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Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

Kitty Update | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 17, 2022:

Kitty hasn’t had more than a passing mention this year, mostly because she’s become very settled and sedentary. She did, after all, celebrate her 7th birthday this spring – and in feline years, that’s mid-forties – not a kitten anymore. But she still has that unique Kitty personality, so I thought I’d give her fans a peek at what she’s up to these days.

In her maturity Kitty has become more sociable. She presents herself to David for a thirty-second pet more often and lies in his lap for short periods when he’s lying on the couch watching TV. One day I was sitting next to him on the couch, and she allowed me to pet her. I wondered if she doesn’t come to me more often because the space next to me on the love seat is usually filled with books and papers. I cleared a spot for her – actually, I moved the clutter to the floor – and she visited me once. But most of her one-on-one interaction with me involves sitting on the end table and waving her tail over my cup of coffee. Sometimes she’ll jump up on the TV trays next to my computer stand and stretch out her paw toward me. We’ll hold hands while I surf the Internet until she gets bored or gets a little free with her claws.

She’s also a bit friendlier with our neighbor Perkins. She doesn’t always run and hide under the bed when he comes over. Sometimes she sniffs his feet to see if he’s been anywhere more interesting than where we go, but mostly she ignores him and continues her nap.

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Calves | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 18, 2021:

Those of you who have been raised around cattle all your lives and know everything there is to know about these four-footed critters might want to pass on reading this column. If you choose to read on, keep in mind that the author is, as the column name indicates, a city girl and knows nothing about the bovine species – except that they are delicious when grilled and served on a bun with a little mustard and a few veggies. Given this disclaimer, you may wonder why I chose this subject. It just seemed a natural choice after several calves came to my notice recently – so if you opt to read on, be charitable.

As Spike’s official dog-sitters and his unofficial step parents – along with his small herd of cattle, we usually receive baby pictures when new calves arrive. Friday I received a text with a picture a shiny black baby girl weighing fifty pounds or so. Stella said she was born on Wednesday but disappeared soon afterward, probably hidden by her mother to protect her from the large group of buzzards that attended the birth. The baby was safe, though, because she and mama were at the fence to see Kent and Stella off when they left for home group. At lunch after church on Sunday, we discussed names for the newborn. Mama’s name is Annabelle, so the name has to include Anna. The odds-on favorite by the end of the meal was Julianna.

David and I will be staying with Spike for a few days at the end of the month, so we will be able to see Julianna in person – or at least through the fence. Considering our lack of experience with and our aversion to being stepped on by animals that weigh upwards of half a ton, others come in to feed and care for the non-domesticated livestock. All we do in that regard is count noses each morning to be sure no rustling has occurred in the dark.

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Dobby and Spike’s Excellent Adventures | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 7, 2021:

The last thing Kent told Spike before he and Stella left on their trip was to stay out of the newspaper – but I can’t help myself. Their antics are just too easy to write about.

Last week I introduced Dobby, the Lab/Great Pyrenees orphan who is living at the ranch until a permanent home can be found. He’s young and energetic and reminds me of Spike when we first became his live-in companions when he’s left home alone. I didn’t realize how domesticated and easy-going Spike has become until I met Dobby.

Walking outside when Dobby is anywhere around is an adventure in grace and agility, neither of which I possess. Like many pets, Dobby likes to walk in front of the person with him. But he takes it to an entire new level by turning at a 45 degree angle and leaning against your legs. He further complicates the process by putting his foot on top of yours at every step. At this writing, David and I have managed to stay upright, but we have twenty-four hours to go.

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Meeting Dobby | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 31, 2021:

This column is dedicated to Judge Wayne Wolfe who passed away early last Thursday morning. I didn’t know him very well, but I knew him well enough to know that he was a man who loved the Lord, his church, his family, and Rains County. The only animals I saw on his Facebook page were cattle, so a story about a dog might not be his favorite, but maybe he would relate to Dobby, a character from the Harry Potter stories who was willing to give his life in the service of those he loved. It’s true that I didn’t know a lot about Judge Wolfe, but this Facebook post from someone who knew him well says all that needs to be said: Uncle Wayne made doing the right thing seem easy even it wasn’t.

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Kent and Stella are visiting his family this week, so if you’re a regular reader, you know what that means. David and I are staying with Spike, the Great Pyrenees who chose Kent and Stella several years ago to be his family. Shortly after his arrival, we became Spike’s official dog sitters when his family travels, and now we’re more like a step family to him.

We’ve been through a lot as he grew from a willful, energetic puppy who required a strong leash and quick hands to control his wandering ways. But like most of us, Spike has become a bit heavier, a bit more settled, and a lot more fond of the air conditioning than of running in the fields. When Stella contacted me earlier this year to ask us to save this week, we expected to spend a restful week – except for the part where he stands at the window and barks at the coyotes at 3:00 am. But things have become a little more complicated since then.

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Kitty and Her Elephant | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 2, 2021:

Kitty has a collection of toys, most of which remain stashed in a lower section of her “condo” where I put them to avoid sucking them up in the vacuum cleaner. Occasionally, she’ll find a stray jingle ball and play a game of feline soccer, but these bursts of activity are short-lived and usually followed by a long nap. The one exception is her elephant. It is a three-inch square pillow made of yellow felt with two side flaps, a two-inch cord, and a small stuffed tube representing ears, a tail, and a trunk respectively.

The elephant received a cool reception when he first arrived on the scene several Christmases ago. The leopard-spotted fish was the reigning favorite at the time, but when it went missing under a piece of furniture or behind an appliance, the elephant took its place. Fame is fleeting, though, and when a new blue lamé fish appeared, the elephant was pushed aside.

The new fish was attached to a two-foot stick by an elastic cord, and Kitty sometimes enjoyed chasing it around when David or I bounced it in front of her. However, the #1 game was walking back and forth through the house with the fish in her mouth and the stick trailing along behind, especially through the kitchen. At least we knew she was coming when we heard the stick dragging across the ceramic tile. The stick also made it harder for the fish to hide under or behind things, but apparently it jumped off the bed into the crevice between the footboard and the cedar chest once too often. Disgrace followed, and the elephant reappeared.

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Rescue is a noisy business | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on May 18, 2021:

From a different event, but the one from the Expo had my thumb in it!

East Tawakoni held their first Arts & Crafts Expo on Saturday, and I was one of about fifteen vendors. Since there were no assigned spaces, I planned to get there well before the 9:00 am opening to get a prime spot. Apparently, I didn’t plan well enough, because I was almost the last one to arrive.

I parked and scouted the area before unloading. There were two rows of spaces facing each other, and when I saw an open one between two vendors, I asked if the spot was available. I was told no, that I needed to go to the end of the row. I sighed and trudged back to my car, not looking forward to the long walk carrying my table. It’s not heavy, but it’s awkward. It folds in the middle and has a carry handle, but when you’re height challenged you have to hold your arm in an uncomfortable position to keep from dragging the ground.

Then I noticed that other vendors had parked behind their booths. Even if I had to move my car after set-up, the ease of unloading would be worth it. The table went up easily, and while I was putting the finishing touches on my display, I looked around to see who my neighbors were. To my right was Sadie’s Place Animal Rescue with two beautiful, well-behaved rescue dogs, and directly across from me was My Favorite Day Dog Rescue with several cages of small dogs and a pen full of raucous black puppies. To top it off, a Kona Ice truck pulled in and parked to my left across the walkway so it could be seen from the front. I knew then that I had landed a prime spot after all. Everyone in attendance would be coming in our direction to ooh and aah over the puppies or to get a cool treat – or both.

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Crossing the Rainbow Bridge | By Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 29, 2020:

It’s not unusual for me to turn on my phone in the morning and find a text from my neighbor Connie waiting for me. She has trouble sleeping some nights, and she finds that a good time to catch up on her correspondence. Tuesday morning was a little bit different, though. I received a message in real time at 7:26 AM telling me that Floppy, their beloved canine friend, had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge a few minutes before.

David and I dressed hurriedly and walked across the street to pay our respects. We arrived as Charles was closing the grave. David helped smooth out the dirt, and we all watched as Connie scattered some flower seeds on the freshly turned earth. Throughout the day, the gravesite evolved into a site that was outlined by two tiers of fence posts and adorned with a small American flag and a stepping stone with a cross and the first lines of John 3:16. (more…)

The Dog Whisperers | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 8, 2020:

David and I haven’t visited with our dog friend Spike since February when his human family went to Israel. They were supposed to go again in June, and I’m sure they had other fun trips scheduled, but COVID messed up their plans along with those of everybody else on the planet. But life goes on, and Spike’s family was called to the bedside of a terminally ill family member in Kentucky. On Wednesday I received a text asking if we were available to stay with Spike. I took a minute to check with David to see if we had anything planned. I knew the answer since we stopped making plans after the first half of the year was cancelled, but I wanted to include him in the decision. I told her we’d be glad to come and play with our buddy whenever their schedule was finalized.

Apparently, even though travel has been curtailed, finding an affordable rental car isn’t easy. They finally left Friday afternoon, late enough that we didn’t need to go check on the big pup until after Home Group. We went to the gym after lunch, picked up a grocery order on the way home, and prepared to relocate for a few days. I don’t do much packing when we go visit Spike. Stella has a great laundry room, so I stuff the contents of my hamper into a pillow case or two, and I’m ready to go. By the time the week is over, everything is dirty again, and I pack to go home the same way.

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No Baths for the Brendles | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 5, 2019:

The earliest freeze on record in North Texas was on October 22, 1898. We missed that record by a few days, but the low temperatures last week still had lots of Rains County residents scrambling to move vulnerable plants indoors. I haven’t been part of the scramble in the past, because my indoor plants stayed in the house year round, and my outdoor plants were planted in the ground and were on their own when the temperatures dropped. This year was different.

hibiscusSince Kitty came to live with us over four years ago, her interest in all things green and leafy has caused me to limit our indoor plants to those that have been given to us for one reason or another. We have two peace lilies – one was a sympathy gift when Mom passed away, and one was a Christmas gift. I also have two Christmas cacti and an African violet that were give to me for one reason or another.

The lilies were confined to the small bathroom in the front of the house when Kitty decided they were particularly tasty and that the dirt in their pots was fun to dig in. The smaller plants have been relatively safe on the island in the kitchen except for the one time Kitty decided to dig up the violet. It must not have been as exciting as she had expected, because she hasn’t revisited it. The plant has recovered, but it hasn’t bloomed since its trauma.

Earlier this year, when our neighbor Ed built our new porch, he added a plant ledge to the front, and my friend Mary envisioned hanging baskets of red begonias. I didn’t find any affordable baskets, but I did find two hibiscus “trees” on sale. They looked beautiful on the ledge, and their continuous blooms added lots of summer color. My neighbor Connie later shared some basil with me, and I brought home a parlor palm I had received from Pastor Jason but had left at the church when I retired for fear that Kitty would eat it. Once we added furniture to the porch, I brought my indoor plants outside with the exception of the lilies. I thoroughly enjoyed my own little green space until last week when the cold fronts were predicted.

I crossed my fingers and set the cacti and the violet back in the kitchen, but I had no idea Small bathroom with plantswhat to do with the other plants. My previous experience with hibiscus plants was with two that were planted in my yard. My green-thumbed neighbor advised me to mow them down to the ground in the fall and expect them to pop back up in the spring. That worked, but I didn’t think my two would react the same way. In each of the pots, several plants had been intertwined and trimmed to form a tree shape, and I didn’t think I would get the same result if I whacked them off at the dirt.

So far, Kitty has ignored the greenery on the island, but I felt sure the larger plants on her level would be too much of a temptation for her to resist. I walked the house, looking for available space in any of her forbidden spaces. There’s the office, but she sneaks in there almost every time David opens the door, so I crossed that off the list. There’s also the middle bedroom, but between the stored furniture, the treadmill, and my inventory of books, there’s no floor space. That left the small bathroom – the really small bathroom. I have to leave space for the door to open and a little space in front of the toilet, so there’s no floor space in there either. But there is a bathtub – so that’s where the hibiscus and the palm ended up. The basil is on the counter by the sink. The plants seem to like their new home. All look healthy, and the hibiscus blooms are lasting three days instead of one, so I guess the sacrifice was worth it.

We also gave up the tub in the master bathroom several years ago when Kitty needed a second litter box. We never used the tub. It’s big and shallow, and it drains the hot water heater before the water is ankle deep. We have a separate shower, so it’s no big deal. But if someone gives us another plant or Kitty decides she needs the shower for some reason, we’re in trouble.

Blessings,

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Kitty Meets a Fan | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 30, 2019:

Greta GarboKitty is not a celebrity who seeks the spotlight. She is more like Greta Garbo, the Swedish-American movie star of the 1920’s and 30’s who is famous for the line, I want to be alone. Unlike some family pets who never meet a stranger, Kitty hides under the bed when visitors come, and even though she tries to sneak outside occasionally, she seems to prefer watching life go by from behind a pane of glass. However, the rules and regulations of society don’t favor the sensitivities of the recluse, and this week she had to go out into the world.

When she makes it outside, Kitty seems to be a prime target for fleas and other insects that make a furry feline itch. Even when she stays indoors, the pests seem to make it inside, possibly hitching a ride on jeans or shoes. Regardless of how they get there, Kitty is very aware of their presence, and so are we when she chooses to scratch in the middle of the bed at 3:00 am or when she evicts the little varmints into the couch or the carpet. (more…)

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