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 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


Creating Space 2

It felt so good to organize my office and creative space that I had to write a post about it. Part I is here.

A place to write, craft, think, read, pray, pay bills, listen to music, read old letters.

A place to be interrupted.

Every day … every night … everywhere … here’s Sophie. Her cat attitude insists that no space meant for inspiration has any worth if she’s not at the center of it all. Darn cat … elusive when we initiate affection … demanding when she feels that she’s being ignored. I once had a 15-year-old in a lit class compare the temperament of a cat to that of his girlfriend in the same terms I just used. I hate to think it … but he was spot on in describing women in general. (Not all women, of course!)

Sophie is a high maintenance feline. She’s a talker and a clinger but NOT a cuddler.

To balance her out, we got her a playmate. This is Simba.

Sophie was not impressed with our choice of companions. It’s been six years … still not impressed. I won’t go so far as to say that Sophie hates Simba. I don’t think cats lower themselves to hatred. Disdain. That sums up Sophies attitude for that “other” cat in our house.

I should insert that My Guy and I kinda get Sophie’s point about Simba. We love him, but he’s not especially affectionate either, unless you are willing to put in 8 hours a day scratching his head. That’s it. You can only scratch him behind his ears and under his chin. He has a stealthy way of tricking you into thinking that you can pet him all over … then WHACK! He scratches you in half of a blink, and he has a high batting average for drawing blood.

Dang cat.

We get our revenge with the red laser light. Forever … he’ll run and chase that light, leaping into the air, burning calories by racing from the kitchen to the living room. Jokes certainly on him though … we know and he apparently doesn’t … that he’ll NEVER catch that red spot.

When I first started blogging, articles insisted that it was good to write about anything that interested me… anything except CATS. “Don’t fill up your posts with photos and stories of your cat. You’ll bore your readers.”

I don’t follow rules well.

But … this is a post about organizing a creative space and having a peace of “normalcy” in the mild of a pandemic and daily political tensions.While it’s fun to distract myself with cat photos and stories, I really have no excuse to not get back to work on projects. My button jars are glaring down from the shelf … urging me to plan ahead rather than wait two weeks before the holidays, when people start contacting me to see if I have any more cows or trees. (Maybe I need to add cats this year.)

As I think about how much I love having a crafting/creating space all to myself, (almost all … don’t forget Sophie) a few things occur to me:

  1. I was browsing through Pinterest today and realized that several years ago I started saving ideas under “Craft Room”. The Pinterest versions and my results are vastly different and not necessarily in a good way. Oh well.
  2. My Nikon takes much better photos than my iPhone. I’m sure you can tell which is which in this post.
  3. I find crafting with buttons to be very relaxing. I am not a natural born artist (if an artist at all) and know that my pictures find their charm in nostalgia (these are OLD buttons … not your typical crafting buttons) more than talent, but there’s something about filtering through hundreds of buttons and forming them into something interesting to look at. It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
  4. Sophie wants me to finish up this post and check her food bowl. Most likely she can see the bottom … a major source of alarm in our house.

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 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 your ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly