|Basset Hound Sculpture at the Highlands Ranch Public Library|
In Memory of Elmer and Patches
Today I am indulging in whimsey and I hope you will enjoy it. But first I need to give you a little background information.
In 1988 we moved from Virginia to Colorado. At the time we were "between dogs" but my family of 5 (Beloved, me, and our 3 teens) wanted a dog again.
We bought a Beagle that I named Patches, and I have to tell you, she was the ditziest animal I had ever encountered. As all puppies are, she had a strong bent on destroying anything that was nice, including our beautiful new furniture and carpet. I had no peace when it came to that dog and numerous times I wanted to get rid of her. Of course that was a losing argument so I learned to make the best of her.
That's the background information. In one of my attempts to cope with the circumstances, I asked her to write our annual Christmas newsletter, but I did not tell anybody. People began to figure out, as they read the letter, that it was the family dog who had done the writing.
As you will see, by year's end, she was not the only canine in the house.
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Last year at this time Mom took snapshots of me beside the Christmas tree and called me things like "adorable" and "sweetie." My little heart overflowed with love and I knew 1989 was going to be a great year for me!
Well, it has been quite a year, although it didn't go quite like I expected. As a matter of fact, only a few days into the new year my personal needs became overwhelming on numerous occasions. I found it difficult to effectively communicate with Mom on a one-to-one basis. She usually wasn't nearby at the exact moment that I needed her, but she had an amazing ability to appear from out of nowhere once my needs had been satisfied. On more than one occasion during the winter of '89 there was talk of me leaving the family!
Dad is my hero! He loves me truly. He stuck up for me through thick and thin and even paid to have a private tutor come into the house weekly to teach me manners. He gives me little treats when Mom isn't looking. One of my very favorite parts of the day is to line up at the door with the rest of the family to greet Dad when he comes home from a long hard day at work.
With the arrival of spring my young life began to improve -- how I love the great outdoors of Colorado! One evening there was a birthday slumber party and guess who was put out on the porch! But I let them know that I am a 'party animal,' too. I called to them for so long that one of the neighbors telephoned Dad and told him to pay more attention to me!
In June the family gave me an all-expenses-paid trip of 7 days and 7 nights to a motel with a view of the freeway! Unfortunately I don't think they missed me very much. I hear they went to Disney World...
When school started in September I got so lonely. Mom was real busy with volunteering at the junior high. And the kids -- well, they were busy too. The eldest drives a car now and he also goes on dates! When the second one isn't busy winning art contests, he plays basketball with his friends on the driveway. I can hear him but I can't see him and it drives me wild! The youngest usually goes right up to her room to do homework and I like to go up to visit her. She always stops whatever she's doing and give me hugs and kisses and says sweet things in my ears.
I guess my biggest news is that one day Mom surprised all of us in a most unexpected way. She went to a city adoption bureau and brought home this handsome but obnoxious fellow they called "Elmer." He's about twice as heavy as me, and twice my age, and has a serious drooling problem. And what hormones! Mom would tell people Elmer thought I was "the cutest thing he'd even seen!" That was an understatement! Fortunately the big "galoot" was sent to see my personal surgeon for a couple of days and he's been almost gentlemanly ever since.
Mom takes pictures of the kids and us dogs all the time. She keeps saying that these days won't last forever because college catalogs are coming in the mail. I'm not sure just what that means. But I know that it's great to be loved and to be able to love in return. My family joins me in wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a New Year of Peace!
Patches the Beagle (age 15 months old)
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Note: Unfortunately, as of this writing, I cannot easily get my hands on snapshots of Patches and Elmer.