My Family of Dogs – Part 1.


IMG_20180115_0002 Samantha, Mann,Whiskey Bean, Fats at the very back and then Ennery[/caption]

I was sitting on the couch watching an English Premier League soccer game with my two little dogs one on each side of me and I got to thinking about all of the dogs that I have had over my lifetime, for a time period spanning more than 50 years. With such deep thoughts as these, quite obviously, the game was not holding my attention.

I never had a dog when I was growing up and I missed out on the first thirty years of my life. It wasn’t until my second marriage when we had moved into our own house in Hailsham, Sussex in England that I first discovered the joys of having a fuzzy four legged friend in the form of Toby, a small Rat terrier. He was a busy little dog and as I was a Pipeline Boss working out in the country, he was able to come to work with me every day. That pipeline was several miles long and we traversed most of it on a daily basis. Toby was a hunter and would think nothing of finding a rabbits nest and eating the babies much to the annoyance of one of the machine operators. We had some pretty heavy discussions about it.

I had at the time, a small Mini Station Waggon and we would all pile into it to go places including Toby who was never left behind. Besides my wife, there were three daughters and a son so the Mini was pretty full up. Toby had this awful habit of letting off wind and many times as I was driving along, there would be screams from the kids as Toby would let one go. Sitting in the back, they were closest to the dog and by the time it reached me, it had dissipated enough that I would laugh it off and continue driving. Everyone else was rapidly winding down the windows.

He had another quirk that he was able to jump over the four feet high fence to the back yard but could not jump back in and would sit outside the fence and bark until someone, usually me, would rescue him and lift him over to our side. We had him a couple of years but unfortunately for Toby, he bit the neighbors little girl in the face one day when she wandered into our front yard and I had to have him put to sleep. A very sad time.

The next dog was a Cocker Spaniel that we named Melody. She really did a good job of selling herself when we were at the Kennel where we purchased her. She kept jumping up as if to say, “Pick me, pick me”. She had these big brown eyes and she was so appealing that she was the one that chose us. She had the distinction of sailing on the Queen Mary as we made the long journey to the USA. She was kenneled on the top deck in a special enclosure along with several other dogs and we would visit her several times a day so she would not be lonely. She made it just fine over that 3000 mile trip. Melody settled in to life in the USA and even adjusted to the heavy snow falls of the New York State winters. I started a construction business and again, like Toby before her, she came everywhere I went and it was not a bit unusual to see her up on the scaffold as we laid bricks on the houses.

A few years after arriving in the States, we acquired another dog, a cross between a Lab and something else. She was a beautiful short haired sandy colored dog with the sweetest personality and we named her Amy. Melody still came to work with me but Amy stayed at home preferring the company of my wife. At the time, we were having marriage problems and I eventually moved out. One of the daughters took Amy and I gave Melody to one of the guys that used to work for me. I was heartbroken to let her go as we had spent so much time together but the circumstances were such that I could not keep her with me and my ex did not want her. I learned that a couple of years later, he had to put her to sleep as she had just gotten old and had health problems. I should mention, an American country boys idea of euthanization is a 12 gauge shotgun. She had to have been at least 15-16 years old. I don’t know what happened to Amy.

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Samantha and friend

A couple of years later, I had remarried for the third and final time. My wife was a dog lover like me. We acquired a cocker spaniel puppy that we named Samantha. At the time we were living in Albany in New York State but a job offer in Texas caused us to move there and of course Samantha also made the trip. We eventually settled just outside of Austin, Texas on five acres of land on which we built a house and a horse barn. By this time, Sam had a litter of puppies of which we sold two and kept three, Fats, who was the biggest, Whiskey Bean and Ennery. They were all females. In the meantime, one of my wifes friends had asked her to look after a male Maltese puppy named Mann, for a bit which eventually turned into a permanent move and our family of dogs was at five. The funniest thing was to see the three cockers all in a line as they went out walking early in the mornings. Fats was always in the lead followed by Whiskey Bean and Ennery trailing at the rear.

We were at the time very active in the soccer community in Austin and Sam would go to all of the games a part of which was the consumption of large quantities of beer following the event. The guys and Samantha both discovered that she had a taste for it and they would surreptitiously give her sips of the stuff until they got her drunk. They thought it funny to see a dog that couldn’t walk a straight line. It didn’t appear to hurt her as she lived to a ripe old age.

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Samantha, Fats at the back, Whiskey Bean, Manfried is the Maltese in front and then Ennery. plus two cats.

After a few years, we sold the five acres and moved into a new house closer to Austin taking our family of dogs and cats with us. We had bought land in Belize and took a trip to see it. One of our soccer playing friends house sat for us. We called our neighbor who was our main contact to check on things only to be told that Mann was dead, a victim of a car on the road outside the property. Apparently, there had been a very bad thunderstorm and the sitter had put the dogs in their pen and had assumed that Mann, who she hadn’t been able to find, was already in his kennel. Turns out, he wasn’t and he was so terrified of the thunder and lightning that he had dug out under the gate. My neighbor found him the next day and buried him. Incidentally, we never did hear from the house sitter ever again. No apologies, no nothing.

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Mann and Whiskey Bean

I had also come by another Maltese, a gift from a Vet that was looking for a home for him. This Maltese name was Manfried. One day as I was working on my home business, my wife and her friend popped into the office to announce they had a gift for me. She opened her bag for me to peek inside and this bundle of fur in the shape of a miniature Maltese puppy, peeked out. We named her Bianca and she was the tiniest of puppies but really cute and she knew it.

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Bianca on the left with Manfried

Then one day a year or so later, My wife announced she was leaving and so long and farewell. She took Bianca with her and I was left with the four Cockers and a Maltese. Time moved on as by now I was a single man and my wife was now an ex-wife. After three failed marriages, I decided enough was enough and that I preferred the company of dogs. Twenty six years later and I still hold that to be true.

For Part two – use this link

Written 1/14/2018

 

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More Sadness


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The last addition, Pete

Once again my life is sad
as another of my pets has left
to join with Richie up in the sky
where all dogs go when they die
this time Pete my fat little friend
succumbed to heartworm of years gone by
and even though he had the best care
his poor little heart just could not fly
I buried him beside the pond
next to Richie his bestest friend
and the two in life with such a strong bond
live in Doggie Heaven where joy never ends.

Written 2/5/2018

 

Things Have Changed…


Jeff Price-24

I noticed just the other day
that things are different in how I play
in the way I used to spend my life
not counting when I had a wife
for they tend to tell a man
of the things that they have planned
for him to do day to day
even though he would rather play
and do the things that he would like
but he does her things to avoid a strife
no what I mean is that I have changed
where I used to do the same
old things from day to day
like go outside and work in the yard
rake the leaves and toil very hard
and be tired at the end of the day
but feeling good in a tired sort of way
and now I like to sit and write
and spend my days inside despite
that things outside are not the same
with Richie gone myself I blame
and working outside sharing the space
even though he has run his race
I miss that little doggie friend
and always will until the end
and so I spend more time inside
until the memories do decline
and then outside I will go
to do the work I used to do.

Written 10/20/2017

 

Decisions, Decisions…


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Old age crisis…

I can’t remember that I ever had a mid life crisis. Come to that, I can’t even remember that I ever had a mid life. I suppose that technically that should make it around my 40th birthday as I am currently, 81 years young. From what I can remember of my life back then, everything was as good as I could have expected it to be.

Seeing as how I missed out that time around, I am working towards an end of life crisis instead. I suppose “end of life” is a little strong as I don’t know when that will be, hopefully in the very distant future. As the exact date is unknown to any of us earthly beings, I can only push on with a full life expectancy of one hundred and twenty five. Anyway, it does tie into my current thought processes for to put it bluntly, I am restless and am choosing my right to have that crisis that I missed out on before.

To some, it is a no brainer. I own my home, am comfortably off and do not have a wife to nag and berate me into doing things that I don’t want to do or spending money on things I don’t want to buy. On the other hand, I do not have a readymade caregiver and so need to plan for the future. Instead, I live alone with two dogs, Ginny, a mini Dachshund and Pete, a fat little Chihuahua and Ellie, the one remaining very old cat. I do have about 250 or so fish friends out in the five ponds but “friends” is probably not the right word. I feed them and clean the water and generally get a lot of pleasure from just watching them swim around.

But, I am restless. I am having recurring thoughts of selling this place and either buying 5 acres out in the country and building a mini home on it so that I can disappear off the face of the earth, buying a travel trailer and spending the rest of my days driving around these United States and eventually parking it when I can no longer drive at wherever I end up. Or finally, even returning to my native England to live out what remains of my life and to become a burden on whatever family remains over there.

My Realtor friends tell me that a house with 5 ponds would probably be hard to sell unless I was extremely lucky and the right pond enthusiast happened to come along or if I was willing to take a price cut. So now, if I choose any of the three options that are nagging at me, I would need to close down at least 3 of the ponds which by itself, is not a small project.

So, as you can see, my mind is in a quandary. The easy thing to do is to work on this over a period of time like the next 6 months, closing down those three ponds and leave the two remaining 5000 gallon and 6000 gallon ponds and just landscape around them. I would probably need to do that anyway if I want to get top dollar for the property whenever I choose to sell although all that “Top Dollar” will do is leave more inheritance for any remaining kids.

Looking at the three options that are nagging at me and in no particular order, the following thoughts cross my mind. Why go back to England? It is always raining over there and much colder which was the prime reason for coming here in the first place. People have already got their winter coats on. So, put the England idea on a back burner but don’t discard it just in case this country goes down the toilet with Trump in the White House.

How about the travel trailer idea. I suppose the big question is, “I wonder how much longer I can drive without being a hazard to myself and anyone else out there on the roads”. I would need to buy a bigger vehicle to comfortably tow a trailer of any size and both of them would depreciate over the years. I suppose that as long as the trailer was in decent enough shape at its and mine final resting place, wherever that may be, that is all that is important so that I could park it and live in it for whatever years remain.

Finally, 5 acres in the woods with a mini home on it would require work at the beginning in putting it all together but I am not averse to hard work and as long as I am physically capable, it would help to keep me in shape. Not that I am planning on running a marathon or returning to the soccer fields anywhere in the near or distant future. It would probably cost me $100,000.00 to buy land, buy a mini home, put in a septic system, run water or drill a well and get electricity to the property which is a lot of money but unlike the trailer idea, would appreciate and be worth more when eventually it gets sold. It would also take time, at least 3-6 months to build.

Thinking about it, there is one more way to go and that is to do the travel trailer routine and then when I can no longer safely drive or get tired of it, to buy that 5 acres in the woods and park the trailer on it to live out my remaining days. That way, I could save the cost of the mini house. Damn, all of these ideas and no still no solution.

So, I have laid out my thoughts and am no closer to solving the dilemma that I am in. About the only positive out of it all is the obvious need to close down a couple of ponds regardless of what other choices that I make even if I don’t make a choice at all and stay here until I get shipped out, feet first.

Mid life crisis, what mid life crisis, how about the workings of an old man’s mind instead, making a crisis where there is no crisis. I have either got to live with it the way things are or make a decision about my future.

Written 9/22/2017

Memories – Written 9-14-2017


Richie smaller (1 of 1)The days are long and my heart is cold
thoughts of Richie are NOT growing old
as quickly as I want them to be
to lift the weight of grief in me.

I worked outside around the shed
the area that the snake had hid
waiting probably in fear
as he watched the little dog draw near.

Poised and ready no rattle to warn
a natural reaction for which it was born
striking the dog to preserve its life
as the law of the wild provokes such strife.

Richie let out an almighty roar
a sound I had never heard before
as he flew out from under the shed
knowing that he was already dead.

He looked at me with his big brown eyes
pleading for help with no disguise
as I rushed him to my local vet
who worked to save my little pet.

Alas for it was not to be
as he died the next day peacefully
and I brought him home in a box
my faith in God forever lost.

I blame myself for Richie’s death
for not cleaning out from under the shed
and leaving a place for the snake to hide
from the dog exploring with curious eyes.

Everywhere out in the garden I see
traces and memories of what used to be
holes dug here and a dirt pile there
and trails through the plants leading who knows where.

Even though there are Ginny and Pete
their personalities do not compete
and are different in the ways they shine
and cannot replace what’s left behind.

Maybe I should get another pet
one that likes to dig and yet
it would never be the same
even with the very same name.

So all that remains is for me to heal
knowing that I will always feel
love for the little dog that I lost
as I remain behind to bear the cost.

If the Gods are kind to me
one day I hope that I will be
with Richie in another life
one where there is no strife
and pets never do grow old
its called “The Rainbow Bridge” so I am told.

 

 Rainbow Bridge 

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

Harvey – Day 3


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I checked the computer and watched  the news before going to bed around 11:00 pm on Saturday evening. There were tales of doom and gloom on both of them with dire warnings of flooding and high winds. I figured that there was not much I could do unless the roof blew off the house in which case, I would be busy rescuing important stuff, like pets and electronic gadgets including my cameras before jumping in the car (hopefully) and heading out. Or if this was not possible, hunkering down in any room that was still dry if I couldn’t get the car out of the garage.

Hoping for the best, I went to bed and fell asleep in no time flat only waking when the call of nature prodded my brain to use the bathroom which sadly to say, happens all too often nowadays. I didn’t hear the storm as it continued through the night although my cell phone went off a couple of times with weather alerts telling me to be aware of “strong winds” and “lots of rain”. Sometimes it helps to wear hearing aids which I remove at night enabling me to sleep through anything but the loudest thunder.

I awoke the next morning and looked out of the french doors at the yard. As far as I could see, apart from things laying in different directions from the wind, I could not visibly see any damage. The stained glass window is still hanging in the trees although a little more lopsided than before. I still need to find it a new home when the weather gets better.

Choosing to get up even though it was before 8:00 am, I showered and dressed and went outside to see the extent of the damage up close. There are leaves off the trees everywhere. Many plants are laying lopsided as the wind has blown them over and apart from the water in the 5000 gallon pond being very dirty and of course the downed Cypress tree in the 6000 gallon pond, everything doesn’t look too bad at all. It looks like one of the pumps has stopped working or is blocked in the 5000 gallon pond. I will get to that later. All of the ponds are full to the brim with the overflows working nicely to let some of the water run off.

I wandered down to the bottom of the garden to the area know as Murmuring Creek which, as I have mentioned many times before, only murmurs when we get a real gully washer and although it was very obvious that it had flooded a little bit, it was nothing like I had expected.

All in all, it looks like my part of town has gotten off very lightly. The weather map shows the main part of the Hurricane to have moved off to the East and we should probably only be getting strong winds and rain for a couple more days. If there is anything to report tomorrow, I will follow up then.

Raining Cats and Dogs.


cats and dogs

I took another drive today
this one to the  store along the way
as I was running out of food
which my fridge did not include.

It was raining cats and dogs
which I have never understood
how did that saying come about
as there were no animals underfoot.

I hurried quickly into the store
as the rain came down just like before
I grabbed a cart and walked inside
to get the few things my list described.

I quickly bought the very few things
and spent more time at the Higi screen
trying to see if I was alive
as my blood pressure and pulse did provide.

Satisfied that I was not dead
to the checkouts I quickly went
paid my fee and grabbed my cart
back to the car ready to depart.

It was still raining those same cats and dogs
as back to my house without further loss
of time as I needed to get home
with my groceries no more to roam.

I got back home to my cats and dogs
they were not raining I am at a loss
they were perfectly dry no sign of rain
and pleased to see me back home again.

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