Friday, September 20, 2013

Dog Sitting Stinks And Grandkids Don't

 Six months seems like a long time but now that I am back writing about Red Dog so let me tell you about this latest little adventure.  "Warning" if you have a vivid imagination be prepared to hit the delete button in your brain because this one might be a little gross but sometimes life gets a little smelly.   

The story starts with my wife and I becoming brand new first time grand parents to the prettiest baby girl in all of Texas.  She is an absolute blessing and we are proud to be this little girl's Gigi and PAC.  In case you are wondering what PAC means it's the acronym for Physician Assistant Certified.  A title I worked my tail off to obtain several years ago.  Besides there are plenty of Pa's, Papa's, Poppies, Grandpa's, etc.  I know one guy who's grandkids call him Doc since he is a veterinarian.  I even have an old marine corps aviator friend who's last name is Bandy and his grandkids use "Moe" as his grandpa name because that was his call sign as a fighter pilot.  How cool is that!  I know that PAC doesn't sound very cool and it may even border on dumb but it's unique and I kind of like unique.  Besides PAC is a much better choice than the first grandpa name my wife and kids wanted to use.  When we first found out we were to be grand parents my wife decided she wanted to be a Gigi and she suggested I needed to be Pee Pee!!!  Yes a Pee Pee!!!  So when she told the kids of that brilliant idea they thought it would be great (especially after laughing about it for five minutes) and that's when I knew I better come up with something else or I would forever be known as Pee Pee to all of my grand kids.  "Heck No". So PAC it is. lol. 

The weekend after Zerah Grace was born our oldest kids came to see their new niece and brought their Ridgeback Mattie with them.  You remember Mattie, she was the first Howard family Ridgeback and we were so impressed with her manners that we got a couple ourselves.  Mattie comes to visit every time the kids come to town so when we get three large Rhodesian Ridgeback roaming around the house it gets a little crowded.  It's a Ridgeback here, a Ridgeback there, every where a Ridgeback.  Walking across the room with the three of them lounging around the house is like trying to roller skate through a buffalo herd to coin a phrase from back in the day.   They just love to be rubbed and scratched on but there is apparently a fear running through the pack that one dog
might get a tad more attention than the other two so they all dart your direction trying to grab all the petting they can get their paws on.  I can see a hip fracture in my future as they all bolt my direction and knock me to the floor.  It is highly probable that these mutts are spoiled and get their way to often.  

These three, who's ancesters were rugged tough lion hunters living on the arid African plains now live a life of "swimming pools and movie stars" as far as dogs are concerned.  It's a dog version of "Life Styles Of The Rich And Famous". They all have a special bed to sleep in, get their own personal eating bowl, and have their own private concierge medical practitioner who many times is me ( I'm apparently a very diverse practitioner caring for people and now Ridgebacks).  Mattie is the real city girl with a special prescription diet, lives in an high rise apartment and is well acquainted with the lights of the big city.  Red Dog and Rosie live in a small rural town in Texas but have a well groomed yard in which to poop in, a 17 foot long back yard water feature in which to swim in, an enclosed high fenced 3 acre compound in which to roam in (it also makes for great protection from the larger intruders in the area like cougars, coyotes, feral hogs, bobcats, and the occasional crazed gray squirrel) and last but not least is central air conditioning and heating for that year round pleasurable climate controlled living experience but they still have to endure the occasional inconvenience of outdoor living (like real dogs)  I know, I know.  The humanity of it all.

After a wonderful weekend of drooling over our new grand baby our oldest kids realized they had no one to dog sit Mattie before their trip to the comfort of the high mountains of New Mexico over their upcoming holiday so Debbie and I agreed to let Mattie stay the week with us while the kids were traveling.  Now we have the blessing of three pony sized Ridgebacks leaving the dream in this climate controlled Doggie Oasis for the next 10 days.  How did we get so lucky?  What's next, Bob Barker jumping out of the closet saying "IT'S A BRAND NEW CAR"!!!!!  I sure hope so.  Well anyway here we are me, the wife and 3 red Clydesdale's trying to occupy the same living space.  "IT'S GREAT". 

I think I mentioned earlier that one of these spoiled mutts has a special doctor prescribed diet? Well today we found out why Ms. Mattie has this "special diet" and will get to that in a few minutes. 

When I was a kid I had the blessing of having an old Heinz 57 mutt wander into my life. He was named Lion Dog.  He got this name because my sister and I thought he looked like a lion.  Well old Lion Dog just showed up on our front porch one day and never left.  He took to us like ticks on a hound dog and would play with my sister and I for hours on end.  He was the best but he never got to live indoors like the Ridgebacks.  Lion Dog slept outside come rain or shine heat wave or blizzard.  I do remember once dad relented to let him stay in the garage during a blizzard because the snow had drifted over the top of our house and he didn't want Lion Dog to suffocate or freeze to death.  Don't get me wrong my dad loved dogs and growing up he had a loyal companion named Laddie for many years but dad was raised on the farm and that meant all critters lived outside.  It also meant that the dogs ate left overs from grandma's cooking or they went out to catch their own supper.  Lion Dog didn't have it quite that tough.  His meals consisted of our left overs and co-op dog food because it was the cheapest priced dog food in town .  No special diets for those guys so I guess that's why it seems weird that Mattie needs one.  She's a dog and should eat regular dog food not prescription dog food in my way of thinking.  Brother, was I wrong about that one. 

A few mornings ago Debbie and I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of Mattie's specialty prescription diet.  Have you every heard the one about the older gentleman that woke up in bed early one morning and thought his water bed had sprung a leak overnight and as he laid there wiping the sleep from his eyes he suddenly realized he did not own a water bed!  Well this particular morning I woke up and as I laid there in my comfortable California king sized pillow topped perfect sleeping man sized bed I noticed a not so alluring fragrance filling the room and as I wiped the sleep away from my eyes I thought to myself "Wow supper really gassed me up during the night".  The longer I laid there I tried to think which foods created this extraordinary aroma?  As I was mentally going down my culinary check list it dawned on me that I only saw Red Dog and Rosie go out the back door when I let them out around 5:00 am.  As I continued lying there in the warmth of my toasty sleeping spot with my beautiful bride snoring (LOUDLY) beside me I started thinking about how much trouble I was going to be in when she woke up to a stinky bedroom.  So I began to formulate a plan to keep out of trouble.  I first thought that playing possum would be a good idea and when she woke up I would plead my innocence or ignorance which ever worked.  That's when it hit me.  "Bam" as Uncle Si would say.  Mattie was still in the house and she normally goes out to potty around 6:00 when my son in law  comes home from fighting crime for the police department and it was now 7:05.  I yelled out a very loud "OH NOOOOOO" and jumped to my feet.  Well that "OH NOOOOOO" was very effective in waking up my sleeping bride and her ultra sensitive nose which immediately knew what had happened.  She jumped out of bed and starting yelling at me as she ran across the room to turn on the lights as the room was still dark.  At this point I'm a little confused because I'm not exactly sure who is she is upset with, me or the dog so I began to yell out Mattie's name just to be sure I wasn't going to get the blame.  When the lights came on there it was or should I say there "THEY" were.  Ms. Mattie not only left a smelly gift that was the size of a small log home but added a couple dozen stinky mud pies on the carpet as big as the dots in the Milton Bradley kids' game "Twister" minus the bright colors of course.  Oh My Lord.  How could one dog produce this much poop in one hour.  It had to be some kind of a record!  I just stood there in shock.  I couldn't believe my eyes (which were burning by the way).  The carpet at the foot of the bed looked like the Keebler Elves broke into the house and used it as a baking sheet to make some Jolly Green Giant sized cookies.  What a "Ginormous" mess.  I just stood there staring at the mess then I looked over at Debbie and then looked back at the mess then looked over at Debbie again. After doing this about 5 times Debbie looked over at me I and said "WHAT"!  I replied, how in the world did you run all the way across this room and maneuver through that stinky mess and not once step on one of those lovely little gifts?  And in the dark none the less!  I don't know if I was amazed or in shock that she made a clean pass (no pun intended) through the disaster zone as I watched her carefully inspect her feet. No melt down meant no mud pies between her toes.  Luckily for me I was running late for work by this time so I did what any hard working man would do.  I cautiously tip toed through the tulips and made a mad dash for the shower then out the door like an Olympic sprinter.  Well to spare you too many more gross details, a six pack of Charmin, three pack of Brawny and barrel of hand sanitizer later the poo was gone but the stains remained.  On my drive home from work that evening I decided to prepare a small sermon to speak over Mattie's grave as I knew my kids would have wanted her to have a Christian funeral.  I arrived home expecting to see a HazMat team in my front yard with yellow tape wrapped around our house and the neighborhood under full quarantine but to my surprise there wasn't even a sign of a cleaning company in sight.  I was shocked when I walked into the house and saw that the carpet was spotless.  My loving wife put her mad computer skills to work and Googled up a recipe of Dawn dish washing soap and white vinegar that cleaned the spots right up.  DEBBIE'S THE BOMB!!!  I think she deserves a special smooch from me, that is if she's speaking to me after abandoning ship earlier in the day. 

As I sit here trying to think of what the life lessons are about this story, here is what I came up with.

1.  Dogs who are the size of Clydesdale's should live outside for the obvious reasons no matter how much you loved them.

2.  Marry a wife who has crazy foot working skills.  But maybe put her through some type of NFL workout with tires and ropes before you propose so you know her skill set.

3.  Always pay close attention to the words "Special Prescribed Diet" whether its your dog or a family member because you don't want to clean up after either of them.

4.  Always have an exit strategy in case your pet blows up the house over night.  You are not Mike Rowe and don't want to get stuck with the "Dirty Job". 

5.  Have a good internet provider because you need Google in case there's an emergency. 

6. It's last but far from being least and I've not mentioned it since the opening of this story.  Go out and get yourself some grand kids, "THEIR GREAT".  But what ever you do never agree to dog sit when your on a "grandpa high" because bad things can happen and that "bad thing" probably isn't coming from the new grandbaby if you own a herd of Ridgebacks! 

Until the next adventure, God bless you. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Little Sisters

I don't know about you but many of us grew up with a siblings who for some reason or another got a great deal of pleasure out of tormenting us in our younger years and mine just happened to be my little sister Cindy.  She was a tough fiery red head that was without a doubt no girly girl. We were the only children in the family and hung out together all the time.  She played football with my dad and I, all the time and was a natural athlete.  She could punt a football further than any of my buddies and was twice as tough.  She was always my first pick when we had pickup games in the front yard because she wasn't scared to put a hit on anyone.  My dad told me a story later in life about how one day, while playing football in the house,one of my buddies went to ask him to make Cindy stop tackling so hard.  This request put a big ole proud poppa grin on His face and still does today when we talk about it.  In 5th grade one of her male classmates would regularly pick on her during recess.  One day she finally got enough of him and tackled the boy to the ground like NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus.  She then began beating him about the face and chest until the play ground teacher came and pulled her off of him.  That same boy years later thanked her in the senior yearbook for beating the poo out of him when he was being such a brat, lol.  She even wanted to try out for the Jr. High football team in seventh grade but was told no by the school.  Later that same year she told my dad that she wanted a football and a bra for Christmas which was the first time in her life that any of us saw a sign of her turning into a young lady.  My mother was thrilled with this news and my buddies were hoping that the gift request was a sign she was retiring from the game of football soon.  To say that my red headed sister is tough was an under statement.  Not only was my sister tough but for some reason unknown to me she got great pleasure out of tormenting me on a regular bases.  She would do things like lock me out of the house after school and taunt me through the windows just to watch me have a nuclear melt down on the front porch.  She always knew how to push my hot button and would even sometimes invite her girl friends over to watch me explode like a cheap Fourth of July fireworks display, just for the grins and giggles of it.  It was apparently pretty entertaining and she spent a lot of time dreaming up new ways to get under my skin.....And she did!  I would give more details about many of her devious plans but I don't have the time to go back to therapy these days, lol. 

Since I am on the subject of little sister let me tell you a little story about Red Dogs little sister Rosie.  When Rosie moved in with us I fully expected Red Dog would teach her the ways of the Howard household like where to eat, where to poop, where to sleep and where to play.  Red Dog would be the Master and Rosie would be the Pupil.  Well after two months of training that turned out "NOT" to be the case. Rosie is a Rhodesian Ridge Back and comes from the same brave line of lion hunters as Red Dog.  She is a fiery red headed female who is as tough as nails and full of spit and vinegar just like another red head I know.  She is stuborn and does things her own way (again like someone else I know).  Over these past few months I was under the impression that Red Dog was doing a good job of keeping her in line which I should have know was impossible.  Who ever heard of some guy being able to keep any female from doing what ever she wanted, Ridge Back or otherwise.  Day after day I would hear a yelp or two coming from the next room and thought Red Dog was on top of his game as Sergeant Major of the Howard Home Defense System by teaching Rosie all of the do's and don'ts of her new home but come to find out he was just another innocent victim of the "Evil Sisters Society".  Those subtle "yelps" I had been hearing from the other room were coming from Red Dog.  "WHAT" yelps from the Mighty Red Dog.  Has the king of the lion hunters been brought to his knees by the likes of his little red headed vixen sister.  Say it ain't so, Joe say it ain't so but in the immortal words of Paul Harvey "It's True"!!!  That cute little fur ball is in reality a wolf in sheep's clothing.  

The other day after hearing multiple yelps from the bed room I decided to go see what all the racket was about and when I walk into the room all I saw was Rosie chewing on Red Dogs legs, tail, nose, mouth and ears like a rawhide chew bone.   He just laying there and painfully allowed her climbing all over him digging those sharp little milk teeth in every square inch of his body.  Wow that looked so painful. No wonder I was hearing little yelps coming from the other room.  Red Dog even got up to walk across the room and there's Rosie with her jaws locked down his right ear like a bear trap while Red Dog drags her over the floor.  I even saw Rosie bite down on the side of his neck and watched her stretch his skin out like she was in a world champion taffy pulling contest...Ouch!!!!  That looked like it hurt somuch I started having sympathy pains for him but Red Dog stood there and took it like a champ.  He's a really patient big brother and Tough!!!  After seeing all ofthis it made me think about how many time my little sister pestered me when we were younger and I wished I would have had half the of the tolerance he had. lol.  Good job Red Dog.  You are one tough hombre. 

I guess the take home message today is that when life starts to wear you down and people start chewing on your tail, nose, ears, legs etc.  Be calm, stay collected, and don't lose your cool.  Some people are just waiting to watch some fireworks for their own personal entertainment.  And by the way I love my little sister with all my heart and I would not have wanted her be any other way because there might have been an occasion when I might have crawled into her bedroom on my hands and knees under the cover of darkness and I might have slid quietly up against the side of her bed and I might have thrown my left arm over her forehead to pin her head against her pillow as she fell asleep just to hear her scream.  But I'm getting old and my memory isn't as good as it once was...He He He...Until the next adventure God bless you.                           

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Stuck In The Middle With You

When you were growing up did you ever get the blame for something you didn't do or get in trouble because of someone else?  I think we all have at one time or another and I remember an incident that happened during my senior year of high school in math class.  My good pal Devery, who was well known as the class cIown, was goofing off in the class when our teacher Mr. Laverty told everyone to get back to the lesson after allowing us a little cut up time.  Well my old pal Dev had apparently lost his capacity to understand English which did not sit well with Mr. Laverty.  Now don't get me wrong, Mr. Laverty was one of the coolest teachers at our school but when he said it was time to get to work he meant it.  This guy was about six foot four and in pretty good shape (especially for an old guy).  During Summer breaks he was a steer wrestler or bull dogger (as it was called back in my day) and he farmed and ranched all year long. So there wasn't any need for him to spend time at the gym.  He was as strong as an ox and could swing a paddle harder than anyone else in the free world.  Every student in the school was well aware of this fact including Devery but for some reason he just couldn't shut up this particular day.  As Dev kept on jabbering, I was in complete compliance with the teachers previous instructions and had my face deeply planted into the math lesson as did everyone else. We all knew the consequences for disobeying his orders.  Suddenly I heard Mr. Laverty tell Devery to go to the principals office and every one of us knew what that meant..Two Super Sonic licks from Mr. Laverty's paddle.  A hush fell over the classroom and that's when I had a lapse in judgement.  I looked up from my work to watch Devery walk out the door and that's when Mr. Laverty saw me rubber necking and said "Howard, you aren't doing anything so you go with him".  Those words still echo in the deep recesses of my brain and I'm nearly fifty three years old.  Well to make a long story a little shorter, we both got a valuable lesson in physics and thermal dynamics that day. (Note to the reader: When a wooden paddle travels at super sonic speeds it doesn't burst into flames until that sudden impact against your rear end).  I found out many years later from my dad that Mr. Laverty told him what had happened that day and that I wasn't doing anything wrong that fateful afternoon but he knew I had got away with a couple of stunts earlier in the school year without getting caught and thought it was a good time to "catch me up" as Mr. Laverty put it.  WHAT!!!  I was innocent (of course I knew that already) but still punished for a crime I never committed or at least never caught doing!  Where was Perry Mason or Ben Mattlock when a guy needs a lawyer?  I think both my dad and Mr. Laverty still laugh about this little life moment today or at least my dad does.          
I tell you this because my heart went out to ole Red Dog the other day as he had to take one for the team as well.  As I mentioned in my last post, we now have a new Rhodesian Ridge Back by the name of Rosie.  She is a two month old pooping/peeing machine.  More water comes out of this little girl than a rain bird sprinkler and the odorous little gifts she leaves laying around the place are just plain gross.  How can so much "stuff" come out of one little body? I guess that is a question parents and dog owners alike have asked many times over the years.  I'm sure you have figured out by now that the potty training isn't going so well with Ms. Rosie but my wife Debbie has been a trooper through this whole messy ordeal and is working hard to teach Rosie the proper way for a young lady to potty.  Just when we think things are getting a little better we stumble across more rain puddles and mud slides if you get my drift.  Debbie has tried just about everything to get this little girl's attention but wow it's been tough.  She even volunteers Red Dog to go outside with Rosie in hopes he will teach her proper potty protocol (PPP) but at this point everyone is getting a failing grade.  I came home the other day to Debbie working her tail off cleaning every floor in the house in hopes of ridding the place of Ms. Rosie's special scent.  She was exhausted by the end of the day but watching Rosie like a hawk in hopes of having a potty free night. This morning around 6:00 am all seemed to be well in Potty Land when Debbie got up to let Rosie and Red Dog outside to take care of their morning chores and calisthenics then she let them back inside an hour later.  This is usually plenty of chore time for Red Dog but apparently not for Rosie.  As I am getting ready for work I heard a groan from the living room as Debbie caught Rosie doing a little splish'in and a splash'in on the tile floor.  As Debbie was scolding Ms. Rosie and putting her back outside Red Dog was making his way back to his bed at warp speed in an attempt to avoid any friendly fire but to no avail.  I heard Debbie call to Red Dog "go outside" and keep Rosie company.  Poor Red Dog still can't catch a break with the new mutt around and as I walked past the back door on my way to work there sat poor Red Dog with this sad pitiful look on his face like "what have I done'?  "I ate all my breakfast, drank all my water and took care of my morning business outside just like I was supposed to and I get stuck out here on this cold damp ground paying for Ms. Rosie's mistake".  It was at that moment in the early morning light of this cool winter morning that I had one of those "I understand your pain" like moments for Red Dog.  Mine came at the end of a math teachers powerful right arm and Red Dog's came at the end of a little furry four legged water sprinkler named Rosie.   
So I guess it goes to show you that life can be unfair to both man and beast but I think the key to survival is to be sure not to hang out with people who can't stop joking around or peeing on the floor.  This may not be life altering advice but it could help you avoid people with a bladder problem and poor sense of direction.  I think I will file this life lesson right behind the one where you shouldn't chew your fingernails after cleaning fresh chicken eggs.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.                          

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hanging With The Big Dogs

I would like to introduce you to Rosie.  The newest addition to the DMZ.

Many years ago when I was little I used to love staying at my Aunt Peggy's farm house out in the middle of nowhere in the Oklahoma panhandle.  There were only two t.v. stations to watch from a 20 foot antenna and depending on the weather we might accidentally get a fuzzy picture from a third station in Ensign, Kansas so a person had to use their imagination to make the day pass by and my cousins Randy, Billy, and Terry were experts in this particular field of entertainment. 
Up in the Oklahoma Panhandle there aren't very many trees across the rolling plains and if you see a clump of trees out there you can just about bet one of two things are going on.  The first would be that many farmer/ranchers planted them around their houses to use as a wind break for those harsh panhandle winds that blow through the land or to provide shady cool refuge from the scorching panhandle sun.  The second reason you might see a clump (and I use the word clump because forest or grove would over exaggerate the number of trees that actually exist in that part of the world) of trees such as Cottonwood or Chinese Elm  that could be seen across the landscape was only because there was a pond, creek, or river near by.  Well it just so happened that my cousins Randy, Billy, and Terry lived within 200 yards of the mighty Kiowa Creek which trickled into the North Canadian River (or Beaver River as we called it) which runs through much of the Oklahoma Panhandle and this is where many adventures took place daily.  Randy lived on the west side of Kiowa Creek with Billy and Terry living on the east side.  All three boys were older than me so I saw it as a great privilege to hang with my older cool cousins.  How lucky could a five year old get to hang out with such wise and experienced individuals.  I was mesmerized by this fact and would have walked through fire just to hang with them.  I followed those guys around like a little puppy excited to see what the adventure of the day looked like.  I don't quite remember the details of how we planned out each adventure but we sometimes had top secret meetings in the old storm cellar north of Randy's house which jumped the whole experience into the "Mega Cool" category because none of my other five year old friends had an under ground fort (insert your Tim Allen "man grunt" now).  I don't even remember Uncle Bob and Aunt Peggy having a telephone in the house and we cousins must have communicated with each other by Morris Code, Smoke Sign, and probably Mental Telepathy because we all seemed to find our way down to Kiowa Creek at the same time each day and didn't go back to the house until late in the afternoon.  I can remember being so excited as I stayed in Randy's hip pocket as we made our way down to the creek.  Man those were fun times.  We would fish, hunt turtles, tell stories, have stick and dirt clod fights and even wade around in the creek when we got too hot.  I'm sure that I got on Randy, Billy and Terry's last nerve much of the time and they probably tried to ditch me a time or two but my brain just refuses to remember those occasions in order to keep all of those Kiowa Creek Adventures in that "Mega Cool" category of my five year old life.  

The reason I tell you this story is that Debbie decided the day after Christmas she needed a new Rhodesian Ridge Back puppy added to here DMZ (Debbie Mini Zoo).  Her name is Rosie and we aren't sure at this time how old she is because our vet wisely chooses not to work over the holidays but she is a short chubby red Rhodesian pooping machine right now and she has driven every ounce of holiday fragrance out of the house if you know what I mean.  She is mesmerized by everything Red Dog does and follows him E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.  She is his officiall "Mini Me".  Red Dog's world has been turned up side down and now has to share the "Good Life" at the DMZ with someone else.  I don't think he is very happy, happy, happy about it.  When poor old Red Dog goes to eat there's Rosie.  He goes to drink there she is again.  He goes outside to take care of some personal business and who is there climbing all over him...You got it, Ms. Rosie.  I thought yesterday might had been the final straw as Red Dog headed into the bedroom for an afternoon nap on his new Christmas bed but guess who beat him there....Rosie.  Red Dog has taken the presences of his new friend in stride but when he found Rosie sleeping on his new bed that was ENOUGH of that.  Red Dog snarled and Rosie wisely darted under our bed to avoid any retaliation for using his stuff.  It was about an hour later when I walked back into the bed room and there lay Red Dog fast asleep with Rosie snuggled beside him.  I guess a comfortable bed and a good nap can fix a fellow's attitude.  So later that afternoon with a good nap in the books Red Dog started showing Rosie the ropes.  He began patrolling the indoor parameter of the house as usual with Rosie close at hand watching every move Red Dog made and during the course of his patrol a situation suddenly arose that caused Red Dog to spring into action...There were strangers near the front door...Although the holiday has started to wind down some of our neighbors still had family visiting and were unaware of Red Dogs primary patrol rule which is that any person who has not been identified by Red Dog as a regular neighbor will be sternly warned with multiple "SONIC WOOFS" until they return to their appropriate side of the street and with no questions asked.  So as Red Dog monitored the situation out the front window he had no choice but to enforce that rule as strange children played near our driveway.  So the warnings went out very loud and clear to move away from the premises with "WOOF WOOF WOOOOF WOOOOFFFF WOOOFFFF WOOOOOFFFFFFFF".  I don't think that Ms. Rosie was quite ready for such a loud warning and immediately took cover underneath a chair in the living room but after a few moments she was back at Red Dogs side ready to help do her part to defend the property.  Once all of the "SOINIC WOOFS" were over and the children moved back to their own yard I saw Rosie walk up to the same window Red Dog was looking out of and not being able to see over the window sill started this low grumbling puppy growl.  Suddenly she squirted out two little "mini sonic woofs" and went to following Red Dog throughout the house once again.  Rosie successfully survived her first training session and walked away feeling ten foot tall and bullet proof.  Although the mission was successful Rosie has a lot left to learn and I can almost bet it won't be the last time that Red Dog gets annoyed with his new colleague.  But the neat thing was that this whole episode stirred up some great childhood memories of a time gone by when I was a little goober much like Rosie hanging out with my "Cool Cousins" having adventures on the old Kiowa Creek.  I'm pretty certain that my cousins remember the details as more of an annoyance than an adventure but they were still nice enough to put up with me anyway.  I laugh to myself when I think back on those days and how I must have acted alot like Ms. Rosie following Red Dog around.  I learned many things hanging out with them and I must give credit to my "Cool Cousin" Randy who taught me how to talk like Donald Duck and my first cuss word which nearly got my five year old head slapped off by my mother when I used the newly learned slang in front of her friends one day.  I won't repeat the word because of younger readers but I will tell you that the soap she used to wash out my mouth tasted nothing like chicken.  When I think back to that time I was probably way more annoying to my cousins than Ms. Rosie will ever be to Red Dog but those wonderful childhood memories live vividly in my heart and I will cherish them "FOR-EV-ER" to quote one of my favorite lines from the movie "Sandlot".  I can't wait to see what adventures Red Dog and Rosie get into as a new year begins and if they are anything like the ones I had back in the day with my cousins, it will be an interesting year.  I hope that each of you have a great 2013.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.