I am back, did you miss me? It's been a busy, weird, stressful but still good 4 months. I am sorry- I PROMISE never to be away that long again.
My name is Rhonda, and I am an animalholic. I know, I don't think that's a real word either-but it fits. It's really mostly dogs, but I love all animals-some more than others (spiders are NOT considered an animal, right??). I could blame it on my mom, but I really think my father is to blame. After all, it is he who used to raise Beagles, for rabbit hunting. Sometimes we had 30 dogs (including puppies) at once. My sister Kellie and I quickly became addicted to puppy breath. They should really just go ahead and make a body spray out of that ever-lovin stuff! Anyway-my Dad would leave for work, and tell us "Now don't ya'll go and ruin those pups." What he really meant was this, "Don't go in the pen and love on 'em, and pet 'em, let them crawl over and lick you, and make them pets instead of working dogs." He would barely be out of the drive way before we were laying in the grass being mauled and trampled by little furry, bellies-full-of-milk, happy, cute and sweet puppies! We couldn't get enough of them. So, yeah-it is clearly his fault. We always had at least one dog growing up. We had one border collie who was afraid of thunder. NEVER did a dog get to come in the house, except this one, and just right inside the door during storms. My Dad was very stern with his dogs, and not until he had his last one, Katie, did he ever really have one for just a pet, and not a hunting dog. She was all of 2lbs when he brought her home at 5 weeks old. Mom said, "I am not getting attached to that dog, I am not taking care of her, it's your Dad's responsibility." I looked and my husband and he said, "Yeah, that will last a week." Sure enough, about 2 weeks later, Katie was sleeping in their bed!!! I knew then my Dad was done for. This dog stole his heart. She was his very faithful companion; going hunting with him, fishing, to his place at Lake Seminole. They would be gone for weeks at a time sometimes. Everyone knew her-the guy at the golf cart shop, the people at the Lake where he went to eat breakfast. She worshiped my Dad, and he thought the world of her. As seldom happens, Katie outlived my father. He was taken 11 days shy of his 71st birthday by a cruel form of cancer. We took Katie to see him in rehab before he got too sick to not recognize her, then for the last time on Christmas Day 2004. He was in a coma then, and didn't recognize her, but she knew him, and I could tell by the look in her eyes-she knew it wasn't long until he would be gone. Fortunately-during my dad's illness he was in the hospital, or rehab a lot, and Mom and Katie spent many hours together. Mom got used to having to be there to let her out, feed her, etc. It was God's way of breaking them in-and giving them time to get used to being on their own together. My father passed away January 1st, 2005. After that you would have thought my Mom and Katie had been together forever. They became the best of friends. Now that precious animal gift from God is seeing my mom through the winter of her life as she deals with Alzheimer's disease. They live in North Dakota with Kellie, her husband and their two dogs. So Mom isn't alone, but neither is Katie. She has dog companions to keep her happy because I know that as time goes by my mother will become less attentive, due to her illness. I am glad they are both getting to enjoy each other, and thank God for my sister who is making sure they both have the best times possible right now.