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The Early Years

We were living in Euless, and I decided to get Cheryl a dog for her birthday (this was in 1986).  Knowing this, I spent a couple of days on my hands and knees, with a screwdriver and trash bags, in the back yard clearing out all the grass burrs; and there were a LOT of burr plants.  I managed to dig up all the plants I could find by the roots, and during the next 2 years at that house, I never had another problem in the back yard, so I guess the work was worth it.

We had kinda decided that we wanted a Miniature Schnauzer, so we looked in the paper and found a family with Miniature Schnauzers somewhere NW of Ft Worth (Cheryl might remember where -- I'll have to ask her), so we drove out to visit them.  They had about 5 or 6 puppies for sale there, and almost all of them were very active, jumping on each other, and vying for all our attention.  All except one little girl who looked kinda shy and a little scared.  Yep, she was the one who grabbed our hearts!  We gave the lady a check for $75 (or maybe it was $100 - whatever) and we had our puppy.  On the way home, sitting in Cheryl's lap, her name just came to Cheryl -- Tiffany.  I remember her just sitting quietly in Cheryl's lap, looking somewhat scared and, I'm sure, missing her family and home.

After getting home, we decided to put our doggie psychology to work.  We'd read that the new puppy should be placed in a kennel of their own (also known as a CAGE!), and kept in the room where you wish them to sleep.  We'd decided that the living room was the best place, so after loving on her, feeding her, and showing her the back yard, we placed her in her bed, shut the door, and went to bed ourselves.  No sooner had we left the room then she started whimpering...not really crying, howling, or barking; just a plaintive whimper.  After a while of this, I couldn't take it any more, and I went in to check on her.  As soon as she saw me, she quieted down and got more comfortable.  Then, as soon as I'd go back to our room, the whimpering would start up again.  As I remember, this kept up for a couple of nights; I'd get up with her, and she'd get quiet, but when I'd leave, she'd start up again.  As I recall, I fell asleep in there once or twice.  After a few nights (and the lack of sleep), I decided to move her cage back into the bedroom with us.  Once I did that, we all got a good night's sleep.

The next thing that comes to mind was when she was spayed.  She had an umbilical hernia when we'd gotten her, and the vet said that he could fix that at the same time that she was spayed.  Well, she got through the surgery OK, and we brought her home, and it was clear that she didn't feel too good.  That night she was very uncomfortable, and to try and calm her down, I laid down on the floor with her.  Seeing this, she climbed up on my stomach and laid down, and that seemed to calm her down considerably.  In fact, that is where she spent the night--sleeping on my stomach!  Luckily for me, she felt much better the next night, and I could sleep in my own bed.

Speaking of strange things I've done for Tiffany, I remember a dark and rainy night...  WARNING--this is a kind of gross story, so if you're easily grossed out, skip to the next paragraph!  On this night, (as I said, it was raining), I could tell that Tiffany wanted to go outside and -- well you know what dogs have to do outside.  Well, she didn't want to go out in the rain, so I got an umbrella and went outside with her, holding the umbrella over her to keep her dry.  It was apparent that she was having trouble getting 'it' out, and I noticed that it (I think you know what I'm talking about) seemed quite large and was very dry and sticking to the hair around her derrière.  She must have tried to get it out for about 5 minutes with no luck, so I went in and got a paper towel, and proceeded to grab recalcitrant material, and help her eliminate it.  Oh the things we do for our pets!

One of Tiffany's favorite games was a ball on a rope.  I got a 10' piece of nylon rope, and tied a tennis ball on the end, leaving about 4" of rope hanging loose at the end.  I'd then stand out in the yard, and spin/swing the rope around me so that the ball would skip along the ground.  Tiffany would race around in the circle until I was too dizzy to stand.  She'd LOVE chasing that ball on a rope.  Whenever she'd catch it, she'd chew on the loose rope a few moments, and then wait for me to spin it around again and again and again...

One night, I'd just returned home from a frac job with Chuck where we were testing out some new software we'd written for Western.  While walking down the hall, I stopped, and took a step back, and Tiffany got under my foot, and I stepped on one of hers, breaking a toenail!  It was very tender, but we got it bandaged, and took her to the vet the next day.  The vet looked at it, and grabbed it, and ripped off the broken part!  I remember Tiffany snapping at him, and he gave her a whack and told her not to go after her doctor.  I never did feel comfortable with him again.

When she was about a year old, we enrolled her in an obedience school.  We learned all the 'normal' dog stuff--sit, stay, come, heel, etc.  We'd come home and practice in the mornings on our daily stroll around the neighborhood.  I remember in one of the classes near the end of the school, we were standing in line listening to the instructor, and little Tiffany lit into a LARGE German Shepard standing beside her  This dog must have been 4 times taller, and 10 times heaver than Tiffany, but she really put him in his place!

When Tiffany was 2, Jenne was born.  We'd read that dogs could be jealous of new additions to a family, so we decided to leave Jenne in the car with my parents while Cheryl and I came in to greet Tiffany.  This seemed to work out OK, so Tiffany could love on us and get lots of loving by herself.  When Jenne came in, she was curious, but didn't seem to be too jealous.  I guess some dog psychology works!

During the 2-3 days that Cheryl was in the hospital with Jenne, Tiffany took advantage of Steve's exhaustion!  Oftentimes, she would jump up on our bed, and try to make it her bed too.  Of course, we'd always make her get down.  Cheryl often said that she'd never have a dog sleep on her bed.  Well, because I was so tired after Jenne was born, she (Tiffany that is) got up on the bed, and I was too tired to get her down.  From that day on, she often made our bed her own, and we came to enjoy the warm little fuzzy body in bed with us.  One of her favorite positions was to snuggle up to my back, under the covers.  In fact, sometimes, she'd get down to the foot of the bed, under the covers, and stay there all night!  I'm not sure how she got enough air down there!

Ever since she and I started our morning walks to practice her obedience training, Tiffany looked forward to her morning walks.  She even started wanting to take evening walks.  She and I would usually walk about 2 miles in the mornings, and about 1/2 mile in the evenings.  I'm not sure who got more out of the walks, but it sure helped keep me in shape!

in '88 we moved down to Mansfield in a rental house while we planned to build our home 'out in the country'.  Our morning and evening walks got me and Tiffany very familiar with the neighborhood.  The rental home had a pool in the back yard, but Tiffany was never interested in swimming--in fact, she didn't like getting wet for ANY reason.  However, the pool had an automatic cleaner, and she'd love to chase it whenever it came anywhere close to the surface of the water.  In fact, on a couple of occasions, she leaned over a little too far, and fell in!

While in the rent house, Tiffany still insisted on her walks, and there was many an evening that I was tired, or it was cold out, and would rather have stayed home.  It's surprising how convincing a little puppy could be when she want's her way!  I still remember one evening she wanted to go for a walk, and we'd just had one of Texas' ice storms.  The streets were slick with a glaze of ice, and she and I were slipping and sliding with every step.  Still, she wanted to keep walking, so we braved the ice and took our walk (although it was a fairly short walk).

The Early Years

The Middle Years

Old Age

Over the Rainbow Bridge

 

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Last modified Sunday, August 12, 2007 08:16:17 PM