Pamwla Wetterman

Monday, July 29, 2013

Did you say "Hurricane?"

Hurricane Hits Oklahoma

Yes, you heard it here first. Last Tuesday our weatherman mentioned 60 MPH wind gusts and an inch of rain was possible.  Being in a heavy drought, we listened casually and tucked ourselves into bed. Around midnight we awoke to sustained straight line winds of 90 MPH, hale the size of golf balls, and torrents of rain.

Poor Barkleah shook so hard his teeth chattered. After wrapping him in a small blanket, we tucked him under the covers, and promised him safety. Then we turned on the TV and heard the words low level hurricane winds. Yep. It was true . After years in the Midwest, we understood tornadoes, but the sound of this wind was an eerie wining   so loud that we never heard any of crashing damage hitting the front of our home. We finally settled back into bed to rest, leaving Barkleah on guard duty.

The next morning, Bill wandered outside to gather up the morning newspaper. Thirty minutes later, he returned with a shout. "Honey. We lost the front roof." For the next hour we surveyed our home.  "How could the roof decking be missing without making a sound?" I asked.

We discovered broken rafters, huge holes, and rain damage from the attic, through the second floor, and ending on the first floor. The next two days, were spent mopping up rainwater, tearing out carpets and pads, and drying  flooring and furniture. The insurance adjuster is scheduled to arrive a full eight days after the storm.

We count ourselves blessed. No one was hurt and we do have good insurance. Barkleah has forgotten the scary storm and is contented to bark at walking dogs and strangers entering our home. And where else can you have a hurricane in the middle of tornado alley?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Gracie, the African Gray Parrot

Gracie, the African Gray, came into our lives two Christmases ago. She hatched, under the loving care of her parents, and spent eight weeks learning how to be a bird. Then she moved into her first home, a breeder's cage. My son, Jeff, selected her to be his while she remained in the safety of her egg. His year long search for the perfect companion completed, he took her home two weeks before Christmas.

On Christmas eve, 2011, Gracie joined our holiday celebration. Traditionally, we attend church services as a family, return home for a special meal, and then open gifts. Gracie arrived in her two foot by 3 foot travel cage. Her trip across town unnerved her. Grays are slow to change and even slower to accept strangers. Their instincts protect them in the wild.

Gracie reluctantly abandoned her cage and settled on the perch set out for her. She trembled as she gazed around at the room full of humans.  Her feathers puffed up and her eyes grew to small ovals. Jeff assured us she only required time to adjust to so many strangers.

We allowed her some space, trying to move around the perch in the center of the activity.  If any one of us approached, her fear caused her to fly off. The poor girl, being new to flight, circled the room looking for a safe haven. Her ability to assess her location was in development. Her favorite landing sight was on the top of our mini-blinds.

That evening, we all learned how to approach her as she clung to a wooden slat, offer our hand, and ask her to "step up". She attempted to avoid our help, but soon realized it was best to get a ride back to the perch.

Like many families, we grew louder as the evening passed. In response to one deafening outburst of laughter, she took off again. This time she flew into the kitchen and slammed into the wall. Reacting in fear, we all raced to her rescue. Jeff gently scooped her up on the back of his hand and said, "She's okay. But it's time for me to take her home." 

Over the past two years she has safely visited us many times. She is now very conversational, with a vocabulary of over one hundred and fifty words. She not only speaks, but she understands what she is saying. I will share some of her stories in the next few weeks.  Gracie and Barkleah have become great friends. But more about that later.

Do you have a favorite pet?  Please share your stories.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Free, Free, Free At Last

Barkleah was released from his cone after two very long weeks.  Although he never complained about the soft collar, it became apparent when we removed it, that he'd thought it was to be a part of his life forever. If a dog could smile, he did.

As the collar fell to the floor, his coal-black eyes gazed up at us. Then he jumped up as if preforming a jig, raced out of the room, and ran through the house, tail wagging. Then he returned to offer us the "Play-bow" , and jumped into my arms. Yes, I would say he was pretty happy to be a free little man.

Now with total independence, he is testing his boundaries. Due to his propensity to cancer, he must wear sunscreen when he is outside or stay in the shade. Barkleah considers any scented product to be poison.  If he sees the sunscreen in my hands, he runs under the bed and refuses to come out, not even for a treat. So he has supervised trips outside. If you turn your back, he will race into the grass and flop down for a quick sunshine fix. He understands this is not good for him, but he insists it is a compulsion.

Given the command to go lay on his dog bed, He slowly drags himself into the shade. It becomes apparent his plan is to wait for escape. He has turned us into the secret police. 

He is also focused on regaining his position as top dog in our home. Since he is the  only dog we have now, Bill and I are  the target of his domination. He favors one technique for all of his desires.   His STARE. He stands on his back feet, leans his round tummy against my leg, and gazes into my eyes. HIs eye Contac is perfect. He does not look away until I say, ""Okay. Show me." Then he turns and leads me to the desire of his heart. It can be a trip to the cookie jar, a path to the Greenies, or a hopeful request for a walk  by racing to the hall where his leash hangs. 

Yes, you might say I have  given in to his demands.  You would be right.  He sleeps in our bed, eats before we do, and gets treats for doing almost anything. But in return, we receive unconditional love from  the most charming and amusing clown in all of Oklahoma. Bill and I feel like we are the real winners in this relationship.

 Do you ever find yourself spoiling your pet?