My furry friend

As I celebrated April Fool’s Day I also celebrated the anniversary of finding a new furry friend. The dog that we had gotten from the Humane Society fourteen years ago was still around at the time, but she was getting gray and many of her faculties were not as good as they used to be.

I dearly loved Hannah, but I knew her time with me was limited. I did not want to be without a dog because I had come to depend on her as a faithful companion. When my husband died she was my furry tear collector. She sensed that I needed extra attention I think.

Micah is my first dog that I actually picked out and trained on my own. All of our other dogs were trained by my husband and me. Hannah ended up becoming my dog by default and I dearly loved her.

Micah has been different. Since I am retired I wanted a dog that would truly be my companion. From the moment I picked up Micah he settled into that role. He was perfectly content to just sit with me. There was not a sound from the kennel in the back of the car as I brought my new dog home.

He trained quite easily having a big furry sister to follow around. After a time I put a collar on him for my Invisible Fence. He got zapped a time or two, but he learned quickly. I could put him out on his own to do his business.

It has now been two years since I brought him home and he has not disappointed me. I think that was really brought home to me on the snowy day in February when I watched the Westminster Dog Show. As soon as Micah heard the bark of a dog he was hooked. He sat in my lap and seemingly watched the whole thing.

Micah’s papers say that he is a Shih Tzu mix. I say he is more mix than he is Shih Tzu. As I watched the dog show a beautiful Shih Tzu took first place in its class. That was when I really realized that Micah did not seem to look anything like him. The only feature that I could maybe find was the small nose and big brown eyes.

I did not pick Micah because of his breed. I picked him because of his gentle manner and his loving affection and he was so-o-o cute!

Actually, Micah picked me. When he and his sister came into the room he came right over and just looked at me until I picked him up. His sister ran around and paid no attention to me. After I made my choice the girls told me I made a good choice because the girl was really more active.

Dogs certainly give more than they get. Don’t get me wrong I treat my dog well, but he gives as much love as he gets. My daughter refers to him as my furry friend, thus the title of this piece. The grandchildren are no longer small, but they come here often. He knows the whole family even his vets. I think he especially likes the youngest one since he is here the most often these days and he pays attention to the dog.

More than once I have wondered if I trained my dog or he trained me. I have the feeling that he trained me. If I sleep in he stays put until I open at least one eye. The minute I move he is ready for the day. He bounds down the stairs and runs to the door.

The other day I thought I probably did not have enough time to read, but Micah had other ideas. He walked round and round my legs waiting for me to sit down. I relented and he climbed up next to me and squeezed between my leg and the couch arm. I guess I did have enough time to get the reading done because I arrived at my destination in plenty of time.

He has been kennel trained so that is a good thing. He loves his kennel. I think it is like his room. My son told me that even when he had the run of a large space he chose to sleep in his kennel. The door was open and he just wandered in.

Whenever I go away I leave him in his kennel. As soon as I say, “I’ll be back.” He relaxes. I do not trust him not to chew something up when I am away; after all he is still a youngster.

On the days I am home things are different. If I am busy in the kitchen he finds a spot to sleep out there or he comes in the living room and crashes. On nice days he loves to be outside. He runs around investigating his surroundings. Often I hear him bark but I do not see a thing for him to bark at. He is my greeter. He barks when anyone approaches no matter if he is inside or outside.

My puppy really has been quite good. He trained to go out easily. I feed him around lunch time, but often he picks and does not finish his meal until evening. It was quite different when my other dog was here. He knew then if he did not eat what I gave him, Hannah would. Then it was a rush to see who could down their food first!

That deep snow we had a few weeks ago did not scare him off. He jumped over the snowbank by the driveway to get into the yard. When he got cold he came to the door, after all his food and water are inside and that is a powerful incentive. He is usually covered with globs of snow that melt off little by little leaving little puddles that get my socks wet.

I have been out of the house a lot lately so Micah is thrilled to have me all to himself for a while. He is cuddled up snoozing but if I move he is right behind me. This is a day for me to catch up. I have a load of laundry in, and there is a pot of vegetable soup on the stove supper tonight and some for later.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.