Since I am sidelined from running for a while due to runners’ knee, I decided I wasn’t going to get on here and whine and moan about it. I’m walking, using the elliptical, and strength training. Nothing special, just trying to get my knee better so I can run again in a few weeks. So, I thought I would tell you about seven loves in my life…
I like animals. I like animals A LOT. It is amazing the things you can learn from animals, if you just pay attention. Currently there are 6 dogs and 1 cat living at our house. I won’t say that we “own” them, we don’t. They own us. They range in age from 15+ to 3. All of the dogs were gifts from strangers. We live in the sticks. It is not uncommon for people to dump their unwanted dogs in our neighborhood. Our cat came from a shelter. Here are their stories:
Little Dog: Little was dumped about 1 1/2 miles from our house over 15 years ago. At the time we had a John Deere Gator that I took to the farm to check our cows. It was one of the first MTVs and it was sloooooow. We had three dogs at the time, Mia, Fred and Ethel. I would load them up and take them with me. One day, we encountered Little and he followed us home. (True story, even though Phil doubts it to this day.)
We tried to give him away, but no one wanted the poor soul. So, he stayed. A few months after he moved in he was hit by a car. (Like most dogs who live on a gravel road, he was a car chaser.) A trip to Dr. Mills showed he had a shattered pelvis. When they x-rayed him, they also found some .22 shots in his hip/leg area. Seemed someone had tried to kill him before he found us. (#meanpeoplesuck) Doc Mills fixed him up and he came home and healed nicely.
Since then he has nearly been mauled to death 3 times. Twice required extensive medical treatment and a lot of recuperation time in the house. Every time he goes to the doctor, they tell us what a good natured, vocal dog he is. He thinks he is a mountain lion and has zero fear. He does whatever he wants to. If he wants to sleep in the house, we let him. If we wants to come in 3 times a day and eat, we have his favorite canned cat food on hand. He is the sweetest natured dog I have ever known.
Caesar: This poor soul was thrown from a moving truck at our watermelon stand 10 years ago. I heard a yelp and saw him bounce down the highway. I immediately started yelling for Phil to do something. He searched the ditch line for him but could not find him. We all knew he was dead, I was mortified. Three days later, Phil and Becky were sitting at the stand and heard him whimpering. Phil found him hiding behind some brush without a scratch on him.
We had 4 dogs at the time and another one was out of the question. My parents were still living on the farm, so they took him. Unfortunately, due to my dad’s failing health they had to move to an assisted living facility just a few weeks after they took him home. He and their cat Sally, moved in with us.
Phil says Caesar has brain damage from the accident, because he is a little on the eccentric side. He can hear it thunder in Oklahoma and he is terrified of storms and we let him hide in the bathroom. He hates buzzards and chases them anytime he sees them. He chases cars. He talks to us all the time. When I come home in the evenings, he goes crazy running and barking. He runs and tells the cows I’m home. If the others aren’t around, he barks until they come home. We are pretty sure he tells on the others, we just can’t understand him.
Lily: The only girl of the bunch has been with us nine years. She and her two brothers were dumped on us. I gave her brothers away, but immediately fell in love with her and was not about to part with her. She’s part pit bull and is very protective.
Not too long after we got her, she followed me when I went to check the cows in the truck. I picked her up on the way home and put her and the others in the back. She fell out and banged up her hips. A few days later I had walked out to check the cows at the house and she was attacked by a cow. It was the most horrifying thing that has ever happened to me. Lily was still injured from the fall and could not get away. The cow had her pinned down and was trying to gore her with her horns. I started screaming, grabbed the cow by the horns and began kicking her in the face. She threw me like a rag doll. Lily had gotten up, but the cow had her down again. By this time all the other cows had gathered around. I was still screaming and kicking and hitting. That’s when the cows turned on me. They began running at me. Of course I was out in the middle of the field and it was dark by this time. The fence was my closest refuge, since I couldn’t see, I picked the spot that was covered in briars. I had no idea where Lily was or what had happened.
Phil had been in the adjoining field discing and had no idea what was going on. When he stopped for the night he could hear me and came running. It was so dark, he had no idea what was going on and I was crying too hard to tell him what had happened, he just knew it was something about Lily.
We got the truck and looked and looked for her. She was no where to be found. I was heartbroken. As we pulled up to the house, a little black head peered from behind something in the garage. Somehow, she had managed to get back to the house in all the chaos. She was hurt, her hip and pelvis were banged up, but she was alive.
That incident bonded us for life. She is 100% my dog and I am 100% her human. She loves Phil, but we all know whose dog she is. Since she is older, her hips bother her. For the last 2-3 years, she sleeps in the house at night. She is terribly spoiled, but that’s ok.
Gus: Gus, his sister and mother were dumped in our neighborhood eight years ago. We never saw his mother. Our neighbor Frankie did. He said she was pitifully skinny and sickly looking. He said he should have shot all of them, but just couldn’t. Gus and his sister showed up at our house 2 days before Christmas. I found the sister first. My family had been here for Christmas lunch and after they left we noticed a lot of barking around the barn. There she was, this beautiful yellow pup, with one gold eye and one eye that was half gold and half light blue. I scooped her up and began carrying her to the house. That’s when I heard more barking coming from the back of the house. Here was another fat yellow pup barking at the other dogs. I scooped him up as well and carried them to the garage to eat.
Immediately Phil was said no, nope, no way. No way they were staying, you better find them a home…. So I snapped some pictures put them on Facebook and hoped for the best. Nope, no takers. So Gus and Trixie became residents at Johnson Kennels.
Trixie was with us almost exactly a year, and one day we came home and there was no trace of her. We have no clue what happened to her.
Gus has nine lives just like a cat. He got into some poison a few months after he moved in. He disappeared for three days and we were certain he was dead. We scoured the woods around our house everyday and could not locate him. For some strange reason on the third day when I came home from work I called his name. Out from behind the house here he came. He was skin and bones and covered in ticks. I gave him a bath and fixed him something to eat. It took a few days, but he recovered.
He is always coming in injured. Cuts and scrapes or smelling like a skunk. He’s kind of aggressive towards other animals and has zero tolerance for anything in his territory. About 4 years ago, when I came home from work, I noticed something was off with him. He came to me, and he had blood all over him. I began looking and noticed the metal name plate on his collar was mangled and cutting into his neck. I took the collar off and discovered a huge gash.
I took him in the house and began cleaning him up. He was shaking all over. When Phil saw it, he immediately knew he had been shot. We could tell the injury was not life threatening and since Dr. Mills’ office was already closed for the day, we cleaned him up and let him sleep inside.
The next morning we were at the doctor’s office as soon as it opened. Phil was right, he had been shot. The bullet hit the metal plate on his collar, went in one side of his neck and out the other side. It was a clean shot. Dr. Bob said the collar absolutely saved his life.
Gus spent the next two weeks on the couch recovering. We never found out who shot him or why. I have my suspicions who, but no idea why. Gus is a big smooch. He loves riding in our old mule and he does not care who is driving because he will be sitting in the seat right up against you and you MUST have your arm around him. If you don’t he will root his head under your arm and you WILL put your arm around, or you won’t be driving!
Walt: Three years ago in August, I found Walt laying in the weeds on the side of the road about 1/4 mile from our house. Immediately I knew he had been dumped. Immediately I stopped the truck and got out. Immediately he ran right to me. Immediately I knew he was my dog.
About a month before, a dog that showed up at our house in April (and I fell head over heels in love with) died. She ate rat poison and died a horrible death. She died in my arms. I blamed Phil for putting the poison out where the dogs could get to it and honestly I was still mad at him. I’m pretty sure it was Divine Intervention that put Walt there that day.
Walt is pure joy. He loves everybody. He gets along with all the other dogs. If dogs can be funny, Walt is funny. He has the best expressions. He is spoiled and wonderful and I cannot imagine a life without him in it.
Roscoe: He has been with us 2 years, we think he is 3. One night about two weeks before Christmas I came home late from work, was getting groceries out of the truck and this yellow dog was laying in the yard. I thought it was Gus, and I kept calling for him to come to me, but he wouldn’t. That wasn’t like Gus. When I had finished carrying the groceries in, I went back to see what was wrong. It wasn’t Gus. He was a little bigger, had a black nose, was wearing a collar, and was hungry. We fed him, posted his picture and waited for his owner to come get him. He had been neutered, was most likely used to spending a lot of time in the house. We just knew somewhere, someone was missing him. But, they never came.
Big surprise, we wound up keeping him. Turns out he is a black mouthed cur. He is super smart and learns quickly. He wants to be a house dog so badly. We don’t let him in very much, he is much too fascinated with Sally. Lately, he stands at the kitchen door and barks and moans and we can’t bear it. We let him in. He either jumps up in the chair and lays on top of Phil or we have almost got him where he will get on Lily’s bed and stay there. One of us always knows where he is or we close Sally in the bedroom. I don’t think he would hurt her, but I’m not taking any chances.
Roscoe is kind of a loner. He plays well with Walt and leaves Little, Lily and Caesar alone. He and Gus had a rough start. He thumped Gus several times before Gus decided that Roscoe was younger and stronger and he was no longer the ruler of the roost. They get along now, but they give each other plenty of space. He would really like to be an “only” dog, but he seems pretty happy most of the time. He makes our little crew complete.
Then there’s Sally. Sally is a shelter cat I got for my dad about 12 years ago. After he and my mother retired I decided they needed a pet. Mother and I went to the local shelter and picked out two cats. One of them didn’t make it living outside. Sally did and she thrived.
Ten years ago she came to live with Phil and me. We had Shadow Cat at the time and they never got along. After Shadow died, Sally’s personality changed and she became much more sociable. Now, she runs the show. She loves to lay in the sunshine and sleep. Five out of six dogs are scared of her. Roscoe is fascinated by her. We don’t know if he wants her to be his friend or if he wants to eat her. As soon as the electric blanket goes on bed, she sleeps with us. Once she settles in, she will not move. She likes to sleep under the cover and like Caesar, she isn’t a fan of storms. Every morning she sits on the bathroom counter and helps me put my makeup on. I can’t count the number of times I have gouged my eye with my mascara because she grabs my hand about the time I start putting it on. She’s a head-butter and a purr ball. She doesn’t run and greet us at the end of the day, she waits until her nap is over. We know how we rate!
If you think you have enough dogs or cats, go to your local shelter and adopt one more. 🙂 The best friends are the ones that pick you. #lifeisbetterwithacat #lifeisbetterwithadog
Run happy. Be fierce. Be kind.