Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Traditions - Old and New

Daisy and Baxter didn't know what to think when I left them outside to get their treats, but Daisy quickly figured out where the beef sticks came from.

  Daisy and Baxter turned 6 months old Sunday. I celebrated by taking them on their first morning walk to the Jiffy for a beef treat. Kathy and I have been taking them there on the weekends, but she waits outside while I go in and get the treats. Just the three of us going means I hitch them by their leashes to the gas pump while I go inside. I worried that they might pull out of their collars and run off, but decided to risk it. I let them see me at the door every few seconds while I got my coffee and their treats and they didn’t even seem too upset that I had left them. At least, I heard no complaints when they were catching the pieces of beef sticks I was throwing their way.

  On our way back, I met an older fellow who was going through the trash cans on Main Street collecting cans for cigarette money. I used to see him a lot of mornings when I was walking Queenie and Tuffy. He asked what happened to them and then told me a story about how bad he felt when a dog he was close to passed. Soon our conversation turned to Daisy and Baxter. He petted Daisy, but Baxter gets very scared of strangers and barked. After a few minutes, Baxter warmed up and the older fellow got to pet him as well. I used to meet a number of people like this on my morning walks. They look down and out and lonely, but they brighten up when somebody takes the time to talk to them and who wouldn’t feel better after getting to pet a beagle or 2? I’ve run into the occasional ‘bad actor’ on a morning walk, but I was never concerned with Tuffy at my side and I’m sure Baxter will grow into that role eventually.

  On the way back from our walk, I heard a voice shouting “Frank. Frank”. I turned around and there was Shirley, another acquaintance from my morning walks with Queenie and Tuffy. I wrote about Shirley last year, but today I had my amazing IPod in my pocket so I could take pictures. Shirley had come back from the Jiffy carrying a newspaper and 2 bottles. She collects bottles and cans to buy the Sunday paper at the Jiffy. She used to load up her paper with all the coupon sections from the other papers, but they called the police on her one time and she stopped that practice. I assume she cashed in the coupons for 1/60th of a cent each, but for now that is an unsolved mystery.

Shirley is all business when it comes to cans, bottles, and spare change. But even she will take a break for some quality time with Daisy and Baxter.

  Shirley asked me if I found any change, so I pulled out the 48 cents in change that was in my pockets and told her I found most of it in the Jiffy parking lot (I only found a penny there). I thought she might go back to see if I missed any, but instead Shirley kept walking about 2 feet in front of us looking to find any loose change on the ground before I did. There was no change, but Shirley found a bottle to go along with the 2 she already picked up on the way back. Her good fortune must have relaxed her, because she started walking next to me and asking about Daisy and Baxter. She started to call Daisy by the name “Crazy”. She calls me Frank because I’ve never bothered to correct her after she didn’t hear it right the first time, but this time I did correct her. I don’t mind being called Frank, but I don’t want Daisy being called Crazy every week. I snapped some pictures of Shirley with Baxter and Daisy and she asked me if I would give her a ride to Adventureland sometime. She bought a season pass and said last week she rode the Space Shot 36 times in 2 hours. I told Shirley the same thing I told her last year. I’d be happy to drop her off on Monday morning at 7, but she’d have to find her own way back.

  It was great fun taking my new dogs out on a Sunday morning and seeing some old familiar faces. Daisy and Baxter are great friends and a lot of fun to hang around with. They each have their quirks but both have learned to come running whenever the refrigerator door opens or the crinkle of a wrapper is heard. When Kathy and I walk them in the afternoon, Daisy barks at anything that moves, but when I walk them in the mornings, she barely ever barks. Maybe she’s less brave in the dark. Both dogs have realized that it’s OK to go potty on their walks and at some point we’ll retire the potty pads and let them go in the backyard unsupervised to take care of their business. Later this month, both puppies will get fixed. I’d love to have some beagle puppies, but Kathy doesn’t want to think about selling or giving away puppies and I’m concerned that Baxter would get jealous of new arrivals. Tuffy seemed like an accident, but he really was a gift from God and Baxter has come to us in much the same way. We got Daisy and Baxter as a team and they’ll stay that way.

Great dogs like Daisy and Baxter are a gift from God.
As a friend said, 'You can't have a bad day after seeing these two.'