The Unneighborly Neighbors

When new people moved in across the road from us several years ago, my husband Steve and I went over and introduced ourselves.  The new neighbors were a middle-aged couple and their adult son.  Since they said they owned a car repair shop in town, from that point on Steve and I referred to them in private as the Mechanics.  We have private names for all of our neighbors.  We call one the Golfer because he likes to golf in our field.  We call another Chipper Shredder because he is always cutting things down and running them through a chipper.  Steve and I welcomed the Mechanics to the neighborhood; something we would not have done if we had known what was to come. Continue reading

Blame the Dog

They were an odd pair; a little white dog whose legs looked even shorter than they actually were because of his fat, round body and a little white dog with tan markings that looked somewhat like a Jack Russell Terrier.  I saw them both running across my yard as I was returning from a trip to the drug store to buy more cold medicine.  I parked the car in the garage and stepped outside to see where they were going but when they saw me, they changed direction and ran over to me. Continue reading

Snow Geese

I awoke yesterday morning to the sound of hundreds of snow geese in the farmer’s fields behind our home.  They show up every year to rest and to glean the leftover corn to fill their bellies before moving further north.  Ultimately, they will arrive at their breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra.  I look forward to their annual visit because they’re the only Arctic animal I get so see living here in Pennsylvania and because I’m amazed at the length of the journey they take every year, flying from the Arctic to the southern United States to winter in warm marshes, and then back to the far north every spring.  They arrived a month early this year.  Most years they show up in the middle of March, but spring arrived early here in Pennsylvania, and I knew that the geese, true harbingers of spring, would not be far behind. Continue reading

The Racing Pigeon

I was heading into the house on a summer day in 1999 when I found a pigeon sitting on the stoop in front of the back door.  As I approached the back door, the pigeon did not fly off and even when I stood in front of it, it did not move.  I sat down on the stoop next to it and was able to pet its head and as I did, I noticed a band on its leg.  It was a racing pigeon.  Up close, its colors were gorgeous.  Not just gray feathers, but emerald green and purple and black adorned its head and chest.  I had no idea a pigeon could be so pretty. Continue reading

Living and Dying with Giant Breed Dogs

Before I brought home our first Saint Bernard puppy I did a lot of research about Saint Bernards and giant breed dogs in general.  Because I’ve always lived with dogs, I wasn’t interested in learning more about general dog care, but rather, the types of things I needed to consider before bringing home a puppy that would eventually be the size of a full-grown man. Continue reading

The Elk Parade

Ten years ago my husband Steve and I spent the end of the year with my brother Jason and his wife Laura in Granby, Colorado.  We had a great time cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, going for horse-drawn sleigh rides and tubing down the Rockies.  But what I remember most is what happened on New Year’s Eve. Continue reading

The Lab and the Basset Hound

Several years ago my husband Steve and I were huddled downstairs during a snow storm the week after Christmas.  At some point that evening, we went out to the garage to get more drinks and check the snowfall.  I turned on the outside light to see how much snow had already fallen and saw two dogs, a Black Labrador and a Basset Hound, standing in the yard. Continue reading

Duke’s Last Hurrah

At first, she denied the dog was hers.  But my husband Steve was sure it was her dog because the other Golden Retriever that had been at our house, a young pup, was right there in her yard.  She finally admitted that the dog lying in our garage was her dog when Steve told her that the dog had not caused any trouble and we just wanted to help him get home.   Showing Steve her arm, which was in a sling, she told him she was not allowed to drive and that her husband wasn’t home.  Steve told her that wasn’t a problem, that he’d drive the dog to her house now that he knew whose dog it was. Continue reading