Dogs, Cats and raising a family

Welcome to the ‘new’ site for Da Flikkers blog. After ‘NEW’ Blogger ‘Changed’ and became a real dog to work with. After 6 1/2 years with blogger (blogspot), I have moved laterally to WordPress, where I have had a few auxiliary blogs for a period of time with no problems. Hopefully this move will prove more pleasant, less frustrating to compose and post articles of daily/weekly or monthly interest.

For all of our family life, we had Dogs, and Cats. The three boys, now productive, self reliant men, with wonderful families, assets to our nation, learned their valuable social skills while living with and observing our various loving Dogs. The dogs (and to a somewhat more independent degree, the Cats:>) taught us about the best things in life. The boys learned to care for and routinely walk the dogs and maintain the animals (we also raised Chickens:>)

Boys also had various Rabbits, birds and Hamsters?, even yearly Tarantulas and Vinegaroons, plus one ‘Child of the Earth’ (big weird insect) we found while crossing Oklahoma,  to round out the ongoing menagerie. Wife was very understanding. Not so much, after one big Tarantula (ate crickets) crawled out of it’s clear ‘Timex’ display case….. and slept on her pillow next to her face all night.

A large Vinegaroon (looks like a big Scorpion, smells like Vinegar) was never found, after it escaped into the house closets. A big Centipede, was respected and released after inquisitive inspection. Various Lizards spent the night in a shoebox before being released the in a day or so (their numerous descendants still roam the rock gardens). Box Turtles (Desert Tortoise) have been wife‘s back yard playmates (she hatched and raised five, from eggs) for countless years.

A very active neighbor lady in her 80’s, once wisely said to us, after discussing numerous deadly Pit Bull attacks around the state, “Show me the Dog and I will show you ‘The Owner”. She worked around and maintained pets at the local shops for many years. She was raised in Chicago, was competitive ‘Roller Derby’ :>) Her life was military medical, until retirement. She never married, still lives alone, working at the local pet store across the street from her condo. She was so right about Dogs..

Our first dog came into the family with my wife. She brought ‘her family’s dog with her as her parents were moving to an apartment. A small dog, it crawled under the bed each night to signal for us to come to bed. When it showed territorial instincts, it was given to an elderly man where it crawled under his bed. This signaled nice relationship.

The next dog was a puppy that hid under a bureau in the owners home. Eventually it too crawled under the bed each night. Every night it ran around the entire yard, checking for any ‘buggers’. One night it found a stranger, barking like crazy it drove the man out and over the back wall. He was a neighbor ‘peeping tom’. It left the safety of the car at a gas station after we owned it for years and was abducted within minutes, to the tearful dismay of my wife.

Next was the Pomeranian that fit into my wife’s purse. While traveling, it knew to be quiet in hotels and slept on my socks by the bed. When it needed to go out for relief, it quietly pawed the bed and panted. After 12 years of loving companionship for the family, the Pom was euthanized at a vet’s office due to a medical condition.

We were ‘temporarily’ given a little puppy. A medium sized, white Alaskan ‘Spitz’, to care for, until the young waitress at the restaurant I frequented, got back on her feet after her divorce. We had that little dog for over 14 years. Took her longer than expected? It was the happiest dog, after wife had it’s abscessed tooth pulled, then especially after wife fitted it with a knitted winter sweater, it wagged it’s tail incessantly for 2 days. For it’s entire life, It would NOT go into any shelter, except to eat from the always filled, communal Dog’s dish in the greenhouse. It preferred instead curling up in the middle of the yard, covered in winter snow. Maybe why it was ‘Alaskan’?

The +100# big Dog, Chow (with Blue tongue and mouth) cross Shepard, was super sweet and slept on a big bed in the greenhouse. Picked by youngest son, raised from a puppy (animal humane society), It enjoyed life with the Spitz as it’s constant backyard companion. Wife‘s little Pomeranian (inside dog) while outside adventuresome, would obnoxiously bark up at Chowdog’s chin, until the huge Chow placed a big old paw on the little Pom, and pushed it down into the grass.

The Cat (we had several in sequence over the years) would lurk above the Chow, until it passed by the grill or high place, leaping onto the Chow’s big wooly back, riding it around the yard for a few seconds. As a little kitten, it grabbed the big furry leg of the Chow and clung to it, while the Chow walked calmly around the grassy yard. Whenever a wandering dog chased the venturesome cat, it leaped over the fence, into the back yard, while Her Big Chow Dog violently slammed against the gate, Bear growling, with it’s deep barks and scaring away Any stray dog.

This repeated for Every dog that dared to chase the cat. The cat always then sat smugly, in the protection of ‘her’ yard dog, watching the loud ruckus it had caused. The pet store lady walked a small dog named Bingo (she bought it with her winnings). It and the cat played in the front yard whenever visitation was easy. The big Chow just watched the two play and condoned the entire event, while wagging it’s tail. 

The little white Alaskan Spitz had been abused as a small puppy and was kicked, like a little football….. by her ex husband’s…. ‘Boyfriend’….
The waitress brought it to our home to save it’s life. It rightfully distrusted and feared men, only staying around my wife. Eventually it accepted me and our sons. One time, out of vanity, I was fitted with a hairpiece. I came into the back yard and knelt down to pet the little Alaskan Spitz dog. It gently raised up, rolled back it’s lips and tugged the hairpiece off of my head :>)

Another time, I had mysteriously gotten a small growth on the back of my leg. The little Alaskan Spitz dog came over to me while I was wearing shorts. It stared intently at the growth for a short time, then pushed it’s cold wet nose against it for several seconds. It stopped growing… eventually diminished away to where never noticed. Hmmmm

On the list of ‘Critters’ the boys raised, one notable pet was HABIB…… the young Turkey. Acquired at a Turkey farm, paid for by son’s generous grandfather, she was one ‘Hot Chick’ when we brought her home. I constructed a harness that allowed Habib (natural wild Turkey coloration) to be walked like a dog under city legal ‘control’. Habib (a Hen) learned the leash quickly. When it came time to go for a walk, she recognized her harness and knew that an exiting time was about to occur. She did not run away, instead watching intently and standing still as we prepared her harness.

On the ‘Show and Tell’ days at Son’s elementary school, with uncountable hamsters, dogs and rabbits, including cats of every type, Habib was the star hit. Kids gathered around to pet her feathers and feel the blue and red pendulum wattle around her face. She had big strong feet and long eyelashes that blinked adoringly at young son. He gathered and prepared her daily egg (big heavy textured one) for his breakfast each morning. Standing at the stove, which was almost as tall as himself, he enjoyed scrambled Turkey egg.

At night she slept in the greenhouse with the chickens. During the day she roamed as a ‘Freebird’ around the yard. Endlessly pecking at countless bugs, while scratching up the ground in a manner that apparently impressed the chickens. They followed Habib everywhere she went. Her big clawed feet worked marvelously in bringing up morsels hitherto inaccessible to the chickens. To put it mildly, she had a following of adoring fans that became thoroughly impressed by her ‘skills’.

As our old pickup truck approached the house, she ran alongside, doing her loud ‘BUCK’— BUCK’. No real Gobble, just ‘BUCK’. She recognized the green GMC. No other trucks or cars elicited any response after she scanned them for recognition. The green GMC truck was her ticket to adventure. Riding in the back, on field trips to whatever, was Habib’s vacation time.  Long live Habib. Turkeys are Good all year, not just for Thanksgiving and Christmas (BTW… we didn’t eat her) :>)

Habib became ill and disoriented, laying on the ground with breathing difficulties. After several attempts to rehab her, the decision was made to ‘euthanize’ the suffering bird… with a shovel whack to the head. Burial services were attended by the family (and chickens), held in honor of her productive life and contributions to the family.
She was about one year of age, when her health ‘deteriorated‘. She was blessedly spared from the humiliation of a relatively drab nursing facility in her last years. Productive to the end, she was a prosperous and happy old bird :>)

One son and wife have a more citified back yard where they often entertain guests. Son had a ‘Blue Healer’ when he married wife, she feared for the approaching babies, as the territorial dog reacted naturally. No more pets there. Other son and family have a Dog, sometimes cats (Coyotes get ’em) and now chickens. Other son and family, lives in a city, but he now has allergies that keep pets from the premises.

As we moved into this (then new) neighborhood long many years ago, the people (wives) already living here (Jr Leaguers, now all divorced?) watched in horror, as we unloaded the old pick up truck. Chickens and even our treasured compost pile, were inserted into the back yard and a fence installed to keep the ‘livestock’ from roaming. The ‘clique’ ladies all conspired against friendly wife, who walked the neighborhood happily greeting her new neighbors. They privately referring to Her as, ‘Those People’.

We found this out years later, as a few wives (after moving away) became her longtime friends, even to this day.
One Big Red rooster crowed each pre-dawn morning. I ran out in the darkness and placed a big bucket over it, until it stopped crowing, muffled enough to prevent the neighbors any undue stress. Big Red attacked wife while she was gardening. Big mistake. She took her broom and slammed it a few times. It still glared and strutted around, but left her alone after that lesson in submission. Finally we gave it to a neighbor that tried to eat it. Reportedly a very tough bird, maybe pressure cooking would have helped?

Chickens are allowed by city law, Roosters fall under ‘noise’ ordinance. One neighbor has chickens now. She offers eggs from time to time. As chickens are prone to do, they all ‘Cluck’ and proudly announce the birth of each ‘new’ egg each day :>)

Such is life in the greatest nation ever in history.

The United States of America. One Nation Under God.


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