Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kennel Up by Jim Wilke

As the sun slowly warms the morning, a variety of grunts, growls, and yawns can be heard in the various parts of our yard. Or what used to be our yard. Being an average Joe, when we moved here, I had the various parts of the yard already dedicated to the “guy stuff”. Over there, I would park my boat and camper, to be used at my leisure. Over here, I would have my little shed that would match my little mechanical abilities. And a garden. And maybe a little shed for my fishing bait and supplies.

Yeah…..and maybe the beer fairy will put in a beer fountain in my yard.

When winter hits, ANYTHING with wheels in my yard will be frozen in place. This also applies to my truck. It is rather strange that with acres and acres of trees, rocks and other little animals, they constantly have to pee on MY wheeled things. When I am watching. And they always seem to be smiling.

They may have formed a pee squad so when they take their turns they always have a full bladder.

As far as my idea of having any of my little sheds? Who am I kidding? What used to be kindness applying to a couple of dogs headed for “termination” and a cheap store bought kennel has become frustration and 5 tiltingly constructed chain link kennels. And 2 horse trailers. And my gun room. And my den. And my living room. The tool box from my truck is now “food central”, serving as the one weather proof place to store and dispense the dog food we have in the yard. The other dozen or so bags of dog food are neatly stacked around the kennels in my “den”. My guns and fishing rods are stored in one small closet. Don’t tell the dogs.

My wife does not care to have children. I think the responsibility and the unknown about raising children scares her. I am a father from a previous marriage and I think I know the basic difference between raising children and dogs. When your child barks at you, you pretty much know what that child wants and it usually has to do with either your wallet or your car. When a dog barks at you it is like learning an alien language that varies with each dog. It can be something simple like “I’m hungry” or “I hafta go pee” to the tougher to decipher ones like “My butt itches” or “Hey guys, watch dad take even MORE aspirins when I do this!”.

I cannot say dogs are not a highly intelligent animal and, although they do get humor from the little tricks they pull on me, they do try to be helpful. They have even helped me coin new words.

We burn wood to fight off the winter cold. Our yard is now covered with “pindling”. Pindling is the branches, bark, and wooden handled garden tools that they chew sufficiently to fit in our wood stove. They have offered numerous part of garden hose fit to size but they do not burn all that well.

This summer, to fix a water line, I dug a hole alongside the house. They saw me do this. I fixed the water line and filled in the hole. They did not see this. When running on the loose and near this spot they will drop my missing gloves or whatever they were doing, and stop to dig and growl. They seem upset that the dirt went back into the hole, dad took it out for a reason darn it. When they are in this area they go “grigging”. Grigging is a combination of growling and digging reserved just to help out dear old dad. When the weather cools enough, I am going to fill in this hole and put a tire on top of it. Hopefully it will become one big peecicle that they can’t dig through.

They all have personalities as varied as any crowd you see in a city. The only white puppy we have at present has the unique habit of cleaning the oil and debris from the bottom of my truck daily. When the smallest dog we have has bounced high enough to look a tall man in the eye we know this one has some talents Michael Jordan would have liked to have had. And it does not matter how many knots I have included, we have a young Harry Houdini that can untie any shoelace in mere seconds. We have one very small one that, with a nod to my Native American ancestry, I have affectionately named “Chief Plenty Poops”. I do not think I need to explain that one.

They can be a pushy little bunch. I used to enjoy a candy bar from time to time but now it is rare that I get to. I think I know how a wino in a crowded wino alley would feel trying to pop the top on a new bottle of MD 20/20 when he has the only bottle.

A couple of years ago, after a person who was “supposed” to be my supervisor wrote me up on what an independent panel had concluded were false charges, I challenged his I.Q. Or if he had one. I felt he may have been about as sharp as a marble but working in Law Enforcement is no place to be having to look over your back all the time when there was usually also a threat in front of you. I basically said I was done having to deal with all the crap and resigned my post.

ANOTHER change in plans.

I am so still dealing with a lot of crap…but it isn’t so bad. These “supervisors” at least seem to love me for it.

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