Bentley The Pervert

If you read Maggie, Our Loving Mini-Goldendoodle carefully, you noticed my mention of Bentley the pervert in one of the captions.

We only had Bentley for a short time. He was big and full of mischief.

Bentley was a golden retriever-collie-Labrador-? mix. He definitely wasn’t a purebred golden. We found Bentley online and when we went to meet him we should have turned around and left. Neither of us could do it. He was big, playful and friendly and his owners were desperate to find a new family for him.

Bentley liked riding in the car. We stopped on the way home to get a large crate for him. I waited in the car with Bentley while my wife went into the store. I patted his head, looming large from the back seat. I spent as much time talking to myself as to the dog. “This is going to be okay, we’ll be fine, he’ll calm down…”. I don’t think I believed myself.

We bought a pizza for dinner and when we arrived at home Bentley quickly searched his new habitat. He trotted back in the kitchen and helped himself to the pizza we left sitting on the counter. He didn’t even have to reach. His head was level with the pizza so he knew we obviously left it there for him. The beautiful pizza was gone in seconds.

Our little Heidi was in her fourteenth year and really slowing down. Bentley didn’t understand respect for the elderly at all. He pinned Heidi to the floor with one foot and she couldn’t move. To Bentley Heidi was a living chew toy. The handwriting was beginning to take shape on the walls. All of them.

Bentley had a serious biting problem. He wasn’t biting to cause pain, he was playing. But his biting hurt!! A couple of times I grabbed him and pinned him to the floor and said, “No!” in his face. Bentley’s interpretation of that was, “This is fun! Biting means wrestle time!”

Our house had a central wall area that created an open runway from the kitchen to the dining room, through the living and laundry room and back to the kitchen. When my wife was doing laundry Bentley grabbed a sock and knew how to stay just far enough away from her to make her chase him. He went to the opposite side of the dining room table and stared. What a pill!

One redeeming quality Bentley had was he loved to walk and was terrific on a leash. He didn’t pull until he was choking like some dogs. He let us hook him up and walked a comfortable distance ahead within the length of his leash. Walks with Bentley were pleasant.

The final straw finally arrived. I was playing with Bentley in the house. He had a toy we were tossing and chasing which ultimately landed in his big crate and Bentley wouldn’t retrieve it. He was scheming and I should have recognized it. The only solution was to crawl into the crate and get the toy for him, which I did.

I was no sooner in the crate reaching for the toy when Bentley the pervert jumped on my back trying to hump me with all the gusto of a super-stud in a corral of available canines. I started screaming “Get off me you stupid dog!!” and trying to kick at him with no effect. My wife was laughing so hard all she could do was yell, “Stop! Hahahaha! Stop!”

I finally was able to back out of the crate with this beast still thrashing and when I stood up he was so tall he hung on to my shoulders! I was still hollering at him and trying to get away when I gave him an elbow in the chest. The assault was over. So was Bentley’s stay with us.

We put an ad in the paper for Bentley and within a day or two had a better home for him. He moved to a farm with sixty acres to explore and another big dog to play with.

Bentley the pervert was gone. That was ten years ago. I wonder if he’s still running on the farm.

Maggie, Our Loving Mini-Goldendoodle

Many months ago I began writing blog posts about the dogs we have loved. We both grew up owning dogs so our love of these precious animals began long before we knew each other.

Nine years ago after my wife suffered the terrible loss of her younger brother whom she loved dearly, this little one came to bring healing. On the way home from Indiana where she joined us, she crawled up behind my wife’s shoulders and went to sleep.

We realized Maggie was very intelligent as you can see by the “why aren’t you feeding or petting me?” look, and that she would be in charge.

We learned from our very first puppy it wasn’t a good idea to let Maggie sleep with us even if she whined. Right.

We used a small cage to train Maggie so she had her own little bedroom. Bedtime wasn’t a problem, but every morning she woke about forty-thirty or five o’clock and started whining. We kept her in a separate bedroom so I went in, laid on the floor next to her and put my fingers through the grate. She always went back to sleep.

Maggie loves to play and our house often looks like we have a toddler. Which really is true. She has a lot of toys but has a few favorites that she plays with most of the time. Just like a child.

Maggie is all grown up. She goes everywhere with us and loves to travel. We have to spell words like go, ride, her, and take. Problem is, she knows how to spell. She caught on pretty quickly.

Any actions out of the ordinary and she starts following us around the house. Her ears are up, she watches carefully and waits for key words like leash.

We had a speed boat for a few years and Maggie loved it. We bought her a life vest she wore proudly. She sat on my wife’s lap and kept her nose high in the air for all the luscious smells at the lake.

Maggie wants to go for a ride anytime, anywhere, no matter how short or long. I put her in our pickup just to move it from the driveway to the grass. She was as happy as could be just to go that far.

Maggie keeps a very close eye on the neighborhood. She has a huge voice for such a little dog at just twenty-seven pounds. She’s learning, at long last, she’s not supposed to bark at everyone. She sasses instead. It’s like a talking growl. In spite of her growl, everyone is a friend she expects to pet her.

Two years ago, my wife was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. She went through six months of chemo-therapy and three months of radiation. Maggie stayed very close to her, and still does. If I say, “Where’s Mama?” she immediately goes to find her.

We celebrated Maggie’s ninth birthday last April. Last night my wife asked me if I thought Maggie is starting to slow down. Sometimes she tries to jump on the bed and doesn’t quite make it. She still loves to chase a frisbee in the back yard so I don’t really think she’s slowing down. Maybe just a little.

Every night, my wife and I pray together before we go to sleep. And every night I say, “Maggie, let’s pray with Mama.” Maggie might be sound asleep on the couch but when I say it’s time to pray she comes running. She lays down between us with her head down. We didn’t teach her to do it, she just does. When we’re finished praying she goes to the end of the bed to sleep. She’s pretty special.

Of all the dogs who have loved our family, Maggie stands out. She is probably the most needy, but also the most loving furry companion we have ever had. She came just when we needed her and has been loving us ever since.

I told my wife that when it’s time to hold this one in our arms as tears stream down our cheeks, it’s going to be our last time to say goodbye to one of these precious gifts. Maggie loves so much, demands a lot, but has nothing on her mind other than wanting to be close to us. I can’t imagine that ever being repeated and it will be just too hard to let her go.

Discover Prompt Day 11: Bite, Bites, Bitten, Biter

I was only bitten seriously by a dog one time. Obviously, the dog wasn’t anything like these two. The only biting they do is on chew toys or each other. No, this dog had a look in his eyes I should have avoided.

I won’t say what kind of dog it was, it really doesn’t matter. Every dog has the ability to bite, some have not been trained well enough to resist the urge. I was at the home of some friends who had two dogs. One was very friendly, the other not so much. I was there all afternoon watching football. I was sitting on the couch, the dog was laying at my feet. Everything was good.

My two hosts left the room and the dog immediately rose and stood right in front of me. I shouldn’t have looked into his eyes. When I did, in a flash all I saw was teeth. I jumped back. Luckily, he didn’t get the end of my nose or lips. I’m sure they would have been torn off. I had holes in the bridge of my nose and my chin. No stitches were needed but I was shaken. Lesson learned.

The ones that hurt the most are puppy bites. The young pups have razor teeth and they can do some real damage. Especially when the owner, like me, teases them with their toys and they sound so cute and tough when they’re learning to growl.

“Who? Me? I never bit anyone! I just lick. I love you!”

Another kind of bite requires great patience many people do not have. One of life’s greatest joys is sitting in a boat on a calm lake, a fishing pole in your hand, a bobber floating on the water, waiting in the silence for a fish to bite. Any fish. Anything with scales, fins, a tail, and a mouth. Oh, and gills. Any time now. Please, something give me just a little bite. Wait. Patience. Quietness. Forget it. They’re not biting.

People can be bitten by lots of things. Some of them don’t hurt at all, but they can be expensive.

Many people are bitten by wanderlust and travel the world over, or the state over, to find that perfect spot that makes them feel what they’re hoping to feel, even though they might not know what they want to feel. Not knowing what you’re looking for is the worst kind of wandering.

Everyone is bitten by the boredom bug at some time or other. Everything gets old and familiar, but old doesn’t have to mean worn out or ready to be discarded. Old can mean experienced, proven, knowledgeable, and wise. Boredom is a choice. Some of the worst decisions made are a result of choosing to be bored.

Without the ability to bite, tasting and enjoying is difficult. Especially when it comes to cinnamon rolls. The best cinnamon rolls are a perfect balance of yeast dough, cinnamon, sugar, butter, maybe some walnut pieces, and best of all, powdered sugar icing.

One of the worst corporate decisions McDonald’s ever made was getting rid of the original delicious, mouth-watering, calorie-exploding, impossible to resist, amazing real cinnamon rolls and replacing them with those little hard cinnamon bites. Dumb mistake. The old cinnamon rolls were the best anywhere! I always ordered EXTRA ICING! Now you’re talking heaven. I actually ordered a cinnamon roll with extra icing and a small fry. I carefully opened the box and the beautiful roll was swimming in icing! I dipped my hot fries in the icing, then ate the cinnamon roll, being careful to savor every single bite. I scraped the box to make sure I enjoyed every last molecule of icing. Those were the good old days!

I was bitten by the love of trains many years ago and have never recovered. Not that I would want to. Watching a train roll by satisfies a little of wanderlust. It’s fun to imagine destinations, even though the train my only go to the next industry location. It’s still fun.

Here’s to being bitten. Not by things that cause physical pain, but by things that inspire living.

Another Dog Who Loved Us

After our golden retriever, Lady, left us it was some time before another dog found us.

One summer afternoon, I played a terribly dirty trick on our little boys.  I retrieved a new tent I placed on layaway and put it together in the back yard.  I went inside where the boys were eating lunch and said I had a surprise for them.  I went back outside and yelled, “Here!  Come here!  Here boy!”  I whistled, then went back inside.  Of course, they were all excited, “Did you get a puppy?!”  I took them outside and when they saw the tent they started crying, “We thought you got a dog and it’s just a tent!”

Not long after my ill-advised stunt, my wife saw an ad in the newspaper for a rescue shelter.  There on the page was a very cute little terrier-beagle mix with adorable eyes saying, “Please, please take me home!”  We went to the rescue and the puppy adopted us.

Our boys were excited as they could be.  They played with the puppy in the back seat of the big car I was driving when all of a sudden, “Dad!  She’s pooping!”

Sure enough, the pup was hunched over in the familiar pose, leaving a warm pile of fresh steamer filling the car with an aroma never mistaken for anything else.  I quickly pulled over to the side of the road and cleaned up the mess.

Libby grew quickly but was never bigger than a small beagle.  She loved playing with the kids and was very attentive to them.  Her energy never ended.

We moved to another rental home to get close to the university where my wife was attending classes.  Now that our boys were in school, she was studying to complete her degree in elementary education.  Our neighbors had a boy who was about the same age as our triplet sons so they spent a great deal of time playing together.  One afternoon our Libby grabbed the neighbor boy, but luckily did not break the skin.  She was very protective of her turf and her boys.

We accepted the pastorate of a small church in a distant town which meant another move.  We quickly settled into our new home, our children into a new school district.  The church we pastored was in the beginning stages of building a new facility which was going to be on the same property as our home, which was also owned by the church.

Sunday morning was always a very tense and anxiety-filled time for me as I anticipated speaking to the people.  Five minutes before the morning worship service was to begin, with my anxiety peaking, a church leader walked into my office and with his familiar exaggerated gesturing, said, “Your dog bit the builder!!”

I pictured a limb torn and tattered, and expected the builder to be furious.  The truth was much less dramatic.  The man went into a metal shed in our yard to retrieve something he needed.  When he came out, the dog grabbed just his pants but no skin.  It was becoming apparent that a change was going to be necessary.  Our Libby was unpredictable and that was making us nervous.  As she got older, she was becoming more protective.

We had Libby for two years but determined it was time to find her a new home.  The wiry and energetic little dog would no longer be running around our yard.  We would not have to worry about her anymore.

Once again, we were without a dog.  A ten-gallon fish tank and several gold fish took her place.  Fish don’t fetch and they’re hard to cuddle, but they generally don’t jump on or bite anybody, either.

(The dog in the picture is not Libby, but looks just like her.)

A Dog Knows His Nose

 

A dog knows his nose is a meaningful part
Like a handshake of greeting, extending the heart.
A dog knows his nose is not right or wrong
It is what it is, like a bird and a song.

A dog knows his nose picks up things that we wouldn’t
If it were possible, we’d teach him he shouldn’t.
A dog knows his nose will show him around
And tell him all things without hearing a sound.

A dog knows his nose is dripping and cold
And will be that way until he is old.
If you wondering why his attentiveness goes,
He’s following close cuz a dog knows his nose.

Copyright 2019 by Dale R. Parsons

Dogs Who Love Us

Our lives would not be the same without the many dogs who shared our home.  Each in his or her own special way brought happiness, love, laughter, and heartache.

Lady was a beautiful golden retriever who claimed us as her own when she was just a pup, a few weeks old.  (I realize the photo is terrible, but it’s actually Lady.)

Lady was a real princess, and all puppy.  She was the perfect addition to our family and she showered us with love and play.  Lady was happy to ride a rubber raft in the waves when we were able to spend time at the beach.  We still have furniture with Lady marks on it.  It’s not damage, it’s memories.

Lady was with us for a temporary move to Tennessee.  She liked riding on the back seat window ledge behind our daughter and three boys.  By this time, she was a full-grown playmate and loved romping with the kids.

After a year in Murfreesboro, we prepared to move back to Michigan.  We were down to one car, an Olds Cutlass that had seen much better days.  The fan only had one speed that was equal to a breath of air.  I found a small oscillating fan and attached it to hang in front of the vent.  I thought it was a perfect solution.  When we loaded the car for the long trip, the kids were in the back seat, and I tried to put Lady in the front.  She took one look at my motorized contraption and flew over the back seat onto bare legs.  We started the trip with screams and scratches.

We settled into a rented two-story house, Lady had her own little house in the back yard.  There were two old ladies living next to us who took a strange interest in Lady.  We started receiving anonymous letters in the mail condemning us for having our dog hooked to a leash in the back yard.

After returning from a trip out of state, during which we had friends feeding and taking care of Lady, we arrived home to discover our dog looking at us through the fence of the old ladies’ yard.  I was furious!  I couldn’t lift her over the fence, so I went to their front door and demanded they return our dog.  I should have called the police!

On a cold snowy winter morning, Lady gave birth to a litter of puppies. They were a mixed breed, half of the pups were black, the others looked like purebred retrievers. For the first several weeks, Mary snuggled each of the puppies every day. One of the males was taken by family friends who named him Charlie.  Charlie was a great dog with all the character and appearance of a beautiful golden.  For many years, even though we might not see our friends for quite a while, when we visited, Charlie came bounding through the house to climb on our laps as if we were his long-lost parents.  Our friends said he didn’t act like that with anyone else.

The next year, our hearts were torn apart when Lady began having seizures.  We called the veterinarian who said she would probably not recover.  As cold tears rained down from the sky, our Lady was put to rest. We placed her in a grave as we all cried.  One of our little boys asked if we could sing his favorite song, “Arise, Shine for Thy Light Has Come.”  We held hands and sang as the rain continued to fall.

Your Dog

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Panting, smiling, under foot
In happiness and sorrow
Your dog will always find a way
To bring a bright tomorrow.

Caring, waiting, watching close
Not for a moment ceasing,
Your dog is constantly at work,
His only thought is pleasing.

Life is really wonderful
No matter what they say,
Your dog knows just what it takes
To make you smile today.

Copyright 2019 by Dale R Parsons