Monday, August 24, 2015


Over the weekend our valley filled with smoke from regional wildfires. Nevertheless, the dogs and I walked twice a day, and sometimes I carried the camera. The pictures here were taken Sunday, Aug. 23.

Mike left early Friday (Aug. 21) to attend the memorial service for his mother in Camden, Arkansas. He met sons Murray and Yancey at the Little Rock airport and they drove from there to Camden.

But – that isn’t my story. I stayed behind to take care of the dogs. And no one knows better than Bess and Nellie that I’m really not a dog disciplinarian. With a few whimpers, a push of the snout, or a soulful look, I can be had. We walked twice a day. We ate more than that. And I became adept at eating out of many dishes so that both dogs got a fair share of the lickings.

Walking the dogs has practically become a two-person event because Nellie lags behind while Bess is up ahead. It may surprise you to know that I am the fast walker and keep Bess in sight while Mike walks more slowly behind with Nellie. Especially on the return, Nellie slows way down, but we notice that if we put a leash on her, she steps right along.

Well, the other day as we were on the return side of our walk, Bess spied a jogger with dog up ahead and she was there! She took off running, and I whistled for her – an exercise in futility. After she and the stranger greeted, she continued running on down the road instead of coming back to me. Whistling was useless. As I continued at Nellie's moderate pace, I couldn’t imagine what was going through Bess’ dog mind to make her run like that, but then it occurred to me that we seldom blow the whistle during our walks. We whistle for her at the back door. I realized that the whistle drew a mind-picture of the house and that was likely where I would find her. Sure enough! When I got home, there she was. “Why did you want me to come here,” she seemed to ask. I commended her for coming home. I mean – what can you do?

That wasn’t as upsetting as what happened with Nellie. She and Bess went out Friday night after supper. Bess came back; Nellie didn’t. I assumed she would be right along and didn’t worry. Some minutes later, the phone rang. “Do you have a white shorthair,” the caller asked. “She’s in my back yard.” The man was really a neighbor located across the field from us, but in order to expedite matters, I drove there. As he escorted Nellie through the gate of his fenced yard, she took took off running across the street and into another back yard. From there she disappeared. I realized she was upset and just didn’t recognize me. I drove back home, got the leash, and headed out on foot. As luck would have it I found her half a block away and had no trouble getting her home. I should have kenneled her at that point, but I didn’t have the heart.

Then we had another adventure Sunday morning. As usual, Bess was a bit ahead while Nellie lagged behind. Lagging is one thing, but she wasn’t coming at all, so I turned back to “encourage” her. I saw her struggling somewhat in the middle of a weed patch, so I approached her to see what the trouble was. She was in a patch of puncture weeds. She would try to chew them out, but when she put her foot back down, she just picked up more. I had no choice but to pick her up and carry her out of that area. She hates to be carried, but it had to be done, and I was grateful I could do it. Once I cleared her feet of the puncture weeds, I discovered the soles of my shoes were just a solid mass of them.

Don’t you think I deserve a reward, though? I was thinking of adding Maryellen Larkin to my staff. KW


Hallie said...

I hate those darn puncture weeds! That must have been the saddest thing you've ever seen--poor Nellie stuck in them. I'm glad you got her out and I hope they didn't ruin your shoes. It's so smoky there you can't even see the sky! I wonder if you should get an air purifier for the house.

Kathy said...

The paper said if you didn't have an air conditioner you should consider an air purifier. I think we're okay.

Puncture weeds are terrible -- the cyclists' bane. No permanent damage was done to my shoes.

It's true -- the sky is hidden from view. After a while, it begins to affect one's mood. But -- we carry on to do what we have to do.

Chris said...

I hope have already ordered Maryellen! What fun!!! (The doll, not the, um, escapades of the four-footed doggies.) I may be tempted to order her myself. Shades of our youth. And to which home should I post your birthday card?

Kathy said...

Hi Chris! We went to Gilbert this morning but discovered the smoke to be worse than in town. We knew we shouldn't stay -- just did some chores and headed back to town. The card should come to town. Thank you!

It was actually through your example that I was encouraged to become an adult collector of dolls. I put it off for a while, not wanting to be a copy cat, but then I went for it. There's room for all of us here. Maryellen's official release date is August 27, and apparently there are no pre-orders.

Oh! that would be such fun if Maryellen lived at your house, too. Can you come over?

Chris said...

I just watched a video of her and all her accessories. Only one of the outfits piqued my interest, but she would be soooo fun to sew for! We would definitely have to get the girls together and sew for them! I think I would change the name of mine to Mary Kathleen, the name Mom had picked out for me until Dad made his suggestion after I was born. Yes, I was named by my Dad. :-)

Kathy said...

Oh -- I don't want to buy her clothes either. Well, maybe shoes. But I'm already collecting patterns and fashion ideas on Pinterest. I think Mary Kathleen would be a lovely name for your "Maryellen." We are at liberty to develop our own story lines.

My mother named me. She didn't know until I was six that my dad wanted to name me "Ray." Mike named all our kids, though I did exercise veto power.

A friend told a wonderful story about naming a baby. They had chosen a name, he thought, and when the baby boy arrived, his wife said, "Oh, but that isn't who this is," and another name was chosen. I sorta wish I'd thought of doing that.

Chris said...

I have a friend who left the hospital with each of the three boys unnamed. They waited a week or more each time to decide what name fit. Gus, Zeb and Lute fit them perfectly!