My life has been defined by animals. All sorts of animals: chickens, dogs, cats, horses, cattle, birds, wild and domesticated beings. For whatever reason, I preferred to stay home as a child while my mother and grandmother worked and when I was older and my mother married J. W., I liked the fact that he had land in Mills County filled with cattle, raccoons, squirrels and wild, tall, native grass that I later learned was bluestem.
I was a latch-key kid. And when I sped home on my Hawthorne, Montgomery-Ward bicycle, the first thing I did was play with the dog. The dog you see in the picture is Spot and he was the second dog I ever owned. He did not live long, for distemper took his life. Before him, there as a chow-mix of a dog named Toy that mother had to relocate because he ate the neighbor’s chickens. I loved that Toy and when he was picked up by a farmer that lived in Bangs, Texas, one world came to an end and I lost my innocence, not in the back seat of a Ford, but in the driveway of my home as Toy went away. To this day, I can remember his fur and his dark, black tongue.
Many events force growth and sadden our days. The loss of a loved one, four-legged or not, wounds us and we stagger into days and nights hating the loss and finding ways to forget it or ease the heart from the tear.
Many events bring growth and brighten the day. The face of a loved one upon rising in the morning, the nickering of horses in the barn and the wagging of that tail.
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On the left sidebar of the blog home page are photos of cats, dogs and horses that surround Brenda and me. All of the cats are gone now, from accident or predators. I miss each of those kitties: Fenster walked with me to the far fields like a dog, Bubbles talked to me on the road down to the barn and Painters never strayed from my side while I fed and tended the horses. Painters would lie down in the middle of the corral and the horses would walk around him.
Lottie is a schnauzer and was my mother’s pet. I brought Lottie to Mingus and she has run through every room in the house slamming her toys for attention and play.
Yeller is like Toy, my first dog, the chow-mix. I first saw Yeller across the county road, staying on the Nowack place, our neighbor to the north. Yeller loved children, but the Nowacks had several dogs already and Yeller had come from some other family or was abandoned in the country by a cold-hearted person. One day Steve Nowack tried to shoo Yeller away. Yeller crept off the property and went down the road, just out of sight of the children, and stopped. Yeller turned around and sat on his haunches and looked over the grass towards the children, wagging his tail and smiling, wanting to go back and let the smaller children ride him. I had already begun to like the old boy, but that was it: Yeller obeying to go off as instructed, but not far enough to lose sight of children. I would not let another minute go by with him unattended by a human companion.
I called him to our yard. As he saw me engaging him and then petting him, Yeller ran around in circles, merrily and merrily he went. Soon, we took Yeller to the vet and had him brought to pristine health and today, tonight as I write this post, he sits on the floor beside me. I walk him and Lottie three times a day. He is always on leash. I cannot dis-attach myself, nor do I want to, from the kingdom of animals.