Friday, August 30, 2013

Love Myself Week Continues

As loving myself week continues, I have been loved also by others.

                           Smokie, so tiny and adorable
 Keeping two precious little dogs for my sister, Gay, has given me the great opportunity to give lots and lots of love and get tons back. Smokie, the miniature schnauzer steals my heart when she looks at me and gets so excited simply because I am there.
Sunny is a Maltese mix, about three years old
Sunny, the larger fuzzy one loves to be in someone's lap all the time. I realized being with the two of them how much I miss my Rocky, and my Kodi, and Nicki and my first born, Brandy.
Sunny taking a breather from wrestling with Smokie

I can measure the life of my marriage with the life spans of these four dogs. Brandy, a small black bundle of curly fur, came into my life the week after our honeymoon, and he was with me almost twenty years. 

He was the mischievous and humanistic dog that won over the heart of my own dear mother. We say Brandy was Mother's favorite grandchild. 

I didn't search for Nicki and had no idea I wanted him in my life until a foxy friend asked me to keep him, a snow-white bundle of fur only a couple of months old, and before she came home, we had bought a dog house and a crate for him. She laughed later and said she knew she had hooked us and we would never think of returning him.

We lost Nicki before he was three years old to some malady the veterinarian never explained. I think we lost him because I was caught up in caring for my mother who was very ill at the time. I did not notice the signs of Nicki's illness until it was too late.
Kodi Beall more beautiful than my azaleas in south Georgia
Because of Nicki and how adorable he was, we soon found another Samoyd pup who was meant to be with us. Kodi gave us both such joy. One day while I was gone to work, he pulled a 100 foot water hose into the house through the pet door. It must have kept him busy for hours. He seemed quite proud of himself as he sat in the midst of it smiling as Sammys do. Kodi was my shadow and a good traveler. Already a decade old when we moved to the mountains, he had to learn to climb stairs for the first time in our house in Hayesville. But he did it and managed getting to the pet door and outside to his fenced yard then back up again.

Kodi developed corneal ulcers on his shiny black eyes and I had to drive him down to Athens Georgia to a dog ophthalmologist. The doctor scraped off the ulcers and inserted contact lenses for my dog to wear. We found out quickly that the only way to keep the lenses in was to put a bell collar on his neck. Poor baby. He hated that thing. And I hated it because he couldn't go out through the pet door. I had to let him in and out. 

While Barry and I loved our mountain house, the stairs became Kodi's nemesis and in time his hips began to fail him. He was thirteen years old when we set him free of his pain. I grieved so over that sweet dog that I thought I could never love another one. I didn't want another one and I said so loud and clear.

But, as my friend Debbie told me, God knew more about what I needed than I did. On a cold January day as we walked over near the Hiawassee River dam, we saw a handsome pup, black and tan, with a cropped tail, under a tree -- waiting. It was obvious to me he was waiting for whoever dropped him off there to come back and get him. He would have nothing to do with Barry who tried to pet him.

We talked about how awful it was for someone to abandon a young dog like that, but we came on home. Later, my kind-hearted husband couldn't stand it. Concerned about the pup, he took dog food over for him. About an hour later he arrived home with the mut.

I tried as hard as I could to find his owner, but he was certainly meant to be with us. Barry named him Rocky and the two of them were constantly together. While I don't compare my dogs, Barry said Rocky was the best dog we ever had. He was the only mixed breed, the only rescue, and he was indeed a wonderful dog. Hardly any trouble from the time he arrived. He loved to travel and we could take him anywhere as long as we took his bed. He was so gentle, he never bothered another dog or cat. When Tiger the cat moved in, Rocky came to love her so much he licked her like she was his puppy. She rolled over on her back and basked in his attention. He fell for Smokie, the miniature schnauzer when she came along and put up with her puppy bites even in his old age. 

He mourned Barry but consoled me during those difficult days and nights. At the age of fourteen, he became ill with something the docs could not diagnose. I believe he had a brain tumor. It almost killed me to have to put him down, but it was the only way to stop his pain. 
Rocky loved to ride in the convertible with Barry 

Now I have no dog of my own and I'm not sure I want to go through losing another loved one like that. I think I will continue to dog sit for Gay and Stu and get my puppy love from Smokie and Sunny.
My life has been enriched by my four legged friends. I can't imagine how much I'd have missed had I not had them. I can think of any one of them and smile. Some of my memories make me laugh out loud. Someday I want to write a book about each of them and how they made our lives so rich.

Rocky waiting on the deck for his master to come home

Do you have beloved pets? Want to tell us about them?


Ellen said...

As always, you have warmed my heart with this post, Glenda. Paul & I have only had one dog, Pippin, a border collie & Norgewian elkhound mix. We lived in MT then, and she loved the snow. She would dive into it & roll around with obvious enjoyment. In the summers we would take her to the veterinarian to shave the winter's growth that had become matted off her. The first year she actually came out of the office looking embarrassed, hoping she wouldn't see anyone she knew. But every year after that, she smiled & frolicked when she came out. She knew how much more comfortable she would feel all summer!

DJan said...

I loved your stories. There are few furry creatures who don't enrich the lives of their two-legged companions. At present I have no animals, since I married a man who is not a fan of them. I visit my sister's dog and get my licks over there. Thank you for introducing me to these wonderful dogs. Rocky was so sweet.