Things Your Dogs Want You To Know #1 ~ Borax, Vacuums and Responsibility

We had a series of wonderful dogs when you were growing up. All rescued, don’t forget that.

Max was your yellow lab. When your father and I were first together we used to visit a farm where they raised sheep and bred yellow labrador retrievers. Max was to be their new breeding sire, he was young and beautiful. We played with him every time we went and we told them we wanted a puppy from the first litter. Just before they were ready, it turned out that the new bitch had hip dysplasia and they decided it was time to retire from breeding. We got a call. They wanted Max to have a good home with loving people and they offered him to us!

Max was amazing, although at first he didn’t care for being left during the day. He ate my good work shoes to show me, and the remote control to show daddy how he felt about it. When you were born he slept in our room, as he had always done. From the day you moved to your bedroom he slept in your room until the day he died; he guarded you like gold. Max had a heart the size of Montana, he was run over several times, almost died, but kept on going.

Then there was Quincy, the adopted golden retriever. The story is complicated but the short version is that Grandma Joan got him after her ex moved to the house at the end of the driveway. Since Quincy didn’t know him, he would bark like a crazy dog every time he came out of the house. He offered to pay Quincy’s airfare if Grandma would send him to us, which she did. Quincy was a good dog. His best day in New Mexico was the day the the chicken fell out of the sky… but that’s a story for another day.

And then there was Jericho the border collie, who was really your dog. After Quincy died and our Aussie puppy was stolen, Bob and Dolly brought him home from Texas for you. Of course they didn’t ask us. They invited us over for dinner and after dinner they said, oh, we have a surprise. They let him out and he ran into your arms and it was all over. His white patches were red from being tied out in the Texas red clay and he was a sorry sight. You gave him his “bible” name because it was what you were doing in Sunday school! And he was beautiful when we cleaned him up. Jericho was afraid of a lot, especially that “vacuum monster”, but he was the most loving dog that ever was.

From the time you were just a little bit your job in the house was to feed the dogs. Responsibility for other living things can begin at a very young age. Even a toddler can scoop out a cup of kibble and put it in a bowl. Of course you ate your fair share (yuck). This remains your job, although now it’s just cats. Your pets taught you some important lessons over the years.

Loyalty, devotion and fun, these are all things that a dog brings to your life. They are good things to have whether you have a dog or not. You can learn more about unconditional love from a dog than almost anywhere else in life. The vacuum won’t hurt you even if it makes a big noise, that is a good thing to know, especially once you live alone. Borax laundry booster kills fleas, also very good to know. Sprinkle it on carpets and mattresses, it kills most any kind of bugs (not bedbugs, unfortunately). And it doesn’t hurt the other living things. Most important, remember that your pets are not able to feed themselves, just as your babies wont be. Your daddy told you when you were just a tyke, feed the helpless first, then yourself. Your dog needs you for survival and trusts you with his life, the least you can do is feed him on time.

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Things I Want My Son To Know #6 ~ Fix What You Can

Duct tape, WD40 and Birth Control.

Ok. So some things really touch your heart, some things are just seriously important and some things just have to be passed on. I am about to pass on the advice my dad gave me when I left for college at a too young age. So this is in the last category, but it is also just plain funny. I was leaving home at 16 and, unlike you, glad to be doing it. I had an adventurous spirit, something I hope you will grow a bit more of. Understand, for the purposes of putting this advice in context, that your grandfather had not lived with us since I was roughly six. And he was a bohemian, creative, brilliant artistic type. He was not your usual dad, just as he’s not your usual grandfather. The thing about your grandfather is that he not only knows how to fix most anything, he deeply believes that anything can be fixed. Sometimes he would like to fix things not worth fixing and while I believe we have become too quick to dispose of things, I also know there is a time to dispose; but that’s a different discussion. So there I was getting ready for college at sixteen and my father’s advice for going into the world was that you must have three things, and with those three things you could fix anything that needed fixing. The three things were duct tape, WD 40 and birth control. There are many jokes to be made here, all of which I have heard from friends with whom I shared this story, none of which bear repeating. While this is funny, there is something important to think about in it. These three things represent problem solving, having the right tool for the job, holding things together, making things work smoothly, being in control of and responsible for your actions, fixing things that need fixing and general self-reliance. These are all values that I wish you to hold dear. Not the least of which is that some advice, however goofy it may seem at the time its offered, just sticks with you.

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