Published in the Rains County Leader on August 1, 2017:
I met a new friend this week. Becky owns a one-operator beauty salon outside of town, and she is very popular at the Senior Center for her Senior Thursday haircuts. She’s also very interesting to talk to.
While she was working on my unruly curls, she mentioned that her son might be going to college on a scholarship, that is, if he agreed to continue training pigs for the show ring. Training pigs? I knew that pot bellied pigs could be domesticated and even trained to use a litter box, but I had trouble imagining them jumping hurdles in an agility ring or responding to commands in an obedience ring. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 18, 2017:
After reading last week’s column about our exciting first day of dog sitting with Spike, one of my readers commented that she couldn’t wait to read the next chapter. There’s good news and bad news about that. The good news is that Spike and David both behaved themselves while I was away on a weekend retreat. The bad news is that good behavior doesn’t usually make very interesting reading.
Not that he was a complete angel. David didn’t mention any nighttime barking while I was gone, but he has a tendency to sleep more soundly than I do. Spike continued to wake me every night around 3:00 or 3:30 am for no apparent reason other than that he was awake and thought everyone else should be, too. Thankfully, he quieted down pretty quickly. One morning when he waited until 5:00 to make his voice heard, I lay down on the couch – more because I was too tired to walk back to the bedroom than out of compassion for the noisy dog – but most nights I scolded him into silence and went back to bed. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on October 4, 2016:
I first heard the phrase “cat TV” from Jackson Galaxy on his show, “My Cat from Hell.” He was referring to the practice of providing a window seat of some kind for indoor cats so they can watch the outside world in safety. Kitty would have been more accurately described as being from Purgatory rather than from Hell, but since at that point we were in the process of socializing her, we cleared some surfaces, made a few furniture adjustments, and gave her access to all the windows in the main living area except the one over the kitchen sink. She has spent many happy hours, perched on her Kitty condo or on various pieces of furniture, watching local wildlife and passing neighbors. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 19, 2016:
Yes, Kitty’s transition is complete. Two weeks ago I wrote about her increasing but still limited freedom. We had recently been testing the concept of leaving her loose to roam the living areas during the day when we were gone. Shortly after that column, due to her excellent behavior or her uncanny ability to climb on forbidden surfaces without disturbing anything or leaving incriminating paw prints, she earned her daytime freedom. However, she was still confined to the laundry room at night. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 12, 2016:
Around this time last year, I wrote a column about a Christian women’s retreat I had attended. I returned late this past Sunday evening from the 2nd Annual Retreat of a group of women who now call themselves The White Chapel Girls. My original intention was to write about my trip there and back with three women who have become close friends. However, the joy of silly jokes that made us laugh until we cried and the freedom of being with friends you can trust with your deepest feelings can’t be described in a few words. That’s why I decided to re-run last year’s column with a few differences noted.
I just returned from four days at the F & H Goat Ranch, so named because of the fat and happy goats that populate the front pasture of the five-acre spread about twenty miles north of Kerrville. The owner, Julee White, retired from the Dallas rat race and social scene fifteen years ago so she could move closer to family and devote herself, in part, to making the dreams of her two nephews come true. When those dreams included goats for an FFA project, Aunt Julee provided both the goats and living space for them. I don’t think the project was very successful, but the goats didn’t mind. They stayed on at the ranch, invited some friends, and became – well – fat and happy. (more…)
Last Wednesday was National Dog Day. David and I spent the last two weeks house and pet sitting with Spike, a Great Pyrenees mix who weighs in at close to a hundred pounds. He’s a sweet dog and fairly obedient when he wants to be, and I should have done something in honor of his special day. I didn’t, though, and maybe that’s why he gave me such a hard time Thursday morning. (more…)
Earlier this summer, I wrote about our adventures while house sitting for the Larsons. They have a beautiful home, a few cows, and a Great Pyrenees fur baby named Spike who doesn’t like to be left home alone. When the Larsons recently hit the road, we took up temporary residence again. As any parent knows, children are on their best behavior the first time they meet new people, but once they are comfortable, they tend to show off a bit. Dogs are apparently no exception, and Spike provided lots of writing material this time.
He was really easy to care for. He has a 65-acre yard, so there was no walking involved, and as long as there was a bowl of food and a bucket of fresh water on the patio, he was a happy dog. There were a few restrictions, though. When we left, we tethered him on a twenty-foot lead that allowed him access to both the covered patio and plenty of grass in case of potty emergencies. This arrangement also ensured that he wouldn’t follow us down the driveway and out the gate. The problem came when he didn’t want to be tethered. (more…)