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
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.