Today in My History
Nuts and Bolts
Books Read in 2019
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24 June 2019
Ned and Marta returned from their anniversary weekend in San Francisco, where they had wonderful weather (is there anything more wonderful than San Francisco on a clear, warm-ish day?). Bouncer was happy to see them.
It was good having Bouncer here for 3 days. Polly finally stopped snapping at her and there was even some "butt sniffing" permitted. They slept in adjoining dog beds and when Polly went outside and barked once, Bouncer would get up and join her. We left them alone while we went to the memorial service on Friday morning and again when we went off to a play on Saturday night and all seems to have gone well, so I'm no longer worried about how it's going to be when Bouncer actually lives here.
Sunday afternoon, I "discovered" Animal Planet. Oh, I've known about it forever and watch a few shows on it, but I found Zoo Secrets and was mesmerized. I just love anything having to do with animals.
I don't know how I became such an animal person but I always have been. Maybe because I was not allowed to have a pet growing up. I had a kitten for a short time, which someone gave to me when I was home sick with the measles. We named it "Socksie" because it had four white feet, but it ran away (or at least that is what I was told) and we never had another animal because my sister had allergies to pet hair.
And so I buried myself in animal books. Horse books, dog books, and any other animals as pet books I could find. I dreamed of having my own horse, but we couldn't afford for me to even go on horse rides when we were on vacation. When we drove to visit my grandparents in Inverness, there was a paddock somewhere on the road (this was pre-highway) that, when we first noticed it, had a fairly new colt and its mother. I named the colt "Brownie" ('cause I'm so good with coming up with original names), and we watched Brownie grow up over subsequent visits to Inverness. We always stopped to visit for a few minutes and I made sure we had carrots to feed the horses.
I dreamed of having a dog. I ate up all of Albert Peyson Terhune's books and so wanted a collie. I remember actually going to a dog show at the Cow Palace once, when I was in grammar school. Not sure how I convinced my mother to take me. But Lassie was the "guest star" and did "something" during down times. My thrill was meeting him/her (Lassie was always played by a male dog) on the stairs when I went to the restroom. Just me and Lassie and the trainer. Big thrill.
By that time, we had a TV (which we got in 1953, when I was 10) and I always watched the animal shows, like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin.
I moved out of our flat in San Francisco when I was 18, never having had the dog I so desperately wanted. Karen moved out a few years later and the first thing she did was to get a dog. Her allergies seemed to handle it just fine.
Walt and I didn't get a dog until we moved into a rented house and I was pregnant with Ned. We went to the animal shelter and I was determined not to return home without a dog. They only had two dogs from which to choose and though neither was what I had hoped to get, we chose the dog who would be named Ho Chi Mutt and always called Mutt. Mutt and I never had a close relationship and I swear the dog tried his best to drive me insane. My first dog experience definitely was not what I'd hoped.
But later, when we moved to the house we purchased in Oakland, my cousin Peach was raising shelties and, feeling guilty that we had now been married for 3 or 4 years and she had never given us a wedding present, she gave me a sheltie puppy. Obviously since we already had Mutt, the sheltie had to be named Jeff.
Jeff was the dog I dreamed of having. He bonded with me right away and I dearly loved that dog. He was terrified of pretty much everything, though. The first day we took him out for a walk, we ended up standing in the median strip of a busy street, waiting for the light to change. I looked down at Jeff and he had all four legs wrapped around Walt's leg. I didn't even know a dog could do that.
After that he had to be forced to go on walks and hated being out, so he was a very easy dog to have. When we moved to Davis, he had this big back yard and didn't need to leave the house at all and he was very happy, until one 4th of July, probably the first year we were here. We had gone to the park to watch fireworks and when we came home, Jeff was gone. It hadn't occurred to us to lock him in the house and I guess the noise terrified him. We don't know how he got out, but he did.
I visited the animal shelter every day for a week and saw three other shelties who had been found after the 4th of July, but no Jeff.
Then one day I got call from our vet. Jeff had been found in a tomato field in Woodland, 10 miles away. He had a license on so they knew where to take him. When I met him at the vet's office, I couldn't believe that a brown dog could be so pale.
He had torn his leg on something and the only thing that kept him from bleeding to death was that he was in a muddy field and the mud caked his leg. But his foot was in bad shape and they had to do a skin graft, moving some of his leg skin to his foot. For the rest of his life, he grew fur on his foot!
Jeff's "walkabout" changed him. He wasn't scared any more. He had survived a week or more on his own and I guess that made him braver. I don't know how much longer he lived, but several years. When his time came, I had to have Walt take him to the vets because I couldn't do it. (I got better at that over the years!)
I finally got to have my fill of dogs in the years when we fostered for the SPCA. Over five years, we probably fostered 100 dogs, and adopted three. I loved those years, but wouldn't want to do it again now, though I do miss puppy breath.
My kids never got the "crazy about animals" gene that I did.
Probably because they never were without a pet growing up. They love
animals and all have pets, but they aren't crazy about them the way I am.
Animal Planet has been just wonderful for me. Whenever I need an
animal fix it's right. there.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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