Fletchy is our biggest dog, which isn’t saying much since he is just shy of 16 pounds. Whatever hurts he has been through in his past however make him the baby of the bunch. He craves security and closeness. He likes to be right next to you or in your lap but he also likes to tuck himself into odd places too. On the couch that means not just next to you, but between your ribcage and your arm, as if you are sitting with your arm around him. When he sits in your lap, he doesn’t just sit in your actual lap. He crawls up your belly and sits face to face with you with his paws almost to your shoulders. He does that to one of our neighbors too which is really funny to watch. He’s standoffish to so many people but he liked her immediately and his way to show it is to crawl up her belly every time. His other safe spots are to be nestled between you and the back of the couch. Or between your pillow and the headboard if it’s bedtime. In the car, that place is between the door and the driver’s seat. When he does that, you can see him watching the scenery as we pass block after block or mile after mile. One day it was especially nice out so I rolled down the window in our neighborhood and he rested his head on the door like this. I love this picture of him because it captures his personality well.
This is the look of a tiny tot that knows she has her parents wrapped around her tiny paws. Here she is trying to convince us to take her for a long walk. You can guess how that ended since it is impossible to say no to that face.
These gentle giants are Edward and Archer. They have some really great Proud Pet Parents. The whole family came to visit in 2011. I expected Klunkers to be receptive to guests and for Libby to be skittish. She is the one who is afraid of packages being delivered on the front steps or airplanes flying overhead. Instead, Klunkers was anti-social and did not share his space on the couch and Libby hung out with Edward and Archer like they were all the same size. She shared her toys with Archer too. He really liked her bumble bee stuffed toy so he got to take it home as a parting gift. He kept tearing it open and his parents kept sewing it together to extend its life for him. Archer is profoundly intelligent and needs to have additional games and tasks given to him to keep him from getting bored. He goes on long daily walks and weekly hikes and he volunteers weekly as well. He is a certified therapy dog to work with hospice and to work with the National Institute of Health. His food bowl is a puzzle that he has to solve in order to get the food out. He knows how to open the door when it is time to go outside and play. If you can think of it, Archer knows how to do it. His Mom is an excellent teacher and he is infinitely teachable. His big brother Edward is a big ole teddy bear. He is advanced in age so he really isn’t able to be as active as Archer but he makes up for it in heart. He does still like to fetch the ball if you throw it to him. I am especially thankful to Edward because he helped me get over my fear of big dogs. I was attacked by a Doberman the summer I graduated high school. It bit me in 3 places and my thigh required stitches and a drain where the most damage was done. I also had to get the tetanus shot because we could not verify if the dog had its shots. This is the reason all of my dogs are quite small.
Visiting here is a throwback in every sense of the word. It was the first year that Bates and Polly joined the family. This is a tiny town that gives Mayberry a run for its money. There is a vegetable garden in the backyard that has been delivering farm to table ingredients for the 70 years my Grandma has owned this home. She still gardens and she is closing in on 100. Her food is homemade. You can go an entire visit before realizing you never ate at a restaurant. The yard is enormous. Both neighbors have several acres of farmland and horses, cows or both. The front yard has 4 huge trees, perfectly distanced from one another in the shape of a square. Every summer it was the perfect baseball field for all of the siblings and cousins. On a progressive note, it was in fact my Grandma that bought this house, not my Grandpa, which was unheard of back then. They moved in when my Mom was in elementary school. Grandma still lives there and she is now in her mid-90’s. My Grandpa used to sit outside under a shade tree and watch the town drive past. Friends and neighbors would stop by unannounced regularly. It is common for passing strangers to stop and knock on the door if they ran out of gas or got a flat tire. In a town like this, you can open the door and people still help others. You can see the awesome retro Mid-Century Modern furniture in the kitchen. I think this piece of furniture is why I love all vintage things that are orange. My little orange Bates was also a fan of the orange banquette. Every time he was missing from the living room or the bedroom, we would find him not just in the kitchen, but sitting here at the table.
This little guy was blind his whole life. When we adopted him and Prancer, we put them in a crate and let them meet our other dogs that way. When we opened the crate, Klunkers walked to the nearest wall then started pacing the wall back and forth. He walked the full length of the wall a couple of times, then walked the next wall a couple of times, then the next wall and continued throughout the house. He was so smart! He was memorizing the floorplan and he could always find his way. He counted the stairs when going up, so that was the one place that he totally ignored you. He would not allow you to break his concentration there. He didn’t go down stairs however. Every morning I carried him downstairs to the yard. I felt terrible to come home one day and realize that I did not put away a 12 inch tall foot stool. Klunkers found it during the day and was “stuck”. I opened the door and he let out one of his little cooing sounds to let me know he needed to be rescued. Klunkers used his pacing technique to learn my parents home, Granny’s home, my brother’s home, and the in-laws’ home. If he ever was not sure where he was, he let out a little sound to use echo location to find his way. Klunkers traveled to 20 hotels with us and he would pace to learn each room then plop down on the bed. When he wanted to go out, he knew where the door was each time. He would also tilt his head from side to side when you talked or if he was trying to hear something outside or off in the distance. That’s what he was doing in the bottom photo here.
These two cool kids used to hang out like this no matter where I took them. Visiting anyone’s house, traveling in the car, pausing for a break while out walking in public, and especially sitting around the house like this. If they were humans, they would definitely qualify as people watchers. They always wanted to see everything and know everything, but it was most important that they saw everything and learned everything together. On the rare occasion they weren’t together, they would search for each other until they were reunited then it was back to two wagging tails. It got to the point that if one of them went to the vet, we booked both so that they could stay together for the day.
This is a very common scene at our house. The kids like to spend time in the front yard together. There’s a good deal of shade and a little sun, and a variety of textures and trees and plants and shrubs and sloping terrain. We have deer, rabbits, plenty of birds including turkeys, butterflies, bees and all kinds of wild animals that come through our yard at various times. Once I opened the front door to see a rather large snake on the sidewalk just before the porch. That’s about the only time I just slammed the door and we waited before going outside. A raccoon has been on our back porch a couple of times over the years. Water features are great, but wild animals think they are convenient too. A possum gave birth on our back porch a few years ago. Libby spotted the Mom and babies between the house and our water feature and she barked nonstop at them. Normally I don’t allow barking, but this time we let her in hopes that it would run off the visitors. Within 24 hours, the Mom had relocated the babies thankfully. Speaking of Moms, you can see Cali in the second photo in the window just watching the other kids just like they are her babies. No matter where she is in the house when it is time to take the dogs out, she will find her way to the foyer and be there waiting and watching for them. Even if it is an unscheduled walk not at their normal times she will come and watch over them. They are a very tight knit community of four. We are lucky to have them in the family.
It was obvious Polly was our tiniest dog to date when we adopted her. It really hit home when she got her first bath. She went from tiny to microscopic once her hair was wet. This is all the pup that came out of the bath for me to dry off! She was all ears! She adopted pretty well to the hair dryer on low to dry her quickly. After she was dry we went out into the yard and enjoyed the sunshine for a while. She is always curious about the yard and will stay out walking as long as you will let her.
This is Bates on the car ride home from being adopted. It rained the entire trip there and the road was closed twice for two wrecks. His rescue group was nice enough to stay open longer to wait for us. When we arrived, he just trotted right over to meet us. It’s like he instinctively knew we were his family. We knew he’d lost an eye but only learned when he was missing quite a few teeth that day. He did not have any teeth on the top or bottom rows from canine tooth to canine tooth, and he was missing a few on the side. We brought Libby to meet him first, then we brought Fletch over to meet him. We brought a new dog bed for Bates to have his own space on the ride home, but he barely sat in it. Libby sat in the driver’s seat, Fletch in the passenger’s seat, and Bates on the center console. Luckily in my car it is flat and wide so he was comfortable. We stopped for a walk at a picnic area on the way home. Libby and Fletch were curious and sniffed Bates’ stitches where his eye was removed. We got back into the car and everyone assumed the same positions as if it was the 100th car ride together. This trip covered the 21st and 22nd states for Libby. Bates was exactly one week from meeting his best friend and soulmate. (See previous post)