Small Town Dog Owners – 5 Observations

There a few things that quickly come to mind now that we have ventured back into life with a puppy in our little town.

1 – Don’t dare bring home a new dog and not immediately introduce it to all of the neighbors and shop owners in town. They don’t have dog teats in their pockets and behind the counter for nothing. (I’m still working on smoothing things over at the Coffee Shop)

2 – Dogs are not pets here. Neither are they simply members of a family. They are an extension of the whole community. (I’ve sometimes wondered if they get included in the census.) Farm dogs … town dogs … big beasties … little yappers … everyone knows whose dog belongs to whom, their names, their favorite type of treat, their birthweight, their barking decibel .. . okay … I exaggerate … but I do think many of us know more about each other’s pets than possibly about each other’s kids.

3 – Photos are a must. If you have a cell phone, you’d better have a picture of your pet especially if you use the word “puppy”. Even dog haters seem interested in puppies. Puppies are immune to the loathing created by grown-up barkers, garbage hounds, growlers, whiners, cat-chasers, poop-in-the-neighbor’s-yard leavers.

4 – People in our community don’t feel compelled to give you advice about your pet unless you ask. Well, usually. I was surprised at a restaurant (not in my town) how quickly the waiter jumped into advice-mode, grilling us with questions when we mentioned that we were considering a puppy. “Do you have a fence?” “How big of a dog?” “Are you home during the day?” “You know they’re a lot of work, right?” The person didn’t even know us or our past experience with dogs yet seemed compelled to dive into what was wrong or right with breeds we were considering and with our living conditions.

We only mentioned that we were thinking about a puppy, yet out poured the interrogation.

“He just loves dogs, Honey,” My Guy said later when I aired my irritation. “I don’t think he meant it personal. He was excited for us.”

Still … it seemed over the top.

It’s been a little of the same on social media too … people jumping in with their advice and loaded opinions about dogs once they learned we have a puppy. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to happen overly much in our circle or in our rural town where dogs are a staple of farm and small town life. The dog-loving souls here assume that if you’re getting a dog you know what you’re doing or will ask for help if you need it. And if you don’t, there’s always our local code enforcement officer who will clue you in upon a couple of complaints. (Wink wink)

5 – Yes, it’s certainly a “more the merrier” feel around here. Until … 1:00 in the morning on a hot summer’s when windows are wide open, an invitation to cooler air. That’s when we all become aware of just how many pooches are in residence. It takes about a day for the disgruntlement to wear off as folks air out their frustrations at the coffee shop or in front of the post office the next morning …

“Did you hear that 101 Dalmations mess last night? Gawd, every dog in the county must have been yacking their heads off .”

“Who didn’t hear it, except my wife who turned off her hearing aids. What a racket … the neighbor said he heard coyotes first tho’. That’ll get everyone started. Coyotes have been moving in closer and closer … people are losing cats, someone said.”

“That so? Well, I guess all those mutts are just doing their job. Gee whiz, tho’. Between the heat and the mutts … how does a body sleep?!”

I guess we don’t sleep on those hot summer nights … but at least we have faithful companions to wag their tails at us the next morning and remind us of how cute they are. How worth it … right?

So far, Tillie isn’t much of a barker except when playing.
Bonus observation … a Pandemic is both a good and rotten time to get a new pet.

Good … because the extra companionship in a world of social distancing and isolation is nice. Life feels a little more normal with a playful puppy. Puppies aren’t aware the half the world has seemed to lose its mind in one fashion or another. They just play, poop, and make life a little more fun.

Rotten … because I’m now more confused than ever about what’s in my pockets. Face mask. Hand sanitizer. Glasses. (Face mask on … glasses off and visa versa.)

And NOW, doggie doo-doo bags and dog treats. Life wasn’t complicated enough trying to maneuver all of the COVID rules … now I have to maneuver puppy protocols too.

I sometimes tuck some chocolate covered almonds in my pockets (for me) … but after almost chowing down on a dog biscuit instead, the human treats are not for pockets any more.

I may have to resort to a doggie back pack to carry all of Tillie’s goodies around. Guess there’s bigger problems to worry about in the world, so I’ll end up my complaining with some cuteness. Wishing my readers a bit of hope as we come upon one year of craziness. Hope you are well and that life is settling in good ways for you and yours.

And not to be forgotten … we still love our cats. Sophie is making sure of it, so I’ll let her have the last look.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I write.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Angels Among Us

They say there are angels among us … a recent walk in the neighborhood proves this to be true where I live.

I’m not sure when this little cherub first arrived or who put her there, but I first noticed her in the fall. She’s positioned so she seems to be keeping watch over the town. This week she’s facing the south ends of town … a few weeks ago she was facing north … guess she’s got all of us under her watch.

The pandemic has been tough on our little town, and as goal posts in our state have shifted around, it feels recently that people are losing optimism. That’s why walking does me good. On my walks I’ve found …

Peace …

Serene neighborhood views …

And beautiful sunsets.

While the news is often bleak, the scenery reminds me of an area that produces hardy people … we’ve proven in the past to be made of sturdy stuff around here.

And with angels looking over our shoulders, pandemics can’t have the upper hand forever. Right?

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I keep.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Where the Wild Things Are

2020 has been harsh. Can’t count the times that I’ve leaned back and thought, “Wow … what would I do without the wild things?”

When I can’t stand one more debate over face masks or listen to one more news headline that starts with the letters “C-O-” and ends with the number 19…

When my stomach is all knotted up over what how kids are being affected…

When I can hardly stand thinking about senior citizens battling a cocktail of fear and loneliness…

When all this craziness boils over in my brain …

I hunt down my walking shoes and head for where the wild things are.

Where the wild things are … nature.

Nature, resolute and unflinching.

Nature, luscious after drowning rain one week … busting with brilliance of color after scorching heat the next … growing peaked when the heat persists too long.

Nature has been a classroom. Early this Spring, My Guy and I spotted two geese flying with a small flock of ducks. Birds of different feathers joining forces. The news these days would have me believing that this can’t be true of animals or of people. Not true on either front.

Nature has been a reminder that powers much bigger than me are at play.

I’m not really a fan of sci-fi, but a high school teacher turned me onto Ray Bradbury, who in turn led me to Sara Teasdale.

I’ve thought of her words often of late …

There Will Come Soft Rains
Sara Teasdale, 1920

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild-plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

When I see wild flowers boastfully fanning themselves just before the sun drops them into darkness …

When birds hop carelessly free among untamed bushes, unworried about anything but the berries they’re about to pluck…

When owls wake up the darkness with the soft wooing…

When nature does what it knows to do …

I’m a little envious.

Envious of the simplicity …

Of the steadfast continuing on whether storm or calm …

Of the inability to seek revenge or hold onto grudges.

Our small town hasn’t escaped the blow of a pandemic or the shaking of racial strife … yet, I feel that it’s all a little gentler here. With the lessons of the wild things, there’s a strong sense of, “We’re all we’ve got … let’s make this work.”

People are not unlike the wildflowers. We strive to bloom. We bend with the winds.

We may be a bit battered by storms but not easily broken.

We may fade and wither under pressure, but even in fading, we can help others to shine … just like this field of wild flowers.

Nature is forgiving.

It seeks revival after storms.

It fights against drought.

It endures its seasons.

It refreshes a weary spirit.

Thank God for nature.

Because of later than normal rainfalls, wildflower season stretched further into summer months this year. Hope these photos gave you a break from the regularly scheduled mayhem, now known as 2020 and let you breathe a little deeper … where the wild things are.

How have you “de-toxed” from the craziness of this year?

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can read more on my “Thought Blog” at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

All photos on SmallStuffLiving are the personal property of Sausmus Photography and of this blog. Please do not use without permission. Thanks!

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