Girls Day Out...

Friday morning, I went to town to go shopping, it's about 30 miles to the nearest store.  Elaine still works, and I have taken it upon myself to take care of the in-town errands and shopping.  I don’t mind, and actually, I enjoy it.  I have done it for years and know where the bargains are and where to get the best deals.  The few times, Elaine has done it, she came home with a bunch of things we don’t need, she is a grocery’s store dream, she is an impulse buyer but I'm a list guy.
On this morning, after getting ready and grabbing my list, JoJo and Dahlia stood by the car, and as I approached it, I said “wanna go,”   they both turned circles, and I knew I had two copilots.  I usually have just one because I usually take either Shepp or Doc and while they both love to go, this day, the Shepherds needed a turn.  Sorry boys, it’s Girls Day Out.


The odd thing with Dahlia is although she was a rescue from an owner, she was very well taken care of but, HATED car rides.  When I first brought her home on the two-hour trip, she put her head in the corner of the back seat and never moved and was scared to death.  We have a long drive to our house right after the entrance gate, and when Elaine or I would come home, most of the dogs would meet us and ride in the car to the house, Dahlia had never made the trip in the car, but she ran alongside us.  One day, I came home from shopping and Dahlia met me as usual, but this time, she wanted to ride.  She jumped inside on the passenger's side, and off we went, and from then on, she loves it.  I guess she watched the others and now she wanted to try and did.

So Friday morning we were off, the first time both German Shepherds were together in the car, and as we drove down the highway, we got some strange looks.  When we were on the interstate, people would pull beside us and wave at the dogs who were looking at them, and I got a thumbs up.  Quite the experience for all of us.

Doc Loves to take rides
This is not my first car experience with dogs in the car.  In April of 2014, Doc and I headed to Louisville to get some supplies.  On the way down, he went from the front seat to the back seat, and then to the floorboard then he would start over again.  After picking up the supplies and starting for home, I was hungry, and we were about 30 miles from home, I stopped at a local fast food restaurant, and we pulled into the golden arches where I ordered some food.  Up to this point, Doc was not too interested in the things around him, but his ears immediately perked up as we stopped at the drive-in.  As I spoke into the ordering area, (Waaaw-waw-waw. Waaaw-waw) he looked out the front window but I saw his front feet prance in place and as we got closer to the pick-up window and the lady approached us with the sack of goodies, he was in my lap with his head out the driver’s window looking at the food.  I still had to make change and put my wallet away, but he wanted everything that was in the bag and before pulling away, the attendant said, “boy, he’s a little spunky,” and my response was “Oh...he’ll be fine.”  They say a dog’s nose more than 10,000 times stronger than ours, and I never gave it any thought, but I now do, believe me, it’s true.  “Hold om Doc, I’ll give you a bite” as I started to pull into traffic with a soft drink between my legs, French fries on my lap and a chicken sandwich in my right hand, driving with my left hand and knees, all the time trying not to get lettuce my lap.   As I pulled into traffic, Doc lunged into my lap again and attempted to get his nose into the bag.  What sleeping dragon have I created by this food stop?

I literally laughed at his attempts, but there was nothing to do but give him a bite.  “Doc, sit” which he did, and he gobbled the french fry out of my hand but the problem, he nearly took my finger off.  OK, new plan…I threw the French fry to the back seat.  He leaped over the seat and found it and returned in just a second.  “Ooh, that didn’t take long,” I said.”  Doc, sit” I threw the french fry to the front floorboard, and he had to hunt for it, so here I was, throwing French fries around the car while he was chasing them.  I had a soft drink between my legs too, a chicken sandwich in one hand and a dog jumping around the car after french fries and the whole time, we were weaving from lane to lane with the car.  But it’s didn’t stop there…the sandwich was next.  I will tell you that I did attempt to take a bite of chicken sandwich in between throws, but because it was dressed, some dropped to my lap.  I would take a nibble and Doc would take a nibble whether I wanted him to or not, never again.

Assistant Manager and Manager
JoJo, Dahlia and I traveled to the Bank, Menards, and Wal Mart, and all in all, they were good as Gold and even though I thought about getting them a snack at a fast food restaurant, after the experience with Doc and the food, I thought better.  Several times as I was walking toward the car, several people would approach the car to see these silly girls while they sat in the front seat waiting for me.  On the way home, both of them were in the back seat but someone started winning.  I looked back into the back seat, and you could tell, someone needed to “go.”  In my mind, I said “hold it, hold it” but knowing I have found a Tootsie Roll before and I know the consequences, but we were so close to home.  I went faster and knew we could make it.  “Please,” I thought, and as we made the final turn, I knew we were close, and someone’s eyes were big and getting bigger.

Finally, we were at the gate, and as fast as I could open it they were out of the car, and off in the woods they went.   Relief at last, Relief at last.  It could have been worse.  Until next time.  Ken

Do they need us?

To ask the question “Why do dogs need us” is a question in itself.  Do they really need us?  I’ve pondered that question before and ask it myself often.   “When” the relationship began, nobody exactly knows. The earliest remains of humans and dogs interred together date to 14,000 years ago, but some unconfirmed finds are said to be more than twice as old. The larger point is the meaning of the discoveries: we lived with dogs and then chose to be buried with them. Imagine that and what happened? It was only by the tiniest bit of genetic chance that our cross-species union was forged at all. Dogs and wolves share 99.9% of their mitochondrial DNA which makes the two species nearly indistinguishable, but here we are.  

Thousands of years ago, we were each independent except for some working dogs and dogs that just happened to seek and visit us.  Even now, my dogs are very different, and some will seek me out very seldom, and some like Whiskey will not leave my side, why is this but I feel I understand somewhat.  Even I have two sides, I can talk to nearly anyone about anything but do I “Need” them, probably not, and I also think I could live on a deserted island.  I can fix and do most anything I want to accomplish, but it’s what I want to do.  When I went to college, I barely graduated, but it’s not because I couldn’t do the work, I didn’t want to do it.  My Dad made me go to college.

I think we have made our dogs depend on us because we want something in exchange such as love, devotion, and even companionship.  Nearly every day, there is a plethora of exchanges that take place between our dogs and us.  How many times do we fill there needs, we feed them, we care for there health and even make sure of there comfort.  We purchase the best food, buy the most expensive toys and even dress them like our kids.  Birthday parties and Vet trips are in need and we see that they have the best of everything but is it enough?  No, I don’t think so, but it’s simple.

“A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart, and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not.”
― John Grogan, Marley and Me

I believe our dogs will come to us because they want to be near us and we need to pay attention.  I am so guilty of this at times, I even shame myself when I think about it.  It’s so simple to them, but we often overlook it, just love them, scratch there ears, and talk to them and make them feel that you are 100% vested in their life.  Taking care of there needs can be a little unusual and not always in the norm, but to them, it’s their world.  They share our world and quirks, we need to share theirs.

Countless times I do things that are so unusual, but in the end, I benefit more than they do.  You can see it in there eyes when they struggle with a sound, sickness or something they are afraid of and they “NEED” us.  Comfort, hold, touch and get into there world.  They give everything to us unconditionally and we normally just give a little.  On a stormy night, I’ve had nearly every dog in my bed when the first crash of thunder hit and I have slept so uncomfortably, but in there mind, they are safe.

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
― John Grogan, Marley & Me

Last night Dahlia would not go into her kennel at all to eat.  By my command, she would, but she would lick her lips and turn circles, she was scared.  I sat on the floor, and came to me and buried her head into my chest.  She was shaking, she was so scared, something was up.  She wanted to eat and would attempt to but kept coming back to me, so I placed the food bowl next to me.  Still a little hesitant, she would take a bite, but she would look for me and come back.  I laid on the floor and put the bowl right in front of my face.  She could see me with every bite, and in between bites, she would lick my face.  She knew I was there.  It was not a lot of effort on my part, but to her, it was everything.  Any relationship takes unexpected efforts to make all of us comfortable.  As I watched her from below, it was magical.  Extra steps to us are miles to them.  

We are more than the person who feeds them and fills there water bowl.  We are their protector, guardian, custodian, defender, and overseer.  We help the hopeless in sickness and defend the weak.  We save the lost and give the sightless sight just letting them smell us as we walk, and even this list is short in compared to what they give me.  Ken