When did our pets become our best friends? I don’t know about you, but I remember when dogs weren’t allowed inside the house. Keep in mind, I was raised on Runions Creek close to Orkney Springs. Some folks would say rural. I say, I am as country as turnip greens. I grew up that way. We had my daddy’s and uncle’s hunting dogs. They would take them out hunting coon at night. We also had Dainty, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel that someone had given to my grandma. The dogs lived outside. We fed them scraps from the table and dry dog food. The hunting dogs were each tied to their own coop which was near the house. Dainty and her two grown pups, Buster and Cutie ran free all the time. Cutie became my very first dog. Well, I claimed her as mine. During the day, Cutie and I would go on adventures…climbing trees (Cutie would lay patiently at the bottom of the tree while I climbed to the top and sat for a while just surveying my kingdom.), building forts (She would walk with me as I gathered branches for the outside of my fort and her nose would be next to my hands as I gathered moss for inside my fort.) and wherever I went, whatever I did, she was with me. At night she would sleep on the porch or under the house. That was just the way it was when I was young. At least where we lived… Dogs lived outside.
When did they move inside and become an important part of our family? I tried to find an exact date, but there are too many opinions out there. What most of them agreed upon was that the rabies vaccine played a major role in bringing our pets indoors. Until the rabies vaccine became mandatory, people, especially rural folks, feared hydrophobia. It is a horrible disease and led to a horrible death. Dogs that were “wild” in other words, strays were feared. Once the vaccine became readily available and mandatory in most places, fears eased and pets started to enter the home to stay. Now the thought of my boys sleeping outside is foreign to me… and to them!
Now my best friends are part of the family. They live with us. They even travel with us. We spend so much time with them that we begin to understand what they want, and they begin to understand us and what we say. With our first Labrador, Misty we learned that if we mentioned her name, she would stop what she was doing and look at us which is a fantastic habit for training, but not so great if we wanted the other person to look at what she was doing. We solved that by not saying her name but saying look at the “dog”. That worked for a while, until she realized that she was “the dog” …then we spelled the word dog. Believe it or not she even learned that when we spelled d-o-g we were talking about her. She was my wedding gift and became an immediate member of our family. She wanted to be with us all the time. One afternoon I was reading a novel when I realized I needed to make a run to the store. It was summer, and I didn’t let her go with me because of the heat. She was not happy. When I got back, I realized how very much she wanted to go with mesh. She had ripped the 400-page novel into confetti. There wasn’t a piece larger than my pinkie nail. It was scattered all over my room. She got her message across.
Another example of this is my daughter Becca’s dog Deke. She got him when he was a puppy, and he lived with her while she was in high school and college. He was her constant companion. He developed a habit that we had to laugh about. She would bring him to our house to puppy-sit if she had to be gone from home for any length of time. On one of these visits, Ronnie was sitting on the couch when Deke walked up to him and started to whine. Ronnie thought Deke had to go out, so he got up and went to the door to let him out. When Ronnie turned around, Deke was not behind him where he assumed he would be. He called him, but no Dekie. When he returned to the living room, there was Dekie, curled up in the spot Ronnie had just vacated. We soon learned that particular spot was claimed by the dog, and if Deke whined at you while you were sitting there, chances are he didn’t have to go out! He just wanted your spot. Another time he would whine was when he was standing on the bed on top of the covers. If he whined then, you simply lifted the covers, and he would crawl under and snuggle to get warm. We learned that Deke had an aversion to rain. He would not go out when it was raining. You might think this would mean accidents in the house. Nope. He would hold it until it stopped raining, sometimes 24 hours or more. I learned that a number of dogs don’t like rain, not just because it’s wet and cold, but because it messes with their hearing.
He also did not like the cold, even cold concrete. The picture this month is of Deke waiting to get in at our house. The concrete was cold, but the dirt in the flowerpot was warm, so that’s where he waited.
Last month’s caption was accidentally left out. The picture was of Boo, Dave Carr’s best friend who would go with him fishing. A gentleman that I spoke with while we were fishing said he knew who Dave was and that he is an amazing fisherman, but what he found remarkable was Dave’s dog!,. Boo Dave’s Blue Healer went with him fishing everywhere he went. Boo would sit watching Dave’s line. When he was getting a bite, Boo would start barking at the pole, and let Dave know it was time to reel in another one. Goes to show that sometimes our pets leave their own impression.
This month’s advice…Remember it’s tick and flea season, so protect your dog. There are topical products that you put on your dog’s skin. There are products that you give your dog orally. There are also natural products that deter fleas and ticks. No matter which you prefer, please protect your best friend from diseases carried by ticks and fleas.
Until Next Time…Stay Paws-ative and enjoy your best friend! Happy Tails to You!