A Random Blended Family Dog Tale

I’d dreamed of  having my own Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ever since art history classes when their adorable little faces peeked out from behind skirts of royals in masterpieces. Huckle had me bewitched at once. He was spoiled and not impressed with boys and men. He wanted to be man of the house.

In the tumult of a divorce which soon followed Huckle matured into a sex-crazed teenager. My second husband was not impressed. He had him immediately fixed but his Napoleonic temperament remained (which endeared him to me even more). There’s something impressive about an eleven pound dog who makes people heel. Our boys were afraid of him because he growled at them over throw blankets on the couch.

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The Cavalier Escapes!

One Sunday as we were getting ready for church, our son (who back then in the blended family was my husband’s son) let the dog out by mistake — and stood there gaping. My daughter and son had a special attachment to Huckle because it was their dog from before. They started berating my husband’s son and then pushed  past him along with my husband to chase the tiny king down the three acre field that led to a frothing spring river.

For most of this time I was blissfully unaware in the shower.  By the time I entered the kitchen I could see through the glass doors far in the distance the family slowly returning up the go-cart path. Yes, we had a go-cart. It was embarrassing to my city slicker kids for about ten minutes until they had their go on it.

Turns out Huckle had jumped into the river. My husband had too. The girls waded in but my husband yelled to get back ashore. By the time they made it to the house they were all muddy and sweaty except or Huckle who had been carried in triumph by his servants.

I wondered if it was a Cavalier trait to kick and stomp with his back legs when he wanted something. My husband and Huckle found common ground that day. Timothy kicked and stomped in his mud-stained yellow shirt as we called one of the few family meetings we’ve ever attempted to have.

100_2464Family Meeting and a Solution to the Cavalier Problem

My kids rolled their eyes at the family sitcom notion of civilized meetings. Timothy’s kids were frightened by the looks my kids were sending them when they thought I wasn’t looking. Timothy stormed on. “Huckle is part of this family and there’s no excuse for letting down Huckle. He doesn’t know any better, but you kids do know better.”

My daughter grumbled. “It was your kid who let the dog loose.”

My son signaled for her to shut up.

Timothy took an impatient breath but  let the comment go.  “So, because Huckle is an important part of the family we will have to adjust our budget to buy Huckle a shock collar.” He waited for the looks of horror around the table to subside. “It’s either that or Huckle’s gonna die.”

Another gasp.

“It wasn’t that long ago that Huckle ran unto the highway and you all followed …” he reminded us.

I was one of those crazed lunatics, by the way.

Huckle escaped death on many occasions even with the collar. He got Lyme and a lung infection but charmed even the most hardcore anti-purebred vet who ran out on several occasions to bribe Huckle to eat by offering McDonalds.

As the vet never failed to remind me, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are susceptible to heart problems. He died a few years back but had lived a full and pampered life until the very last day. I was home alone and was glad about it. He was my special sweetheart.

What’s your favorite dog breed? This is a no judgment zone as far as dogs go. We have rescues and purebred critters. A true blended situation. Have you noticed certain endearing things about a favorite breed? Has your dog ever caused conflict (or resolved conflict)? Let me know in the comments!

 

Sunday at Middlemay Farm

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you,

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or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

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or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.

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Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10)

 

HAVE A PEACEFUL WEEK!

To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs. – Aldous Huxley

Doesn’t Chekhov look relaxed with his little friend?

LINKS:

 

51 Adorable Photos Show That Dogs Have Always Been Children’s Best Friends From Long Time Ago

 

Adorable Pictures of Famous Writers and Their Pets

 

Writers and Their Dachshunds

 

15 Brilliant Paintings Inspired By The Dogs Of Famous Artists

 

Children and their dogs in the 19th century (51)

Dog Days of Summer

kids with dogs

Despite my best writerly intentions, late July brings a bevy of visitors (all of whom love our crazy dogs–and cat) and excursions. It’s the price I pay for living in the beautiful Adirondacks–I’m not complaining! I’m enjoying my time, but look forward to visiting all the wonderful blogs I follow. Hope you’re  having a great August!

So I thought I’d show a few pics of our RESCUE DUCK “Chip.” He’s now taken to spending his dog days on the hammock:

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Dog Rescue

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Malcolm in the Mud

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Cute, right?

A dog rescue was not part of the plan when two of my daughters and I took a bike ride along the dirt road at the back of our property. Just the day before a neighbor  hung a FREE sign on a retro-styled Huffy and I had to have it–my old bike having been stolen years ago in NJ. I rode the Ford pick-up back to the bike (the tires were too soft to ride on) and after my husband spruced it up I snapped this pic:

As we took the turn on the dirt road two of our neighbors’ Labrador Retrievers ran into the road to bark at us covered in mud. We’re dog people so we had to pet them and coax them back to their fenced in yard since the neighbors, who we affectionately call “the girls”  were obviously not home. After closing the gate we heard plaintive whining from the woods.

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The other lab re-escaped from the yard to help his friend.

My daughter Amanda and I live for this stuff and our new tag along daughter-to-be fed off our excitement. Poison Ivy be damned, we were going in! At the bottom of a deep ravine we saw what looked like a fat bear with a white nose (dried mud). We went to Malcolm at once, noting his hindquarters were weak. He had completely given up trying to climb out of the six inch deep mud. We later learned Malcolm weighed 100lbs which explained our trouble trying to hoist him to dry ground. Amanda raced home and came back with supplies–leashes, collars and iPhone–and the rescue began in earnest.

Malcolm’s weight and our laughter made it tough going for a while and if we hadn’t finally summoned all our strength the construction workers banging away in a nearby field would have been called in. Upper arm strength being in short supply, we still somehow managed to finally right the muddy ship of flesh and drag him out of the woods.

Amanda and foster kid (who for now has to remain anonymous) found the loose plank on the picket fence, ran for a hammer and nails and repaired the fence while I watered the dogs and wrote a note explaining why the girls’ dogs were covered in mud.

I’d planned a short bike ride and a bit of editing for the afternoon, but laughing in the woods with muddy dogs got the better of the day.

Writing, especially in the summer when animals and bicycles beckon, is especially tricky!

NANCY CHRISTIE at One on One–Insights into the Writer’s Life talked to me recently and the first part of a four part interview is featured here: ONE ON ONE WITH AUTHOR ADRIENNE MORRIS.

I hope you take a moment to read it!

Happy 4th of July!

Adrienne