Posted in dogs, Stories

Grrr

I was out one after noon walking two big brown dogs. One of them, Samson is ours. The other, Kennedy, is my daughters. They’re almost twins.

A hundred yards into our walk around the block, a miniature version of my dogs caught wind of our approach and came over to check us out. He must have been visiting, because I hadn’t seen him before. I braced myself, unsure of how hard my two would pull on their leashes. The little guy trotted over with his hackles up, but the initial sniffing was cordial.

Until the smaller dog snapped, warning us to stay away from his yard. The two bigger dogs woofed but took a step back, unsure of their next move. Really? O come on. He’s not more than a snack for you two beasts. Whatever. We’ll just ease on down the road.

So my question is, why does a little dog like that feel like they can take on a much bigger pair of opponents? And why are the big dogs afraid of such a small antagonist?

I guess dogs don’t pay that much attention to size. It more about territory. If you’re on my home field, I don’t care how big you are, I’m coming after you. You can pee on my mailbox post, but I’m just going to cover it as soon as you leave. I’m defending my home turf no matter what!

The big dogs are thinking, “<pant> <pant> You’re not much fun. Later.”

Posted in dogs, Sunday

We want to go back to bed.

I settled into my Sunday morning routine quite a few years ago. The first of our two weekly worship services is at 8:15 am. The musicians for that first service arrive to warm up between 7 and 7:20. So if I want the place to myself to run through my sermon, I need to start practice preaching about 6:30. I like to have about an hour to eat some breakfast, shower, get dressed and drive to over to the church. So I’ll get going with all that about 5:30. Plus, after I feed and walk the dog, I like to have some time for my own personal devotions, prayer and journaling, so I set my alarm for 4:30 am. That’s why I always look so awake when y’all arrive for worship. I’ve been up for about four hours.

But that’s not what this post is all about.

My routine was a little different today. You see, my daughter’s dog is spending the weekend with us. So I had two large brown dogs to tend to first thing this morning. No problem. They play, sleep and bark at everyone together. After feeding and walking them, I made my coffee and sat down with my Bible and journal. I figured they would lie down and relax.

Didn’t happen. My wife was still asleep having worked till 11 the night before. We tried to be quiet, but lapping up a quart of water is surprisingly noisy. Toenails ticking on the floor is surprisingly noisy, too, as they sniffed here and there and just couldn’t get settled. They noised our bedroom door over and over again, and I finally figured out what they wanted. They wanted to go back to bed!

I turned off the lights and quietly opened the door. They hurried in, circled around in their beds a few times, and noisily collapsed for a few more hours of shuteye.

It was finally quiet. They probably thought I was nuts to be up so early. I’m sure they’re not the only ones.

Posted in dogs

Turkey necks!

I’ve been buying frozen marrow bone slices for my dog at Publix for years. He loves chewing them and I am certain that they are great for keeping his teeth clean. Someone somewhere discovered a market for marrow bones among dog lovers, so the price has steadily increased. The last batch I bought went for $2.19 a pound!

However, marrow bones are not always easy to find at my neighborhood Publix. Over time I have established that the truck delivers them on Thursday nights and they may be available on Saturday morning, but you better get their early. They are popular!

For the past two weeks, I’ve been looking for a new supply of marrow bones. But the meat case where I usually find them has been filled with turkeys for Thanksgiving. And not just turkeys. Turkey necks. Piles and piles of packages of turkey necks. I asked myself, “What in the world do people do with turkey necks?”

Well, it turns out you can do a lot with turkey necks. You can sear them, roast them, eat them and enjoy them. But most importantly, you can give them to your dog!

What? You don’t give turkey bones (or chicken bones) to your dog! Do you want a boatload of trouble? Well, as it turns out, dogs love them and it is fine to give raw ones to your dog. I learned about it here. Cook them, and you might have trouble. Frozen or dried? A treat!

I am not the first to discover this treat. The packs of turkey necks at our Publix are selling for $3.49 a pound! Yep, someone is making a fortune on something many people simply tossed out in the garbage. Never again. My doggo will now also get some turkey necks!

Posted in dogs

“Here are some treats.”

My dog Samson and I had just headed out for a longer walk yesterday afternoon when a neighbor unloading her car said, “Hey, I’ve got something for you!” I don’t know her name, but I am certain we’ve waved at each other before. She handed me a grocery bag and said, “Here are some dog treats. We just had to put our dog down, and you’re the first one I saw, so you can have them.”

The words put our dog down immediately tugged at my heart. In an instant I pictured every single one I ever had to put to sleep. I said, “I know that’s hard. How old was your dog?”

“She was thirteen-an-a-half; just a little Yorkie.” As far as I’m concerned, the words “just” or “little” aren’t appropriate for describing our dogs. Each one claims significant acreage in our hearts, regardless of their actual size or age. That brief moment of sharing spoke volumes. But all I could say was, “Thank you so much!”

Sam and I talked about the encounter as we continued our walk. Well, he just listened, as I reflected how nice it was to take home an extra bag of treats and what a good dog he was.

Posted in dogs

The right spot

As anyone who has ever had a dog knows, it takes a while to find “the right spot.” You know, for number one or number two. And you also now that the worse the weather is, the longer it will take to find that perfect spot.

Like this past Wednesday, when hurricane Dorian was a mere eighty miles off the coast. The bands of wind and rain started early in the morning and came in rapid succession. Just before sunrise, there was a lull in the action and I thought, “This is perfect.” I got up, fed the dog, and we headed out on our usual morning walk.

As we left the garage, I reminded Samson, our Florida brown dog who absolutely, positively does not like the rain, “The sooner you finish up, the sooner we’ll be back inside.” The street was deserted, the swales weren’t too full, I saw countless places where he could take care of business. On this morning, though, nothing nearby would do. Nope, we have to walk about two hundred yards to find today’s “right spot.”

The wind is kicking up, the trees are waving in the gusts of wind, branches and pine needles are raining down on us, and a few drops of rain began to fall. We kept walking. And sniffing. And walking. And sniffing. I knew our window of opportunity would soon close.

Finally, we found the right spot, a quarter-mile from the house. I thought it looked like so many others we passed. But what do I know (or smell). We made it back home unscathed.

This morning, two days since the storm, the sky was clear. The air was still. Naturally, “the right spot” was just across the street, a one minute walk from the house. Go figure.

Posted in dogs

Brown dog security company

Brown Dogs

The two brown dogs guarding our home raise the alert status to Defcon 5 about every fifteen minutes or so. Growls, woofs and urgent barks echo through the house for any of the following reasons.

  • The mailman is delivering the mail.
  • The garbage man has arrived.
  • The UPS man has arrived.
  • The Fedex guy has arrived.
  • The neighbor across the street has opened his garage door.
  • The neighbor has closed his garage door.
  • Our garage door has opened.
  • The neighbor from down the street is walking by.
  • The neighbor from down the street is walking by with a dog.
  • The neighbor from down the street is riding by on a bicycle.
  • A car door opens.
  • A car door shuts.
  • A squirrel runs across the fence.
  • Something sounds like a knock at the door.

This is the short list. I am sure there are many more in the Florida Brown Dog home security manual.

Posted in dogs, Ministry

“Can we play with your dogs?”

Two Labrador dogs

We lived on the end of the row while I was doing my vicarage (internship) in Baltimore, so we actually had a yard in-between us and the church. It wasn’t a big yard, but was fenced in so the dogs could be out there.

We also lived right across the street from an elementary school. I was told that over six hundred children lived in the nine-square blocks about the school. I don’t doubt that estimate. There were always kids coming and going, running and laughing.

And knocking at our door. You see, we had the dogs. We brought the yellow Lab, Gabriel, with us. We brought home a chocolate Lab, Rachel, a few months after we arrived in the city. They were great companions at home, on walks and when I went for runs. They were great watchdogs, too. Right after we arrived, a repairman came to the house to fix a lock. Gabriel had him pinned against the wall with a snarl I had never seen before.

And the neighborhood kids loved them. It was not unusual to hear a knock at the door and find 18-20 kids on the front step asking, “Can we play with your dogs?” We would let them out in the side yard and the dogs would chase the herd of kids to one end of the yard, and then the kids would chase the kids to the other end. The smaller children would ride the dogs around the yard like ponies. The kids would throw balls and sticks, and then try to wrestle them away from the dogs.

I’m not sure who loved it more – the kids or the dogs. Finally the kids would tire or have to go home, and the dogs would collapse, exhausted and happy, panting with their tongues rolled out on the floor.

We were there over thirty years ago, yet I can still vividly remember the sound of gunfire from a passing car, the all night conversations and music passing by our window, and those excited little voices asking, “Can we play with your dogs?”