Boo-Anne’s Betrayal (6/29/2016)

Doodle, a.k.a Boo-Anne, had been betrayed.

By the very man she loved more than a Milk Bone itself: Lamar.

The chunky little red dog was curled up on the couch, taking her post-dinner, pre-bedtime nap one evening when Lamar decided it was time for a bath.

She had artfully dodged bath time previously, ducking behind the couch or my chair anytime she saw Lamar.

He had warned her she was going to get a bath this time.

The little pibble mix stuck her chin up defiantly as if to say, “No, sir!”

She had outsmarted him and ducked to safety enough times to feel confident she was in the clear.

But alas, she was not.

Just when she thought because of the time that she was safe, she hopped up on the couch for her nap.

Lamar saw her reposed position – head on the arm of the couch, eyes closed in blissful slumber, and her belly slightly exposed in case anyone just had to pet it – and went in for the grab. He scooped her up in his arms like a baby.

“Get the bathroom door, Cole,” he instructed.

Cole ran to get the door, shocked his daddy would betray his baby girl this way.

The look on her face was priceless. At first, she may have briefly thought Lamar was going to cradle her like he did when she was a mere little puppy, holding her against his chest as he sang to her.

That look gave away to shock and horror as she realized he was walking towards the bathroom and she knew what that meant.

“Close the door, and do not, under any circumstances, open it until I tell you to,” Lamar told Cole.

Unlike the German Shepherd who nearly takes the wall down, Doodle just took her bath with great shame.

When done, she shot out of the bathroom like a pinball, running through the house, hitting one hiding place after another before settling on her spot behind my chair.

“Boo-Anne, did he not dry you off?” I asked her. “I have a towel….”

Big brown eyes peeked from behind the chair cautiously. She glanced right, then left before scurrying towards me.

I swaddled her in the towel and rubbed her somewhat dry.

When Lamar walked in, she ran back to behind my chair, going to the side between the arm and the shelves to look at him.

“I can’t believe you betrayed Boo-Boo that way,” I said.

Boo-Boo, Boo-Anne, Doodle—that dog was a true Southern belle because none of those were her given name of Angel.

“She needed a bath; she got out of them last time and she just thought she was going to get out of this one.”

She may have, but she didn’t expect to be so abruptly snatched from her nap to be chunky dumped in the tub.

“She will get over it in a few days. She loves me.”

I wasn’t so sure. Doodle could hold a grudge.

It didn’t take a day. Hours later, the pudgy pup was curled up beside him on the couch.

She may have forgiven but she didn’t forget.

When she saw him with the bottle of all-natural flea spray, she ducked behind the couch.

“I forgot to put conditioner on her but I want to make sure it’s not a flea,” was Lamar’s explanation while I watched him try to coax her out from behind the couch.

Boo-Anne peeked out before burrowing further behind her barricade.

It took a few days but he was finally able to spray her, sending her behind my chair for safety.

This time she put her little head up on my arm rest as if to ask, “Why do you let him do this to me?”

“Doodle needs her nails trimmed,” Lamar said. “I’ve got the clippers by the door. I need to grab her and take her out on the porch to trim them.”

“All you do is betray her, you know. She’s gonna get to where she doesn’t trust you anymore.”

“She trusts me fine,” Lamar said. “She knows I am taking care of her.”

Maybe she did.

And maybe the little weeble-wobbling dog also felt like her puppy rights were being violated and her trust was being equivocally betrayed.

Lamar even tossed the spray to Cole one evening for him to chase her into her hiding spot to spray her.

“She’s going to get you back,” I warned. “Payback is going to be bad, I’m afraid.”

Lamar didn’t think so. He was confident of the little dog’s love and loyalty.

As we returned home from church one evening, Lamar went into the bedroom to change and found Boo-Anne’s payback waiting for him.

“I told you she was going to get you back,” was all I said.

A woman scorned is one thing; a Boo-Boo betrayed is another.

Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission

Cole wants a corgi.

He saw one on a television show recently and fell in love with their squatty little bodies immediately.

He made a horrible mistake however. He asked his father if he could get one.

“No.”

The only time his father says this word is when it involves bringing home another pup as Lamar is usually the care-giver and the scooper of the yard.

Had Cole asked if they could ride their bikes sans helmets down the side of a waterfall or set something on fire, Lamar would have eagerly agreed.

But this time, Cole asked for a pup and Lamar shut him down.

A battle has ensued for weeks now, with Cole trying to convince his father why he needs a corgi.

Lamar, however, is unyielding.

Cole is even trying to convince him by telling him the merits of the pups.
“They are herding dogs,” Cole begins. “You love herding dogs.”

“I prefer German shepherds,” Lamar replied.
“But, but, but—”

Cole stops his sentence short realizing his father is not budging.

Taking his laptop and a pen, he sat at the table, furiously punching at the keyboard, then scribbling on his paper. Shortly afterwards, he stood in front of his father with an essay he had drafted to present his case.

I was impressed – the child had not only researched the breed but prepared a good argument for the corgi case.

Lamar sighed but still refused to budge.

“What am I gonna do?” Cole asked me later. “He’s not gonna let me get a corgi, is he?”

Cole was so upset he called in his reinforcements, the one ally he has no matter what, and the only one who will stand up to his parents: Nennie.

And Nennie, of course, thought the child deserved a corgi and was quite beside herself to hear her only grandchild had been told no.

“Is something wrong with Lamar?” she asked me. “He said no.”

Not just to Cole, she added but about a dog.

“Mama, have you met Lamar? He always says “no” anytime I or Cole say we are going to get anything. If I say, “Let’s get a dog,” he automatically says no. I just have to show up with one.”

Then it hit me.

That’s how I had brought home the last two; I just ceremoniously showed up, toting a puppy. It’s pretty much what I did with Mama when I was growing up any time a stray cat wandered into the yard.

A habit I picked up from my uncle, who still brings in every stray he can.

When my uncle came home with another dog one day, Granny fussed.

This was not unusual, the old gal fussed about everything. But she particularly liked to fuss about anything that had to be fed.

My gentle, quiet uncle ignored her.

A few years later, I found a kitten, all tiny and covered in fleas. We immediately took it to the vet.

While we waited, I looked at my uncle and whispered, “Is Granny gonna be mad at us?”

My uncle laughed. “Probably.”

Of course she would be — she was breathing, so she was mad about something.

“What are we gonna do?” I asked.

“Well, if we ask her, we know what she’s gonna say, right?”

I nodded.

I think Granny held the copyright on “No.”

“So, it’s better if we just take the kitten on home and ride it out. She’ll get over it in a couple of days or find something else to get mad about. Eventually, she’ll forgive us.”

He was right. She was furious at first but thankfully, her sister Bonnie ticked her off about something else and she had a new rant to focus on.

I wasn’t sure how my uncle knew this would happen. Then, I realized: he learned it from the old gal herself.

I had outgrown my tiny closet and sorely needed a place to put my clothes. I was a teenage girl – clothes were an obsession. I had found an armoire that was perfect but expensive so no one would buy it for me.

Mama’s sensible suggestion was to put my clothes in the drawers when she left them folded on my bed.

I thought that was insane.

These were peplum skirts, cropped jackets, Bedazzled sweaters, and other high-fashion horrors.

I couldn’t put them in drawers.

Mama’s other not-so-sensible suggestion was to weed out my clothes; there were only 7 days in the week, I couldn’t possibly need 17 pairs of jeans.

Granny told me she would come up with a solution.

“Don’t you worry about it,” she told me when I asked what she was going to do.

The following day, my Pop had a message to call a contractor. Being a roofer who worked with most of the contractors in our town, Pop called him back, thinking it was about a house he needed to cover.

When he got off the phone he bounded down the hallway looking for my grandmother.

“Helen, did you call and ask about quotes to add on to the house?” he demanded.

Granny didn’t even look up from the biscuits she was making. “I did.”

“What in the dickens were you thinking?” he asked.

“I was thinking that Sue needed a better way to hang her clothes up. And since no one wants to get her something suitable, I figured we’d just go ahead and add on to her room there and get her a closet and her own bathroom, too.”

The next day, my armoire arrived from the furniture store.

“Would you have really added on to my room if he hadn’t bought it for me?” I asked.

The old gal gave me an opossum-eating briars grin and said, “Yes, I would have.”

“What if he had a fit?”

The smile grew bigger.

“Well, Shug, it’s better to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission any day.”

As long as he asked, the answer Cole would get would be no.

But maybe asking forgiveness would at least get him the dog.

 

Just can’t have anything nice (2/24/2016)

Much akin to Jeff Foxworthy’s cry when his mother’s Elvis Jack Daniels decanter was broken, my grandmother declared she couldn’t have anything nice.

This, of course, was after her porcelain praying hands statue had been knocked to the floor to break for the umpteenth time.

Whether it was Mama and my doing or Mama’s cat, Bennie, has long been forgotten as we usually rotated who got to break the sacred hands every month.

I thought Granny was just being a tad bit overdramatic and embellishing the facts -hereditary problems among the women in my family – but alas, the old gal spoke the truth.

I even discovered as hard as I tried, I may not be able to have anything nice either.

It’s an odd thing, actually.

I think it may actually stem from living in your own home. That seems to be the best way to cause things you like to get damaged, broken or destroyed.

Mama asked me if I still had my coffee on the porch every morning in my rocking chair.

When I told her I hadn’t done that in years, she wanted to know why.

“Doodle ate my chair,” I answered.

She literally cut her big pup teeth on the wooden rocker, eating the wicker seat until she fell out of it.

She ate a table, too.

I’ve had people tell me they wouldn’t have dogs who ate their furniture, shoes, floor, cabinets and all the various other things my girls have eaten.

The husband has broken more stuff and I haven’t taken him to the pound yet.

On the porch is also an antique farmhouse table – I have no idea how old it is, but I bought it from a friend who is an antique dealer. It’s primitive, roughhewn and beautifully simplistic.

My husband thinks it is a good table to hold various cans of lube, grease and God knows what other bicycle paraphernalia he has put on it.

“I can’t have anything nice,” I muttered when I saw the bike stuff on it.

It’s not a matter of being materialistic, because really – I’m not.

I just have discovered that there is a correlation between the nicer something is, the more likely it is to get broken.

Cheap stuff or stuff you don’t really like, you can’t get rid of, no matter how hard you try.

It’s like dinner plates you hate the pattern of – they never break. I had a pattern I absolutely loved before and I had to replace them within a year.

The shoes I splurge on end up getting stuck in something and breaking a heel.

The dress or pants that fit perfectly (and make me look thin) get splashed with bleach or a pen explodes on them.

“I think Granny was right!” I told Mama one day.

“About what?” she wanted to know.

“Well, everything really,” I said and meant it. “But you know how she said she couldn’t have anything nice? I am wondering if I can either.”

I ran down the list of things I had that had been broken, eaten, and had grease stains on by way of a bicycle.

Mama understood.

She remembered putting down brand new flooring once and someone tracked mud in on it the minute the installers were gone. For someone who hated vacuuming, easy to maintain flooring was Mama’s idea of “nice.”

“Maybe you should put everything up you want to keep,” she suggested.

I could but it’s hard to do. It may mean about 80 percent of my belongings will be in some storage box, shoved in a closet.

“I don’t know if that will help,” I said. “I think I am just going to have to learn how to not have any kind of attachment to things. I want to have nice things but at the same time, I don’t want a house that me and my family and dogs can’t live in.”

Mama agreed.

While I was telling Mama all of this, Cole was desperately trying to get my attention. I kept trying to signal to him I was on the phone. When I finally hung up, he told me quite frustrated that Doodle had eaten another shoe.

“Mama,” he began, exasperated. “I tried to tell you while you were on the phone, but you wouldn’t listen. So you can’t blame me for this. If you had paid attention for just a few minutes, I could have told you Doodle was eating these.”

I sighed.

I can’t have anything nice – and I only have myself to blame.

Find out more with the Dawson County News!

Ava

What Ava wants, Ava gets (10/28/15)

Ava my German shepherd is quite verbal.

Really, she is.

She may not have all the consonant sounds down but she’s got her vowels.

We discovered she could ‘talk’ when we brought her home and I told her she could lie down, that she was home.

She looked at me, all ginormous ears and said, “Ro ram?” She promptly jumped up in the well-worn recliner that had cradled three German shepherds before her and went to sleep.

Now, she’s using her words to be vocal about other things.

Like treats. Ava likes to eat and isn’t ashamed to tell you when she’s hungry.

“What do you want?” we will ask when she paws at us.

“Onnngry,” she will bellow.

“You’re not hungry are you?”

“Ro ram.”

She is so serious about her food that when Lamar opened the big container we store the food in to show her he needed to go to the feed store, she wailed a repetitive, “Roh no, roh no, roh no,” before flinging herself dramatically on the floor as if her greatest fear had come upon her.

She’s quite the drama queen, too.

She gets extremely emotionally – ranging from joy to despair, depending on the status of her treats. If the cookie jar is low, Ava will grab my hand in her mouth to lead me to the jar as if telling me, “Hey, girl, do you not see we are low on the treats here!”

When I return from the store, she checks each bag until she finds her treats, then sits and looks at me impatiently until she gets the first one.

She’s the jive talking treat hustler, blocking the path to the bathroom until you pay the potty toll of a treat. We have since moved the cookie jar into the mudroom, where now she paws the door to indicate what she wants.

She usually wakes me up by nuzzling my face gently in a gesture that seems precious but I have learned her ulterior motive is to just wake me up so she can hustle on. I’ve told Mama it takes me a good 15 minutes to get my coffee in the morning just because Ava is trying to persuade me for a treat.

In an effort to be fair, we always make sure the other two gets treats as well, even though Ava requires twice as many. But, we reason, she is twice their size. Even the vet made several comments on her size, saying she was an extremely large girl. I countered with, “She’s just big boned,” but I’m not sure the vet agreed.

The big-boned girl doesn’t mind sharing the treats but she does have an issue about who gets to be next to Lamar.

Doodle, the pittie mix, is the biggest Daddy’s girl in the world and thinks her designated spot is curled up beside Lamar or on his lap, when she can get her chunky self up there. This infuriates Ava to no end, to the point she will bellow for Lamar to “Oooove Ooodle!”

Lamar is torn. He’s always been a German shepherd guy and he never imagined he would fall in love with some little parking lot pibble who has wrapped him around her chubby paw. (To the point he calls her, his ‘baby girl.’ I’ve even gotten a tad bit jealous.) But he can’t make Doodle move, it would hurt her feelings and she would go behind the couch to pout and cry.

Doodle, instead, handles the situation for him, putting her paw on Ava’s big head and pushing her away, never making eye contact with the big dog.

The two otherwise get along famously, except when Ava overzealously sucks on Doodle’s ears. We haven’t figured out why she likes to suck on Doodle’s head but she does. She’s even done it to Pumpkin, who considers the shepherd her arch nemesis, and was not amused. But what’s a dog to do?

Ava relaxing by her arch nemesis, Pumpkin

Ava relaxing by her arch nemesis, Pumpkin

“Mama, these dogs are running things here. And Ava thinks she’s boss just because she’s bigger and can talk.”

Anyone else would think I was a ditzy dog lady, claiming my dog was verbal but Mama and I both knew her cat, Bennie, could talk.

“Are you letting Ava have her way?” she wanted to know, and I told her for the most part, yes. She’s quite persuasive, persistent, and well, she works those puppy eyes, putting her ears back to show them off to their full big, brown adorable effect. She knows how to work it.

It’s hard not to let her have her way; before she came to us, we had been broken hearted, losing three of our dogs – two German shepherds and the evil beagle—within a month. She had come into our life at a time we needed the peace only she could give. The Border Collie was glad to have her here, even if she won’t admit it.

“I don’t have much of a choice, do I?” I said. “What Ava wants, Ava gets.”
And really none of us would have it any other way.

It was all because of a dog

Some love stories begin with chance meetings, glances across the room, or even horrible blind dates that actually work out.

There’s conflict, fights, breaking up, making up, drama – all that great stuff Danielle Steele writes about in romance novels.

Maybe I should feel like something is wrong, because we celebrated our 12th anniversary on Tuesday, and we haven’t had any of that.

But our unconventional story began with the goddess of love herself, Venus.

Venus, the German shepherd, probably didn’t intend to play Cupid – or maybe she did.

I am pretty sure she felt like she orchestrated our whole relationship.

She was our unintentional yenta, after all, escaping from her kennel at Lamar’s mother’s house while she was supposed to be dog-sitting while Lamar was out of town working.

The dog ran wild for a week.

I was the one who rounded her up a couple of days before Lamar came home to get her.

I am not one to believe in love at first sight. Unless there is a dog involved, and then, it is empirically possible.

I fell in love with this dog the minute I saw her, scratching her ears and letting her lick my hand through the gate as I put her back in her kennel.

I didn’t know who her owner was, but I knew somehow, that dog was supposed to be mine.

Lamar showed up at his mother’s Estee Lauder counter a few days later, not too happy she had lied to him about his dog.

I was at my Clinique counter, telling a friend about a new cream eyeshadow.

“Gotta go, cute guy at Lauder,” I said, hanging up the phone.

Lamar has said he knew then he wanted to marry me, standing in my stocking feet, hair piled on my head and decked out in a Clinique lab coat because I had been good to his dog.

I’ve joked he wanted to marry me because I had food and cable -which he does not really refute – and I married him to get the dogs.

“Daddy didn’t really marry you for cable and food, did he?” Cole will question, not 100 percent sure. “Y’all loved each other.”

Being a hopeless romantic, Cole thinks everyone has a fairy tale romance like Pam and Jim on “The Office” or Waddles and the goat on “Gravity Falls.”

So naturally he thinks our backstory involved a lot of romantic gestures like roses, poems and candlelight. I have to remind Cole real life romance is not like you see on TV.

And that his father is not really good at the woo part of a relationship; Lamar hasn’t even officially proposed.

“Do you think you would have even met Daddy if it hadn’t been for Venus?”

Maybe.

Who knows?

He was about ready to move back to Colorado – if he had, I probably would have never met him.

Lamar’s kind of shy, too.

He may never had a reason to speak to me if he hadn’t thanked me for saving Venus, let alone ask me out.

His mother was the one who called me later to ask if she could give him my number.

She had a caveat though: “He’s got two more of those big German shepherd things at home – three of them. And they are inside. They shed everywhere.”

I pretty much judge people based on how they treat animals. And being an animal lover is on the top of my list of redeeming qualities in people.

The fact he had three and they were inside gave me a pretty good idea of what kind of person he was. So I gave her the OK.

During one of our early dates, he asked me if I wanted to go meet the dogs.

I said yes and wondered if Venus would remember me.

She did, running straight to me, leaning against my legs, and doing her signature paw on my foot move she would do, as if to say I was her person.

And I was – for the 10 years I had her after we married, she was my soulmate and constant companion.

“So, I am here, and we’re a family, all because of Venus?”” Cole said, thinking all of this over.

“Yup,” I said. “All because of a dog named after the mythical goddess of love.”

Pretty appropriate, if I do say so myself.

Dog Envy (12/10/2014)

I admit, I make a big fuss over these pups. These sassy, spoiled girls are pretty special to me and I do tend to love on them constantly.

I don’t have a favorite – I love them all the same.

Really, I do.

But Cole will tell you Angel Doodle, the curvy pit-mix, is my baby girl.

I was on the phone one night with Mama, telling her the Doodle’s latest escapades. She is quite the mischievous little whosa, getting into quite the pickles and jams but getting off scot free due to her adorableness.

How can you not adore a little weeble-wobble who wakes you in the morning, putting one paw on your shoulder while she pushes her head into your other for an embrace? It’s preciousness!

She still thinks she is the teeny tiny puppy I brought home from Walmart last spring and tries to get up on my lap. As a puppy, I could position my laptop to one side, her in a corner and she would sleep for hours. Now, that arrangement is not working so well.

And said laptop is looking worse for wear. Three buttons are missing, thanks to the Doodle.

Not entirely her fault. She was playing with Pumpkin and the Border collie got a wee bit too rough for her.

Of course, if you raise your voice at the Doodle, she will hide behind the couch and cry.

But she jumped up on my lap and took off two buttons one night, another the next.

I was telling Mama how the Doodle’s newest theme song is “All About That Bass.”

Yes, she has a theme song….and yes, I sing it to her.

As Mama and I laughed about the goings on of my girls, particularly the pit-mix, Cole glared at me over his laptop.

“She can do no wrong!” he exclaimed.

“Who?”

“The Doodle,” he said, sounding disgusted. “If I tore three buttons off your laptop, you would be mad, but Doodle does it and it’s ‘oh, heeheee, bless it, she was scared!'”

“That’s not true,” I said.

“Yes, it is. You are always loving on the Doodle, kissing the Doodle -”

“That little spot between her eyes just begs to be kissed,” was my defense.

It does. Really. If you saw her, you’d want to kiss it too.

And she loves it – she pushes her little head in to get more kisses.

“You call Nennie to tell her the Doodle News. It’s ridiculous.”

Where did this come from? The Doodle was actually curled up next to the child on the couch, sleeping good and looking oh, so adorable. She had even been able to win over Lamar, who had proclaimed one night if the German shepherd couldn’t get on the bed, she wasn’t either. We found her later, asleep with her head on his stomach.

“What?” he said defensively. “She’s just a baby.”

“He’s jealous of the Doodle,” Mama said on the phone. “You’re not paying enough attention to him!”

That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. The president gets less attention than this child.

“Mama, he gets plenty of attention. Trust me.”

“No, I don’t!” Cole cried. He woke the Doodle from her pre-bedtime nap. Sensing his agitation, she licked his face, pawing at him to say everything was OK.

“Cole! You get plenty of attention! If you got more, I’d have to hire someone to come here!” I exclaimed. “I hate to say this, but I think you are being a tad bit silly.”

He dropped those lashes and said ruefully, “Said the woman who was jealous of a cat.”

“What?” Mama asked on the other end. It’s hard having a discussion – one in person, one on the phone. And now Doodle was needing to be cuddled; her nap was cut short. It was 8 p.m. – bed time would be soon. Who was going to soothe her?

“Who was jealous of a cat?” I asked.

“You.”

“Who?” Mama said. “You haven’t had a cat in years. Is he jealous of Kate?”

Kate is my uncle’s million dollar cat. She is fierce, wild and rules the western corridor of Walton County from her perch in my grandmother’s closet.

“I believe he’s referring to me,” I said.

“Why were you jealous of a cat? Oh….wait a second. He means my Bennie, doesn’t he?” she said.

Yes, he meant her Bennie. Her Bennie, who was, I will admit, a beautiful, sweet heart of a cat. All black and white fluffy fur, she would mold to you when you hugged her. Unlike other cats, Bennie wasn’t aloof but quite the hostess, entering a room, tail high to greet company when they arrived.

When I had returned from my honeymoon with the ex, we went to see Mama at her post-retirement, trying not be bored to death, job at Walmart. Mama called a co-worker over, saying: “I want you to meet my baby.”

The woman looked at me confused.

“Jean, I thought Bennie was a cat?”

I promptly shrugged Mama’s arm off my shoulders.

“Your baby is a cat? You talk about your cat more than you do me? You love that cat – more than you do me!”

Mama looked at me straight faced and said: “Well, Bennie’s not going to ever up and marry and leave me, now is she?”

I didn’t mean to do it. But I had been making a big fuss over the Doodle – her firsts, her puppy cuteness.

“She’s almost two and weighs more than I do. She’s not a puppy anymore!” Cole will say.

Maybe not. But I was making him feel like she was more important than him and that was not right and not true.

And if anyone knew how wrong that was, it was me.

Living up to a cat was tough enough, I shouldn’t expect my own child to live up to a Doodle.

http://www.dawsonnews.com/section/30/article/15842/

Some Spoiled Dogs (8/27/2014)

When you live in a small town, people know you. When you have the privilege of living in a small town in the mountains, people know your dogs, too.

“How’s the girls?” asked one of the owners of the brothers feed store when I went to get dog food one afternoon.

“Spoiled rotten,” I responded, easing up to the counter. “I’ve got three divas piled up on the couch at home, probably fussing because I am taking too long to get their kibble. Ava has already had quite the fit when she realized the bag was empty.”

Ava the German Shepherd keeps a close eye on the food situation. If the bag gets below the halfway mark, she starts pacing around it to make sure if anyone gets any extra nibbles, it’s her. She will even sleep beside the bag, with a paw on it for added protection.

When she was told after their 6 a.m. breakfast – something she has initiated since we’ve had her – that the bag was empty, she had a fit.

“All gone.” I showed her the bag. She stuck her head in to the bottom, licking and snorting for any kibble dust. She even lifted the bag up, her head still enclosed, trying to see if there was any stuck in the corners.

When she pulled herself out, she looked at me all worried and barked.

“It will be this afternoon before I go,” I told her.

The dog promptly threw herself down on the floor with a dramatic “whoomp” and laid there, like a great sorrow had befallen her.

“I thought she was gonna need the vapors,” I told the brother after I recounted my story to him.

He laughed. “Girl, what would you do if you ran out of food and it was Sunday when we weren’t open?”

“Oh, that’s happened,” I said. “It ain’t pretty.”

When running errands one Saturday morning, I asked Lamar if we needed dog food. He thought we were fine; he’s the one who feeds them, so you’d think he would know. But all he was thinking about was pedaling across some mountain that morning and he didn’t have time to go back in to check the food.

“What happened?” the brother asked.

“I ended up cooking the girls some eggs and putting some cottage cheese in it,” I answered. “I am pretty sure Ava liked that better.”

“Those are some spoiled dogs,” he said laughing.

They are beyond spoiled.

I had been trying to fatten Ava up. She was tall and lanky and I was used to my curvy and filled out pit-mix and my athletic Border collie.

But Ava is boundless energy and all legs, running through the yard, chasing bees. So I was feeding her extra goodies, hoping she would gain. I had fattened Venus up when I first met her with chicken broth and wasn’t sure why I couldn’t seem to put weight on Ava.

She had been itching relentlessly too for a while, until someone mentioned she may have a wheat allergy. After a week on the whitefish and sweet potato feed, Ava quit itching, the fur on her hinney started growing back and she was starting to fill out.

“So she likes her food and it helped?” the brother asked.

“Oh, yes, she loves it. They all do, even the picky one does.”

Pumpkin’s the pickiest. Angel Doodle will eat paper towels like a goat, so she’s not exactly a connoisseur.

“And, it’s helped her tremendously. She’s still on the thinner side but she’s just taller than I am used to. When she stands on her hind legs, she’s as tall as I am.”

“What are you going to do when she’s over 100 pounds and taller than you?” he asked.

“Let her do whatever she wants,” I answered. Which she pretty much gets to do now. Dogs are like children and when they are quiet, they are up to something.

One morning, I realized Ava wasn’t on the couch or on her yoga mat, which used to be mine until she got on it and refused to get up one evening.

But she was noticeably absent from her sisters, so I went looking for her, finding her stretched out across the foot of my bed. She smiled without opening her eyes and wagged her tail.

She wasn’t hurting a thing and she knew it. She was just doing what three other shepherds before her had done and I said when I had another one, I would never fuss about them drooling on my comforter again. I kissed her on her muzzle and let her finish her nap.

“I’m going to say it again,” he said, still laughing. “Those are some spoiled dogs.”

That they are, I agreed.

“If I come back as a dog in my next life, I hope I come back as one of your dogs,” he said.

They are spoiled and they are loved. They are part of our family and they know it. And I think they somehow know how good they’ve got it.

Just like we know how lucky we are that we have them.