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During a recent visit to his good friend and veterinarian for his annual check-up, Toby was moved into the position of “senior citizen.” When informed of this new status, the great terrier seemed to be more focused on the jar of goodies the doctor keeps for canines exhibiting good deportment. Frankly, Toby could not have cared less, as he barked at a bicyclist, a jogger, and another dog on the way home. Hey, life goes on after all!
Always helpful in the kitchen, Toby helped Sally prepare dinner that evening after, of course, gulping down his own dinner with glutinous abandon. He has the drill down pat: Dinner for him, dinner for us, and then . . . drumroll, please . . . THE WALK. Now, this is all-important as he needs to straighten things out before darkness falls. He sleeps a lot better knowing all is right in Toby-world.
This walk started as most do: Toby selects the direction and the inspection process begins as he works to convince all that he is a horticulturist. After determining someone else had been there earlier in the day, the familiar marking of his territory is properly executed and we move on.
Danger lurks, however, in the form of dreadful beasts that seem to have been conjured from the mind of Freddie Kruger, who must have a lair on this very road. The restraining leash must be conquered in order for the Airedale to protect his charges and do battle.
For now, however, the inspection of Toby-world must go on. A couple of weeks ago while walking this same route, Toby was investigating the area around our veterinarian’s mailbox. The kind-hearted doctor and his wife adopt dogs from time to time, so Toby feels he must be ever vigilant. After the inspection ritual, he proceeded and his fully upright tail happened to come in contact with “Snoopy:”
Well, folks, Toby is a bit of a dufus. After tail/Snoopy contact, he reacted as though the devil himself were after him! He went from zero to a tail-tucked dead run, stopping only to allow me to put my arm back in its socket. Sally and I just about had to sit down because we were laughing so hard! This day, however, Toby’s memory, undeterred since his senior status was declared, was on full alert. Naturally, from the terrier point of view, this is what Toby saw:
Wide berth has been rendered ever since that memorable incident. Okay, okay, y’all don’t walk under ladders, do you? Well, then, show a little respect!
Maddy's letter to her ARG Aunties
Hey "Auntie" Barbara and Miss Christina,
It has been way too long since my family has written to you! I can't believe it has been four years since I graduated from WOOF University with a degree in Obedience. I have recently had a refresher course in Leash Manners, but I still can't help getting so excited when I have the freedom to run and jump without the leash! Sometimes when we have company I need to retreat to my crate to calm down, but I don't mind since I almost always get a treat. As a matter of fact, I go stand in my crate often and make subtle noises to get noticed in hopes of getting a treat! I also know how to tell time and let my family know when it is 12 noon pretty much every day (that is my official biscuit time between breakfast and dinner). I am proud to say that I have never stolen anything off the table . . . that is until last month - that steak Dad just grilled smelled so good that I couldn't resist, but Mom was almost as quick as me and yanked what was left right out of my mouth (along with half my beard, I think). Did I tell you that I know another language? My sister taught me some signs in ASL and I can follow them perfectly on queue (especially when she has treat in her hand). She may be hard of hearing, but I am good at just pretending to be hard of hearing (especially if I get loose) - as a matter of fact, I can always hear treats coming out of their box (even from upstairs)!
I love to spend time with my family playing ball, tug of war, or just cuddling by the fireplace, but my most favorite thing to do is to go camping! I get so much attention - when we visited the Smokies last fall, so many people asked to have their picture taken with me that they didn't seem to notice the deer that ran right past us! I was also quite the hit when we stayed with Grandma at her retirement village this past Christmas - many of the older folks stopped to pet me in the hallways and commented that it seems rare to see an Airedale these days (BTW I aced the elevator routine much better this year)! When we’re at home, sometimes I go out in our yard and run back and forth with the horses, but I'm on one side of the fence and they're on the other. I do pass a lot of time curled up on my memory foam dog bed. Mom told Dad to quit blaming my snoring on her - I know she would like to blame my howling on him, but it usually wakes them both and then I hear them snickering!
On some evenings when everyone seems to be focused on their own activities, I may steal a piece of paper or some small object next to them and slowly parade it past them - it always works and gets them to look up and pay attention to me, and often results in a chase! Almost two years ago, I found something interesting in the yard to play with that they didn't know about. After I threw up all night, my family took me to see the vet early the next morning. He took an x-ray and said it looked like I had swallowed a bone and there were lots of fragments. It didn't surprise my family since they caught me chewing on a deer vertebra once before (I can never catch those squirrels, but they do bring some good stuff into the yard). My vet said he needed to operate right away because my intestines were starting to shut down. After the surgery he told them what I really did. That was no bone, he said, it was a roll of electrical tape with 36" unraveled throughout my intestines! I was one sick pup, but I was one fortunate pup and it didn't take me long to bounce right back to good health again! My vet has a special fondness for me since he used to raise Dales - he actually got another Dale puppy shortly after I came into his life! My family smiles at me a lot and they love me more and more every day - I am convinced of that when they hug me and get me to sing and howl with them! I have heard them say that they will only have Airedales from now on (wish they would get another friend for me)!!
Maddy (aka Madigan) and the rest of the family (Andy, Lynda, & Bethany)
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