bailey sat in approval with her sparkling clean teeth. Boomer, of course, wanted his time in the sun too. He didn’t seem to learn the song, but he liked the attention.

In keeping with on-going socialization, we traveled to our nearest pet store weekly. Bailey, shopping for her newest squeaky toy, and soaking up the attention of all shoppers, looked forward to the trips. Boomer had not shopped before his summer with us. He turned out to be the celebrity of the trips. Everyone who passed us stopped to inquire, “Gee, he is so cute. What kind of dog is he?”

Bailey soon noticed that she was no longer the focus of attention. Not to be forgotten, she attacked her second goal— to get the cookie as we checked out. She was tall enough to stand, put her paws on the counter, and beg like a professional. It always worked.  Boomer also got a treat. No one could ignore his sweet face.

As we spent the summer, I took pictures of Boomer daily. He became part of our family. Being a scrap-booker, I put together a memory book for his owner and present it to her when she returned from Russia. Unknown to us all, that was Boomer’s last summer. The memory book still makes us laugh and remember our sweet Boomer boy.

Take every day as a gift and celebrate life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bailey and Her Special Friends
Being a very gracious hostess, Bailey often welcomed other dogs to stay over for a few days or weeks. These guests were pets of vacationing friends. Socialized with other dogs at an early age, Bailey welcomed her new friends. Our guests settled into the Wetterman Bed And Breakfast with ease.
One of her friends, Hawkeye Tanya, was a successful retired Greyhound. Her racing career records first place winnings over two-hundred thousand dollars. She retired at the age of seven. The Greyhound Rescue of Oklahoma placed her in her forever home with a close friend of ours.
Tanya, accustomed to fine food, human handling, and winning races held high expectations for her accommodations. As if purchasing a new bedroom mattress set, she carefully tested each of the doggie beds in our home. Once she selected the perfect one, she stretched out to relax on Bailey’s bed. Tanya, an alpha dog, chose to ignore Bailey when she suggested that her bed was not open for others. Once Bailey understood that Tanya was a racing queen, she submitted and elected another sleeping spot.
At meal time, Tanya was accustomed to being fed first. The bowls of dog food were offered in rank order. Bailey, one to desire a little more to eat, watched Tanya intently. Having wolfed down her own meal, she experienced a long wait as Tanya nibbled at her food, as if she gained pleasure from Bailey’s situation. With her meal completed, she returned to Bailey’s bed, gave a stern warning glare, and fell into a sound sleep.
Tanya towered a full ten inches above Bailey’s head and her svelte body was twenty pounds lighter. The first time the two adventurers entered our backyard, Tanya challenged Bailey to a race. The two flew across our open yard, and we watched as Tanya and Bailey raced neck-to-neck. Tanya, closing into Bailey, leaned over and gave her a nip. Bailey, no one’s fool, slowed and gave her aggressor the lead. Bailey, a sprinter, would have lost the race anyway, but now she had a war-story to tell.
Once Tanya laid out the rules, she and Bailey played, ran, and napped as if they were born in the same litter. Beta dogs know their place.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Have You Ever Studied Squirrels?
In the past thirteen years, Bailey developed a wonderful knowledge about neighborhood squirrels. She spent hours every day sitting on the backyard patio, waiting, watching, and of course, napping. Once Barkleah became a fulltime resident at our abode, he acquired a taste for squirrel-hunting as well.I
If we wanted excitement, all we had to do was yell out, “Squirrel.” Their immediate response was to jump, bark, and race to the backdoor. As we continued their squirrel-call, they chased each other in a tight circle around the kitchen until the door opened. Once freed from the prison of the house, they raced across the yard, searching for the enemy.
Squirrels, especially female ones, are described as highly intelligent and gifted tormentors. We were fortunate to have several who lived in the mature elm trees in our backyard. The resident pests would skillfully swing from branch to branch, slowly moving from tree to tree. They chattered continuously to attract Bailey and Barkleah. The destination—the top rail of our split-rail fence. There the squirrels swung, upside down, as if to say, “Catch me if you can.”
Naturally, the gullible dogs accepted the challenge. As they raced towards the fence, their barking grew louder. The squirrel would hang upside down, just out of their reach, her teasing voice sharper. She was the most amazing creature hanging from the bird feeder. Her tail, full and fluffy, and colored a deep red and brown. 
We respectfully named our prize tormentor Fluffy. She became a daily visitor. Her main goal was to tease our poor puppies. Her secondary goal was to collect nuts for her winter residence.
They barked as she hung upside down on the metal hook that held the birdfeeder, both hands in the bird seed. She completed her meal, ignoring the dogs trembling below. She casually climbed down from the feeder and challenged the puppies to a sprint across the yard. Of course, both dogs were game. Fluffy reached her home tree and climbed into the branches leaving the dogs jumping at the trunk. 
The dogs failed to protect the custom Cardinal and Bluebird mix. Therefore, we installed a Squirrel baffle. Fluffy upped the stakes and overcame it easily. Preferring gourmet seed, she refused the squirrel-food put out for her.  

Fluffy moved into our attic for the winter. After contacting a professional Squirrel hunter, we grew disillusioned. By law, the squirrel was a protected species. The only action allowed—seal the hole in our house and hope she was not inside at the time. Now it was all out war 

After contacting several experts, my crafty grandson installed peanut butter into a two ended cage. This cage was placed on the roof in a path to the hole made by the squirrel. In just one hour, Fluffy was happily eating peanut butter in the cage and we were traveling to a beautiful park four miles from our home. What a win - win for us all. The dogs could rest from the teasing, I could get back to working on my novel, and Fluffy would be living in a new resort with many other beautiful squirrels. We patched our roof where she’d entered. 

Within one short week, familiar sounds came from my roof. Yes, Fluffy was back. We reached a truce. She could have the gourmet bird seed and a nest in the trees. She could tease Bailey and Barkleah; it was good exercise. We have learned to live in peace With Fluffy, the master Squirrel.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Bailey greeted her nephew with a passive-aggressive glance, as her tail dropped between her back legs. Just who was this little tiny pooch? He couldn’t weigh more than four pounds, and his bark produced a mere squeak.

Bailey had no privy to our plans. Barkleah had come to stay with us for the next twelve months. Our son, Jeff, had accepted a position with the U.S. State Department, and Jeff’s assignment required residence in Romania. His Toy Fox Terrier, Barkleah was moving in.

Bailey had been an only pet for seven years. She lapped up all of our attention, demanded frequent treats, and tugged on walks around the block daily. Being a beautiful, outgoing eighty-four pound puppy, she soaked up the attention and petting everywhere she went. She had never shared her toys, her Kong, or her mommy.

We witnessed Bailey’s interactions with Barkleah. She demonstrated no mothering instincts.  At first she expressed some jealousy, but more frequently she ignored little Barkleah. That is, until she discovered his value. Barkleah developed influence with those of us controlling the food, walks, and play. His requests created action from the big people, and the two comrades in arms became invincible.

At first, I missed all the cues. Around meal time, Bailey sat off to the side, resting. Barkleah jumped up on my lap, wiggled his small body, and rolled his forehead against mine. Or if I were standing, he’d raise himself up on his back legs, rest his front paws against my shin, and wag his tail as if smiling. Of course, I melted into his plan and asked, “Are you hungry?” This question resulted in Barkleah dashing off to find one of his toys, pick it up, and toss it into the air. Clearly, he was killing his prey before the meal. I was such a pushover.

One day, as I sat reading my Kindle, Barkleah proceeded to ask for dinner. I peered into his coal black eyes and said, “In a minute. I want to finish reading this page.” As I lowered my head to continue reading, I saw Barkleah glanced over towards Bailey. She raised her line of sight to meet his and stared. Barkleah quickly returned to begging for his dinner. He increased the tempo of his forehead rolling against mine, and he began to make soft guttural sounds as if desperate for food.

“Did Bailey send you over here to get me to prepare your dinner?”

When I uttered the word dinner, he jumped off my lap and raced over to sit next to Bailey. The two were working together for a common good—their own. It was if they spoke to each other without words.

Once aware of their ability to mind meld, I increased my observation. They had defined roles in our family. Barkleah was the watch dog. He knew before Baily did when a dog-walker was approaching. His long bat like ears caught sounds quickly. However, being small, Barkleah needed a partner guard-dog to impress intruders.

Tiny Barkleah attracted kids as we walked daily. But he is fearful of small children. Bailey loves kids and moves in for pets and hubs while Barkleah hides behind my legs.

Bailey’s favorite pastime was to chase squirrels. But she had grown slower as she aged, and she had developed arthritis in her hips. Barkleah raced like a bolt of lightning, treed the squirrel, and held it at bay until Bailey lumbered over to join in the bark-fest.

As you might have guessed, when our son returned from Romania, we agreed to allow Barkleah to remain in our home. However, we set up visitation rights for his daddy Jeff.
Homes with pets are full of love. Science now connects longer life and better health for those of us with pets. So, when our grandson asked us to keep his cat, Carlos for a few months, we agreed. Bill and I will live forever.  How about you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rejection Can Be Kind

In May of this year, I met with a wonderful publisher at the Oklahoma Writers Conference. She requested my completed novel, Butterfly, It’s Time, and promised a response within ninety days.  

This was my first novel, my second pitch, and I was blown away. So many authors never get anyone to look at their work. Others send off the requested fifty pages and wait, but no one bothers to provide them feedback. Here I was being asked for the entire novel, what a thrill.  

At the end of June, my response came. Her words were encouraging, kind, and gentle. A rejection is never fun, but it is part of life. I have learned so much from the process. My next pitch will be better. I now know my novel is NOT a romance, it is Women’s Fiction. I am in the process of starting my second book, Whispers, in the Winds, a sequel to my first. I love my characters and they have more stories to tell.

I choose to believe I will be published one day. Please see the promising words sent to me in my rejection.  

While I love the story, love your writing, I'm afraid the novel is more Women's Fiction than romance and won't fit our guidelines. Your story is deeply ingrained in the marriage and your heroine finding herself, her experiences, etc. 

I so wanted it to work for us, because I truly enjoyed the story. You have a great voice, and your story and writing skills are wonderful.

As I blog about my sweet critters, Bailey, Barkleah, Carlos, and Gracie the Gray Parrot, I will also keep you up dated on my progress as an author. Thank you for your encouragement.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bailey’s Adventures

When Bailey was seven, she attempted to jump over an eighteen inch barrier placed between the kitchen and the newly cleaned carpet in the living room. Although very athletic, she lacked the agility to jump any height, and slammed her elbow into the obstruction. She successfully cleared the jump, but blood streamed from her injury. Needless to say, the clean carpet required almost as much attention as Bailey.

A trip to the veterinarian and four stiches later, we returned home with Bailey prancing around with a newly acquired bonnet. I am sure many of you know the type of headgear she wore. Made of ¼ inch semi clear plastic, resembling an upside down lamp shade, and held in place by the dog collar she wore around her neck. The hat design prevented the wearer from licking wounds or removing stiches. It also worked as a blinder, so walking through doorways became hazardous to her health.

Her sense of distance disoriented, she became frustrated with her bonnet and attempted many means of removal. However, the hat remained in place. At dinner time, Bailey discovered her hat made it difficult to locate her food dish and impossible to eat. Anyone who spent any time with Bailey knew her favorite pastime, other than chasing squirrels, was to eat. Being a very intelligent lab, she managed to modify the shape of the inverted cone hat and devoured her meal.

After slamming into doorways for a few hours, she developed a sixth sense of her environment and safely passed from room to room. Her travels were slowed, but she safely reached her destinations. That same afternoon, my husband, Bill, took her out back to play ball. She had difficulty running to fetch her favorite squeaky white ball and soon lost interest. One can only crash into a tree so many times and then the fun is lost. Bill decided to throw her one last ball, directly towards her feet. He had confidence she would be able to pick it up and then return it to him. Imagine his surprise when she used her inverted lampshade hat to catch the ball as if it were a baseball mitt. She scooped up the ball in her hat and ran over to his feet, sat and waited for him to claim the ball.

By the end of the two weeks required for her elbow to heal and the stiches removed, she had managed to bend, crinkle, and remake her hat. No activity had been too difficult for her to manage. And her sweet mood and wagging tail remained a constant. She embraced life and its challenges with a zest we could all admire.

A few weeks later, Barkleah arrived on the scene. Bailey spent the next few years teaching him and learning from him. Next time, I will begin sharing the lessons we all learned from those two partners in crime.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Southwinds'  Black Beauty

July 15,1999 - June 11,2012

I will continue to share her life with you  in the next few weeks.  She would want you to know her and see the full life she shared with us.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Never Asked For a Barkleah 

Adding a second pet into our home was a big decision. After seven years of being the Queen bee, would our sweet, but spoiled, Lab accept a little brother? She gave us a resounding “No way.”
Here she was, a large eighty–five pound grand lady, used to having all of our attention. Now she shared us with Barkleah, a two pound cuddle-bug, who needed potty training and holding, lots of holding. Did I mention he was a lap dog? Oh, yes.
Soon after Barkleah arrived, Bailey tried to get up on the couch and sit on my lap. Being a little bottom-heavy, this was a feat to view. When she found her ability to get on the couch had vanished, she began to jump up and down in place.  She barked loudly, as if to say, “You get down. These are my people, not yours.”
Poor Barkleah, long ears not yet standing upright, dug deeper into his cuddle sack and napped as if hoping she would give up and go away. Once he disappeared into the sack, Bailey wandered off and flopped onto her dog bed to replenish her energy.
Soon the two siblings appeared to develop a treaty. Bailey watched Barkleah out of the corner of her eye and began to teach him the rules.
·        Rule 1: Mommy is the first to go out any door

·        Rule 2: Bailey is the first dog to go out any door

·        Rule 3:Bailey is fed first

·        Rule 4: Bailey gets treats first  

Once Barkleah was around six months old, he tried to engage Bailey in play. He instinctively knew the play bow and would greet her with excitement. Unfortunately, she had never played with another dog and had no idea what he wanted. So, he learned to play alone or with his people.
His favorite toys were all small and squeaked. He treated his toys as prey. He tossed them into the air and pounced on them as they landed onto the floor. But Bailey soon appeared on the scene to take the toy away from him or bark at him for being so noisy.
Naturally, being a terrier, Barkleah took this behavior as a challenge. He’s quite a tease. So he would squeak his toy, jump around, and upon Bailey’s approach, he’d dive under the bed in our master bedroom and pull the toy close to his chest. He knew Bailey was too large to crawl under the bed. Then the barking began. How he enjoyed watching her frustration. His coal black eyes sparkled.
To this day, teasing Bailey is his favorite pastime. And she has learned how to use his small sweet personality to get what she wants. Stop by next week and get a peek at squirrel-chasing training.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


As Bailey approached seven years of age, her life changed forever.

Not unlike many pet owners, we chose to add a new member to our family. His name is Barkleah James, and his breed, Toy Fox Terrier.

You may ask, Why would one choose such a small dog to live with a bounding Lab?

Good question. Actually a Toy Fox Terrier is a perfect companion for anyone who loves a clown-like personality. They adore their family, prefer to sit in a lap, delight in traveling, and get along with both dogs and cats.

Be aware, the Toy Fox terrier is NOT good with children, hates water, and barks continually at strangers passing by the front window. They will never allow a knock on your door without an alert of an approaching intruder.

Normally, the breed is four to seven pounds. Our Barkleah James arrived the size of a teacup. He now weighs in at twelve plus pounds. Yes, he loves to eat as much as Bailey does. One of many things they have in common.

His arrival was similar to the day I brought my second son home from the hospital. Son number one checked out son number two, sat and held him, cooed at him, giggled and seemed genially excited to meet his brother. However, as our guests began to leave after their visit to greet our newest family member, Son number one stepped to the front door, blocked their exit and remarked, “Don’t forget your baby.”

Barkleah James, tucked in a small cuddle sack, drew Bailey’s interest immediately upon his arrival to our home.  Bailey, well-socialized with dogs all her life, appeared excited to greet the puppy. She soon lost interest in the sleeping guest and ran off to chase a squirrel in the yard.

Once the daily routine of pampering this intruder evidenced, Bailey campaigned with a deafening bark, as if to say—Leave.

Barkleah, not one to shy away from conflict, returned the vocal challenge with his ferocious squeak. He assured her as, an alpha- male, she would never prevail. Within a few days, our beta- girl, Bailey and our alpha male Barkleah, had developed a treaty.

As our alpha-boy grew and matured, Bailey soon realized the power of the pair. She gathered Barkleah under her tutelage and they conspired to run our household. See you next week for the first of many adventures these two partners–in-crime, planned against the adult leaders at the Wetterman homestead.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Where did the time go? 

Sorry I have been AWOL for the past few weeks.  No excuses, but lots of reasons. As you know, my closest friend was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in February. She has experienced many God given miracles and is healing. Her surgeon told her he had never seen anyone do as well as she has done. He was amazed.
She and her husband are planning a wonderful memory filled vacation this summer. She has placed her future into the hands of our Healer. Keep her in your prayers. 

Secondly, my sweet wonderful black lab, Bailey has been sick.  She decided that as a senior lab, she would be demanding in her health care. No longer will she eat dry dog food. I am cooking full meat and rice meals daily.
The medicine cannot be hidden in cheese. She refuses all meds. And she barks at all times of the day and night. Her bark is demanding. But what does she want—water, food, to go out, or just a tummy rub? She barks and we jump. But the good news is, she is getting better.

Next week I will continue my posts and share the first episode with the introduction of Barkleah. He came to live with us when Bailey turned seven. Their adventures are amazing. Stop by and meet the terrible twosome.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cast Your Bread Upon The Water

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.
Ecclesiastes 11:1
New American Standard
Bill and I received a huge blessing today. He has written short stories for “Chicken soup for the Soul” over the past three years. His first story was “Through A Glass Darkly”. He relayed the story of my personal struggle with Macular Degeneration. I was diagnosed in 1992 with early adult onset. Although I managed to continue to work for several years, my disability eventually forced me to give up the freedom of driving and my wonderful career. With Bill’s help and encouragement, I have completed my first manuscript.

The reason we all write is to touch others. We have stories to tell and our characters help us deliver our messages. We cast our gift of words out to the world and sometimes the person on the other side of the ocean shares the impact of our stories in their lives. Below, please see the email author Bill Wetterman, my wonderful husband, received from India today.

To Author Bill Wetterman-

My heart shattered in a million tiny pieces for Pam’s bitter experience with the macular degeneration and the emotional distress of  the diagnosis. I was very impressed by her courage when she did not allow the emotional fatigue to defeat her optimistic soul or change her positive attitude.
Your kindness and warm support has deeply humbled me. You are the kind of husband each and every woman wishes to have. God made you both like the stained-glass window that shines and sparkles when the sun is out. But when the darkness sets in, your true beauty is revealed because there is a light within you. Pam did not only make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks, she had also built a firm foundation with the bricks life had thrown at her.

Throughout the story, I was taught an invaluable lesson in my life: God puts the hard things on our way not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength in order to face the challenges ahead of us.I have learned that when He leads us to the edge of the cliff, we need to understand that either He will carry us or teach us how to fly.

I have also learned that when we reach the end of light, all we have to do is to take one more step forward in the darkness. Blind faith is to know that God will offer us a solid place. Absolutely you were the solid place God offered to Pam.