MarkyBear is the "little" warrior. He'll take on anybody who he deems as posing as a threat to his family; he's faithful and loyal to his "pack". Not man nor beast dare tread on his turf uninvited. I've seen him chase off dogs five times his size! BIG dogs. He's constantly patroling his 'beat'. He still wears a limp even years after his confrontation with a squirrel, when he got a 'war injury' because his hip went out chasing the darned thing. But his heart will carry him farther than his legs will. He will run like a shot way out onto the far side of the yard after somebody before he realizes "Owww", usually after all the barking is done and the business at hand has been taken care of, then he heroically hobbles back to the house to see if his "Mom" has a pat on the head for him for a job well done. Day or night he's on the job. Many times in the middle of the night, even if he's sound asleep and he hears anything, whoosh, he's outa the dog door with his "Semper Fido" attitude. Whoever or whatever's out there better looooook out, cuz he will bite!
On the other hand, Cappy calls SparkyBear our little ambassador; he loves everybody. He'd happily go off with anybody. I don't know how many cars he's jumped into when people have stopped by to visit. He's been in the UPS truck on several occasions trying to 'talk' the guy into taking him for a ride. The dog just loves people. But animals...not so much. One time he barked at a dog who was way up the street. The dog came running, the closer he got, the bigger he was and chased him right into the dog door. Scared the heck outa him, and musta 'traumatized' him, because now he waits in the house to see 'what' MarkyBear is barking about before he'll venture out. He 'waits' on top of the back of Cappy's chair. So...Finally, I noticed that he won't go out the dog door at night. He'll stick his head out and kinda look around, but then decides he doesn't have to 'go'. Mystery solved. Cappy told me to go buy a pair of sweatpants and cut the legs to make 'pajamas' for SparkyBear. I read somewhere dogs learn quickly not to pee in their pj's because it gets cold. And it's true. He did it a couple of times then decided in that little doggie brain of his that's it's better to 'hold' it. Now before we go to bed, I turn on the outside light for him and let him out the front door. He goes right on out and takes care of business, then I call him and tell him to come get his pajamas on. We spoil our dogs rotten, but you know that by now. I sing him this silly song as I get him dressed for bed, "Get your pajamas on, you dirdee little Amazon, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-DUT AND..!!!" to which Cappy always says, "You're weird". Yeah, I know.
If that's not bad enough, we cook for our dogs. We COOK for our DOGS. It all started last year with that Chinese dog food poisoning. When we got over the scare, we put them back on regular dog food. About that time their skin rashes and infections came back, which we had been fighting tooth and nail. The vet put them on special dog food, some kind of hypo-allergenic stuff and charged us ...holt onto your hat...$93 for a twenty pound bag. I don't think so. We took them back to their original vet who lives way farther away, but she knows these guys really well. When I mentioned the high price of dog food we were charged, she resignedly nodded her head and said, "Yeahhhhh, that's what they are charging now; it's terrible. A lot of people are cooking for their dogs". Really??
Full time?? So we went back to cooking up big batches of what she told us to cook , making sure they are having a balanced diet, and vitamins. Boy! Their coats got all healthy and more importantly, so did their skin. We actually have fun cooking for them and freezing up big batches. You also must know that Cappy and I love to cook in general, anyhow, so this is just another 'adventure'. The other day while Cappy was working on that muscadine jelly project, I decided the dogs needed something harder to chew on for their teeth, so I found a recipe for dog bones. Since SparkyBear is always interested and watching everything we are up to, he was already in the chair, which Cappy had brought into the house for just that purpose; he wanted his dawg to have a comfortable chair to sit in while he 'helped' us, so I let him "help" me make his and MarkyBear's "cookies". I let him lick the spatula (which went into the dishwasher later in the STERILIZE mode).
Yes, they're spoiled and we're both a little weird about our little family. We were all excited for a few weeks, tho, thinking we had somehow accumulated a family of kittens. They had come at the right time and had done a marvelous job of erradicating some mice and a couple of rats who thought they could just move in. Cappy had always told me that we were never going to have a cat..."No cats in the house!!!" He didn't have to tell me twice. But he told me thousands of times over the last 8 years. "NO CATS EVER!! And I mean it!" Our dogs, Bichons, are notorious for loving cats. One used to come visit SparkyBear everyday when he was about one years old. She'd rub against him and roll around and play with him cuffing gently at him. He loved her. We called her Chatterly. Chat, being French for Cat, and she being our dog's Lady Cat friend. But she 'up' and disappeared. One day she was rubbing up against Cappy's leg while he sat on the porch swing secretly smiling fondly at her and the next day she was gone.
Now as to the new batch of kittens and their mother, I was excited and so, of course was SparkyBear, and I was aware that even Cappy seemed happy and excited about it, too. They were making themselves at home behind our shed, where the dog's battery collars wouldn't let them go. So they had a safe haven. Cappy told me to feed them a can of salmon every other day so that they'd stay around, but still hunt mice for a living. MarkyBear sat at rapt attention the whole time for hours every day, barking merrily at them (not the whole time). They knew he couldn't get to them, so they seemed content. The dog in the back yard adjacent to ours wasn't allowed to bark at them. He wears a collar that keeps him from barking. Maybe MarkyBear's barking bothered those people, I don't know. Cappy and I kept making MarkyBear "give it a break" and come back into the house. Cappy told me that there were two black kittens and he named them "Midnight" and "Jet". The little grey one he named "Smokey", the orange one he named, "Satsuma" and the multi-colored mother cat, all black and grey and orange splotches he named "Barbie-Q". We were all thrilled and excited. I planned on letting them get to know us, then one by one, bring the dogs out to meet them, which would take some time. Cappy said that sounded like a good idea. The little gray one let me stroke his head one time and Barbie-Q came and laid down by the food pan and 'talked' to me, but I didn't try to pet her. I didn't want to rush things. They had been there under our shed and in the thicket of our "Blues garden" since their birth. Brett, our young neighbor who mowed our lawn told Cappy about them weeks and weeks ago. Barbie-Q had chosen to raise her family in our yard under our shed. They lived here.
The next day MarkyBear sat there most of the day watching around the shed for them. I took salmon out and called, "Kitty-kitty" as usual, but nobody came out to eat. Smokey was usually the first one out. Cappy and I kept going out to check all day, too. Nothing. Nobody was home. Oh noooo. Not again. Cappy said somebody must have set one of those 'friendly traps' and taken them all away. How mean. I'm still tempted to call the animal shelter and ask if anyone has turned them in, and if so, tell them, "Those are OUR cats!!!" But honestly, I don't think that's what they did with them. It costs a lot of money to take even one animal to a shelter. We learned from our experience with Raliegh-Raliegh, our Katrina rescue dog. (you can search our blog to see how very, very nicely that turned out)
So, we are 'cat-less' again. Maybe for the better. I was already starting to wonder how I'd manage a family of kittens and their mother during this hurricane season if we had to evacuate.
Well, I see that the dogs are ready for bed. Actually, MarkyBear has already gone to bed in the dark bedroom, one ear left on high-alert, no doubt. SparkyBear is still 'hanging' with me, with his pajamas on, the dirdee little Amazon, but he's having a hard time keeping his eyes open. Guess I'll go get mine on and join them. G'Nite Yalllll :-)