Patches Finds A Good Home

Nearly a month has passed since I found that young pup hiding beneath a training room at the firehouse. I brought her home, knowing we could not provide a permanent place for her. Ours was a stopgap measure to prevent her from losing her life out on the US highway.

We contacted the local veterinary hospital, but they couldn’t help. Neither could the animal shelter because they are fighting Parvo – a serious dog disease – and unable to take anymore homeless animals.

This morning we came to grips with our dire situation. About 9 o’clock we took her to Walmart where I taped a sign on the windshield that read: PATCHES NEEDS A HOME.

Usually, the Walmart parking lot is filled to capacity on any given Friday morning. But not this morning. We parked close to the food entrance and waited. A half-hour passed before that magic moment arrived. A young couple needed a young dog to help his widower father through his long, lonesome days.

We,will miss Patches, but we are comforted knowing she is serving a greater need than ours.

A Dog Called Patches

I’ve written about this animal before. We don’t need a second dog. In spite of the numerous difficulties she’s created, she has worked her way into our hearts. Bottom line – I guess we haven’t tried hard enough to find her a good home, a home with kids.

Our oldest daughter, Evie, upon learning about Patches, shipped us a dog crate. I didn’t have any experience with those things, but the photo glued to the rails showed a chow dog setting half in/half out and looking content had to be a bald-faced lie.


Patches took to that crate like I would take to a blazing fireplace on a cold winter night. To add encouragement I rewarded her with a dog biscuit each time. Now, when I step outside to fetch her, she charges past me into the open door of the dog crate, turns around and sets down. 

Without a doubt we’ve all been to the supermarket and watched the youngsters so full of energy they are doing everything short of cartwheels while Mom is trying to compare prices.

Meet Patches.

This morning I didn’t bother attaching the lease while I let her take care of matters before we went inside. All the while she was leaping into the air like a freshly caught bass. And When I opened the door she passed me by like a dirty shirt.

Evie says she’s happy.

Once Upon A Time


Photo from the Internet

When our kids were growing we took them to the Chambers Street Medical Clinic. The architect of the building had been environmentally conscious of his task and built it without disturbing a stand of oak where a few families of squirrels lived. Over the span of 18 or 20 years several generations of squirrels came and went. But one thing remained the same, the the small pharmacy attached to the clinic always kept a store of peanuts for them. The squirrels had access to this store each time the door was opened. For years I watched the parade. Finally, one day, a squirrel was waiting for someone to open the door. My turn had come. I pushed the door open, but the squirrel didn’t move. He just looked at me. “You’re opening door the wrong way. You have to pull it open,” he pharmacist said from behind the counter. I followed his directions. The squirrel scampered inside, chose a peanut and then then headed for the trees.

Please Meet Patches


About a week ago I spotted an abandoned puppy taking shelter beneath a building at the nearby volunteer firehouse.

I’m an easy mark, I guess, so I took the dog home because she didn’t have anyone else who cared. We entertained hopes that the local animal shelter or the vet could help find a home for her. But she has not been that fortunate yet.

So we provide food, water and shelter while enjoying her kisses and her loyalty.

Doing What I Must

We live near a busy highway.Trucks as well as cars. So we always walk our dog, Mr. Black. As a result he’s pushing 13, older than any dog of ours yet.
During the first week of February while on our afternoon constitutional – his and mine – I discovered a newly weaned black pup lurking under an outbuilding near the volunteer firehouse. By her reaction to our presence it was apparent someone had dropped him off, 20 feet from the highway and then driven away.
Somebody needed to do something to protect this young life before it perished. Reflecting on an experience still vivid even after 40 years I couldn’t walk away.
It was during the winter of 1971 Barb and I saw little boy about three years old playing in front of a house while his mother was inside visiting. Barb said we needed to caution the mother, but I said we would only succeed in pissing her off. It was not our place to say anything. And we drove away.
About an hour later the little boy was hit by a passing car and killed. I could have saved that little boy’s life, but I didn’t.
Fast forward 35 years. Our next door neighbor walked out his front door, got in his car and began backing out of his drive without bothering to see where his toddler was, who was playing behind the car. I unloaded on the dunk bastard. He never spoke to me again. But saving a young life made dumping our friendship worthwhile.
All these tragic memories came surging back last week. True, it was only a dog, but it was one of God’s creatures and I had the power to change the outcome.  I brought the dog home hoping the vet or the animal shelter would help re-home her. So far much for wishful thinking.



This is Rhyolite, Nevada, a small, petered out mining town at the edge of Death Valley, and a few miles from Beatty. Barb and I ventured here a few years ago – a dozen, perhaps – and found this fenced off casino. Without a doubt, there was a time when this was the place to be.

We were touring on a motorcycle from the northwest and knew little about the wildlife living here, so I asked Barb to keep an eye out while I snapped this photo.

The shutter had hardly snapped before Barb shouted: “SNAKE!”

The rules state that when encountering a snake you should remain calm and move slowly. I broke all the rules.

Fortunately, it was a bull snake on a hunting expedition.  He went his way as did we.




Mr. Black aka Julius Sneezer

Riley Central suggested writing about a pet. Great idea.


Mr. Black joined a decade ago. He was a $10 dog from the Collin County Animal Shelter. Down through the years Barb and I have had a few dogs – Penny, Prince, Touser, Whiskers, Fluffy, Poncho, Rivets, BoBo, Amigo, Coaly, Junior, Harry, McBark, and Mr. Black. They’ve all been great housemates, offering companionship and unparalleled devotion.

McBark was the most traveled. He made numerous trips between Arizona, Oregon, Missouri, Texas, and he even went with us several times on the six-week semi runs across the lower 48 and Canada. He rode in a bike trailer across Missouri following the Katy Trail while Barb and I towed it with a tandem bike. He was ready for anything and asked for little in return. He even survived two snake bites – one from a sidewinder the other from a diamondback. But it was strokes and old age that finally took him out.

Mr. Black joined us after we were weary of our travels. We spend 24/7 with him. Not to sell McBark short, but Mr. Black has bonded more that any dog we’ve had the privileged of sharing a life with. At this very moment he’s napping in his bed that lies in the knee space beneath the desk where I’m writing. (He loves naps). While he speaks mostly with his ears and tail, he has developed a gigantic vocabulary. If he were to live another ten years he might learn to spell.