Wednesday, August 3, 2011

#68 - Dog-Gone-Goodness Lives On...

Most of my life, I had tiny, little, near-nonexistent doggies. Since they were house doggies, I always felt, "...the smaller, the better."

Then, the first large dog we acquired came by heart-pounding anger and sadness. In our former neighborhood, there was this one neighbor who had a litter of puppies in her backyard. The house was literally crumbling, the roof had large open holes in it, the yard was mostly dirt and through the chain-linked fence, we could see these little puppies as we passed by on our walks.

To get a better look, we began taking frequent walks --- trying to not look like creepy stalkers. I don't think we were good at the 007 thing.

The kids in the neighborhood, which included my two daughters, heard through the grape-vine that these owners supposedly had plans to discard the puppies at the local dump.

The next walk that we took later that day found me in front of this house again and I actually approached the lady of the house. She had put a little sign in the front yard, "Free Puppies."

PERFECT. Regardless, it was not a fun moment to be at this house, the lady of the house is what I call "Bar-Hardened." All the kids in the neighborhood avoided this woman, for good reason. But, I spied the puppies outside in the backyard in the Texas heat, with only a mini-children's swimming pool filled with disgusting water turned black from dirt and mold, and I couldn't stop myself.

I asked the woman about the little runt puppy, the red one; I wanted to know if it was a female. She barked, "No, ain't none of them girls." And she walked away huffing and puffing.

I looked at my youngest daughter, Stefie, and said, "Oh well, we tried."

We walked back home. We thought about turning her in before the puppies ended up at the dump, but all the kids in the neighborhood were already rallying to make sure every puppy had a home. After all, have you seen "Animal Cops - Houston?" This is a HUGE county and they are always bombarded with enormous case loads. But, the kids did their job spreading the word to get the dogs adopted out...and, that's exactly what happened.

Back to the little red oldest daughter was on a mission to prove everyone wrong about the little red dog. Heather knew from other friends living next door to the scary woman that the little red dog was indeed a female and that meant she'd be a contender to live in our home. At the time, "Only Girl Dogs Allowed."

Heather said, "Mom, that woman doesn't have a CLUE as to what sex those puppies are because she's never had anything to do with them, and you must be sexually-illiterate because you can TELL that the puppy is a female."

Heather added a bit of eye-rolling with her arms folded as she enlightened me, her mother, about the anatomy differences between a female and male dog.

I stick my fingers in my ears, "I know, I know, I know...I believe's a female."

Okay. I was in disbelief. My highschool aged daughter actually called me "sexually illiterate." So all of you blog buddies now know...THAT is exactly where I got that term, from my oldest daughter.

On a brave mission, my daughters went back to the woman's house and approached her again. They did. Minutes later, my two girls ended up coming home with that little red dog. I will never forget the sight of my oldest daughter holding that horribly muddy, dirt-caked dog against her clean clothes; she and her little sister were crossing the street toward our house with beaming smiles of a winning conquest as I stood on our porch with my jaw dropped open. I think there was a trail of mud dripping along behind them.

It hit me, "What did I just get myself into?"

My husband was taking a nap. He was working his regular job with the Sheriff's department, plus working off-hours at extra jobs, so he was exhausted and needed his nap in between jobs. How in the world was I going to tell him about this new mouth to feed? Plus, the dog looked a wreck.

We three girls, thick as thieves, formulated a plan. We took lil red to the back porch, got some shampoo, got the water hose and began scrubbing. At about three months old, she'd never had a clean day in her life. Chunks of caked on dirt began to loosen, her ears were plugged full of mud and in between her claws were bricks of old mud. For a good hour, we let the water run over her while we massaged her thoroughly, in a comforting manner, until she nearly shined!

After all of the mud was gone and after we'd blown her hair dry, her color had changed. She was a beautiful blondish red color, and her personality was too sweet. All the other puppies had indeed been males; they were brindles and rough and tough. This little sweetie was definitely the runt and she had already wound her way deep into our hearts.

But, what to do about the man of the family? We tried to make her as pretty as possible so he would not be able to turn her away. Little did we know, if he'd seen her all smothered in mud, he would have been the first to rescue her.

So, I guess you know what happens, Deputy Dave woke up from his nap and we three girls said, "We have a surprise for you."

He wasn't smiling. He was leery of our "surprises." I don't know why he would have been so cautious...he sees his three gals smiling and laughing and giddy and he is suspicious?

Then, we bring in the little puppy and she looked absolutely like delicious icing on a cake! Deputy Dave's tense, upright pose with squared shoulders immediately dropped and relaxed as he reached for the puppy who instantly snuggled against him. His forever buddy.

My youngest daughter named her "Lyla." But, apparently, I never spell it right. Sorry.

A few years later, the Queen doggie and the Chihuahua of our lives died, at about 15 years of age.

My exhausted college aged daughter trying to nap
with her doggie, Cinnamon, that she'd had since about 2nd grade.
She grew to be an old gal, with a last trip to the beach one week before she went to doggie heaven.

A few weeks after Cinnamon's death, we were despondent to see Lyla was not doing well. It had been TWO WEEKS since Cinnamon had died, but Lyla continued to look for her every single time we went into the backyard.

Lyla and Cinnamon, always together.
Lyla would lie next to me and moan out loud in sadness with every exhale. I'd never seen a dog mourn so deeply. If one of us would accidentally say Cinnamon's name out loud, Lyla would jump up and begin to run around looking for her. It was beyond pathetic. She needed a dog-companion.

Since we have forested land which we'd be moving to soon, we knew we could not have any more dogs that looked like juicy bunny rabbits.

That's when we decided to get the monster...Howdy.

And the dog saga continues...


Karen said...

Lana, I was between tears and gladness reading your last few blog posts. I am SO thankful your daughter is safe. What a blessing!

The dog story also moved me to tears, they are so special in our lives, aren't they? What a lovely story of the start of Lyla's life with you. And now Howdy, how fun. Cinnamon looked to be a sweetie, too.

Your home is gorgeous; I'm sure it will sell quickly. I'm looking forward to your move to the country very much; since I've never lived anywhere but in the boonies sometimes I don't think I appreciate it enough, lol.

And lastly, your chickens are really beautiful. I have a ragtag flock that is all mixed up, yours are very pretty.

Lana at said...

This is Stefanie, Lana's daughter. I would just like to point out that my mother STILL does not know how to properly spell my dogs name after 7 years of having her. Her name is not "Lyla" its "Liyla." Just thought I would point it out! =]

Love you mom!

Texan said...

Glad you saved/rescued that poor little puppy. We are rescue dog owners ourselves! Our first Boxer my soul mate in fur, Major was a rescue,,, he lived to be almost 11 which for a 94lb Boxer is a long time. Their average life span at the time was 7-8 yrs. Now Kota the old man as we call him will be 12 this October another Boxer from Rescue. His health is failing and its very hard, he won't be with us much longer, but he has been and is a wonderful friend. He isn't as large at only 55 lbs. Their lifespan is 8-9 yrs last I read. So he too has beat the Boxer odds :O).

I did have one giant doggy a Great Dane. He didn't get to grow old or even middle aged. But he was awesome while we had him. Guess you can tell I love big dogs!

Rae said...

Haha! Lana got hijacked! Lol! Fun spelling, btw.

Kudos to you guys forbrescuing that pretty girl. My sweet boy was a rescue too, found dumped on the side of the road.

Rae said...

Forbrescuing? Really? Talk about interesting spelling. Stupid iPhone... :)

LindaG said...

Haha. I can see why you misspell it. :*)
I'm glad you rescued the pup. All our cats have been rescue cats, too.

Howdy is such a great name for the dog. Is Howdy as good with your chickens as the pictures show? Did you train Howdy?

P.S. I am also very glad your daughter is fine. ♥

Mike said...

Bar hardened? LOL, In my drinking days, I knew them type as Social Butterflies or Bar-flies. Bar hardened is a good description. Everytime I see Howdy's name I can hear Minnie Pearl. "Howdy! I'm just so proud to be here."

I ain't gettin' in the middle of name spelling but, I'm with you, Lana.

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Karen --- you are very sweet. My daughter is going to be okay, just in pain for a while from bruised ribs. I am thankful to God for keeping her safe. As for the dogs, they definitely are part of the family. And, when the time comes, I do hope the house will sell quickly so we won't have to do the dreaded "showing" thing with constant disruptions in our life. It is great to know that you've always been able to live in the "boonies" because it continuously proves to me that we WILL be able to do it! As for the chickens, thank you for complimenting them because I also feel as if they are beautiful! I've always seen a beauty in chickens. My major in college was art, and I've often thought about drawing them. We'll see. Having a ragtag flock with various types has got to be pure entertainment!

Daughter of Mine --- I already admitted during the blog about not being able to spell Liyla's name because I KNEW it would goad you. This is a good lesson in life, don't spell your kid's names with any weird spelling that can't be duplicated easily or you'll always be frustrated ---- SteFanie! :-)

Texan --- one of my best-friends had the BEST dog in the world, a Boxer named "Morgan." We lived next door to each other and I'd leave my front door open (in good weather) and she'd walk over to visit me in the house. It would be hysterical. She thought BOTH houses belonged to her...and they did. It sounds as if you were given the opportunity to have BEAUTIFUL dog companions in your life. I have heard that Great Dames do not have a long life span, due to their enormity. I hope your buddy Kota? will indeed outlive expectations so you can have much more time with him!!!

Rae -- you crack me up! It's not surprising that we've both "forbrescued" dogs since we seem to have so much in common. A roadside doggie is the best, just like a neglected dog found in a backyard of a neighbor who is ready to dump the puppies. And, we know all about the Iphone daughter has one; I can't afford one, but we use hers all of the time, especially on the road. A true life-saver at times.

Linda --- we rescued a kitten one time, nearly ten years ago, on our acreage. In that WILDERNESS, that kitten was all alone in near freezing weather. We had our RV there at the time and since my youngest is deathly allergic to cats, we drove all the way to town to get a kennel, food, etc. so we could keep the cat and we brought it home to my sister. She has that cat STILL today. His name Mr. Kitty and he's absolutely beautiful.

Mike --- Glad I would add another bar word to our list! You know what I mean by bar hardened...I'm not talking stop-by-a-bar-enjoy-friends kind of bar life, I'm talking sitting-at-the-bar-mad-at-the-world-don't-talk-to-me-because-I-am-on-my-13th-drink-ALONE kind of bar-hardened! hahahaha And Howdy got his name from Texas A&M because all the Freshmen are REQUIRED to say "Howdy" to each other (as they pass by each other). It's an awesome tradition and when you walk all over campus, you are shocked by all the "Howdy" welcomes you receive. I know everyone is an Aggie fan, deep down inside! Your thought of Minnie Pearl is great; I sure LOVED her in that hat with the price tag dangling!

Anonymous said...

When we have lost our doggie friends ...we always make sure to let the other one, if there is one left, smell of them after they pass. I think it helps them understand and we haven't had a problem with them looking for the other one yet. Beth
We just lost our big baby ...11 yr 4 month old German Shepherd last is still hard around here. I expect it will be for some time.

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Beth --- I got hung up on the fact that you just lost your long time friend last Sunday. It's amazing how we try to keep going, but we can sometimes hear them around the corner or we have a goodie and nearly yell out their name or we wake up and it takes a minute for it to sink back in that they are gone. I am so sad for your loss. When our little Cinnamon died, we did let Lily lay next to her for a while. I even took pictures because it was heart-wrenching. Lilya kept looking up at me with big worried eyes...she knew something was really wrong. But, it sill didn't stop her from looking for her for weeks. At least the new puppy did distract her. For a while, she was only irritated, then they began to cuddle and play and even touch paws when sitting together. Precious. We all sure love our dogs! I hope the next few weeks will find the heart-ache lessening and the good memories increasing.