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kayc

Memories of Arlie

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I saw his picture in the newspaper, I knew I had to have that dog with the perky ears and smile!  I called the rescue as soon as I got back to my office and asked them to hold him for me, I'd be right over after work.  They said he was age 2-7.  He was supposed to be in good health and housebroken.  Ha!  They didn't even get the breed right, he's half Husky and half Golden Retriever.  He got the Husky personality with the barrel body of the GR (and as I'd learn, the cysts and cancer).  He has Husky markings, tail, huge feet, does Husky talk, I love it!  He has different tonal language for everything and we can communicate really well.  The GR side of him allows him to bark, purebreds do not.  But he is very quiet unless a workman comes over.

After work I went to the rescue.  They said someone else was getting him but did I want to meet him?  Of course I did, but I was highly disappointed they hadn't kept him for me as promised.  He was all alone in a cage, in a hallway full of cages of dogs, mostly Pitbulls.  There was a cute Pitbull mix competing with him for my attention, his name was Usher.  But I wanted Arlie.  I played with Arlie with a little string under the kennel door and he was right on it!  I loved his spirit and playfullness...I was in love.

When I met him they told me his name was Arlington.  Arlington, it sounded formal…stuffy.  It wasn’t him!  Maybe if he was a purebred with papers and didn’t have a goofy fun-loving personality, but I quickly shortened his name to Arlie.  That suited him much better!

When I came out, I asked when they'd know about the other people.  They said 5:00.  I said it's already 5:30.  They said "Would you like us to call them?"  Well duh!  I said yes and they came back and said the other people changed their minds.  I replied with, "I'll take him now, thank you."  "Would you like us to hold him until tomorrow?" they asked.  No, I'll take him right now, thank you!  They locked the door behind me and closed the blinds.  I took him out to my new car, and it became readily apparent he hadn't been in one before.  I got him into the backseat, he took up the whole thing.  We drove the two hours to my house and it became readily apparent he not only wasn't housebroken, but he was sick.  I hired a contractor to put a roof on his pen and took him to the vet the next day. 

Arlington.jpg

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kayc:  Beautiful story of your Beautiful "Smiley Face" Arlie.  Thank you for sharing with us.  You two were meant to be.  😍  Dee

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More to follow...

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He had Kennel Cough and Acute Chronic Colitis.  I tried every good dogfood known to man before I found one he could tolerate...a few years later he could only have two cups dogfood a day, the other two cups would be in homemade diet with Probiotics and Metamucil.  We walked twice a day, every day.  The vet told me he not only wasn't 2-7, he was not quite a year old and had four more years of growth...oh and by the way, he weighs 79 lbs, not 63.  The rescue was wrong about everything.  I called them and they told me in an uncaring way that I could return him for a refund within two weeks.  Are you kidding me?!  Give him back to THEM?!  Not on your life!  They hadn't even noticed he was sick.  He housebroke himself within two weeks.  He was the smartest dog I've ever had.

I'm so glad I took him home with me that day and didn't return him.  It was hard because two days later not only was he sick but I got the flu.  We toughed it out  together and have been together ever since.  He's my protector and best friend, my incentive.  My "little boy" whose feet are as big as mine.

Arlie sick.JPG

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I came home from work one night to find he’d tried to dig his way out of his pen…he had a good size hole but it was no match for his girth, and he’d quickly given up.  This was too much work!  He never dug another hole.

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Being a puppy he chewed up everything.  And I mean EVERYTHING!  I bought spray on yuk stuff, $17/bottle, he acted like it tasted good!  He chewed up 100 handmade cards, a hand carved candle from Spain, my favorite dress, countless shoes and slippers, three MP3 players, a dream catcher near the ceiling that I still don't know how he reached, all his toys except his Duck, the trim on my house, the opening to his doghouse, his dog bed, his halter, my rocking chair, all of my dining chairs, his water bucket and bowl, and a book on Boundaries, whose irony did not escape me.  And you know what?  All of those are just things, I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world.

Arlie 01sm.jpg

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Incidentally, I've bought Arlie a ton of toys, squeakers, stuffed animals, I buried him with Duck and a bone.  Duck was his first, and I think his favorite, he kept it next to his bed.  I miss having it here but wanted him to have it.

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When Arlie turned about two he declared himself my self-appointed guard dog, which role he carried with honor the rest of his life.  It didn’t matter who it was, he would scare the living daylights out of them.  This was especially true for Jack, the guy who delivered my firewood, and for roofers.  Jack had dogs, but apparently Arlie didn’t consider them such, littles that they were.  I went through five roofs in five years…the first contractor was on drugs and started cutting up my rafters, throwing away my perfectly good wooden wigglemold…Arlie NEEDED to bark at him.  I finally got him gone and onto the second contractor who paid no mind to my new wigglemold, putting the roof up in two hours without it, every square inch leaking in its wake.  Arlie needed to bark at him too.  I hired another contractor for the house roof and after he went to prison, it started leaking in places it never had before.  Finally we got “the crème de la crème” of roofers, Don Jackson, and he did it right…still with Arlie barking at him.  He told me the last time he came that Arlie hadn’t barked until I got home.  I guess he finally figured Don was okay.  My “Beware of Dog” sign still stands today.

Arlie running free XS.jpg

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One day I drove to my sister’s with him.  I got him out of the pickup and walked up to the house with him.  She wanted to go out for a smoke and opened the front door…out he went!  I was terrified!  Her house was a block off the busy highway and he wasn’t street savvy…we lived on a quiet dead-end street in the country!  He ran around back, but the fence was down.  He was playing cat and mouse with us!  Game on!  I ran into her house and found some cheese in her refrigerator, quickly offering it to him outside…he kind of looked like, “What else have you got to offer me?”  I handed it to her and ran back inside looking for some other food to offer…found some baloney.  Finally, heart racing, I got him back! 

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Arlie needed to go to the vet but I was working so I asked a neighbor friend, Rich, if he could take him there. He loved this neighbor, he was his favorite person in the world and he loved nothing more than riding in the back end of his Dodge Ram, which made my truck look wimpy.  Arlie enjoyed the ride all the way down the mountain, taking in the air, looking at deer and elk on the way!  He was king of the mountain riding in the big truck!  Down the hill they went, getting to the bottom and stopping to get out.  Rich took hold of the leash, and out Arlie leaped, with momentum!  The leash slipped from Rich’s hand and away he went, 350 lb Rich huffing and puffing behind him!  People were starting to gather, laying odds on which one would win out.  Arlie headed back behind the bank…by the time Rich got alongside of it, Arlie was emerging from the other side, grinning!  Over to the post office!  People lunging towards him, trying to catch his leash…at last someone got him and returned him to Rich, who took him inside the vet, still huffing and puffing, but not taking any more chances with him!  Arlie’s big adventure!

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Arlie has been my sole companion for 10 1/2 years.  He got up to 140 lbs, but last weighed in at 106.  When I broke my right elbow, he walked so careful with me, never pulling, The same when we walked on pure ice.  He takes pills down his throat like a chump!  He's so considerate...he doesn't wake me unless he has an emergency and needs to go out, and even then he'll try to tell me real quietly like he doesn't want to wake me but needs me to know.  I love him more than life itself!  (Incidentally, when he weighed in his last day, he weighed in at 107.5, gaining 1 1/2 lbs during his cancer time!  That's very unusual but I attribute it to all of the special treats I enticed him to eat his food with.)

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I’d taught Arlie to careful for “little” (cats, chickens, etc.) and to be quiet around deer and horses.  We had three horses down the street he’d befriended the time he got out and got into their corral.  One day as we were taking our walk, Reno (the leader of the pack) leaned his head down over the fence as Arlie reached up, nose to nose, and kissed each other!

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18 hours ago, kayc said:

I’d taught Arlie to careful for “little” (cats, chickens, etc.) and to be quiet around deer and horses.  We had three horses down the street he’d befriended the time he got out and got into their corral.  One day as we were taking our walk, Reno (the leader of the pack) leaned his head down over the fence as Arlie reached up, nose to nose, and kissed each other!

😍 What a mental picture of your sweet Arlie.  Thank you for sharing.  Dee

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Another time on one of our walks, I looked down the street and saw what I thought was a giant black dog.  I wondered where it came from I hadn’t seen any around our area like that…when all of a sudden I realized, “That’s not a dog, that’s a bear!”  I heard that bears were scared of barking dogs so I tried to get Arlie to bark.  Nothing doing.  He was quiet as a church mouse.  I thought, “Maybe he just needs me to give him the idea” so I started barking, hoping to give him the hint.  I saw my neighbor, Sheila, looking out the window at us, pointing at me and laughing!  Of course she was out of range of seeing the black bear standing up at the end of the road and didn’t know what I was up to.  I barked and barked but Arlie remained silent, hiding behind me, all 140 lbs of him.  The bear finally ran into the woods and we made our way home, me chiding Arlie for being no help.  But it was me who had taught him to be quiet around wildlife, he didn’t know bears didn’t fall into the horse and deer category!

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Everything we've been through we've been through together.  Like the time he got a tick on his tongue (still a puppy)...it took every wrestling move my son had ever learned to employ to get that off!  I had to bop him in the head with a stuffed toy shaped like a dog bone to get him in submission for the two seconds it took to get the tweezers and remove it.  He kayayed like a stuck hog when we did that even though it didn't hurt.  He cried like a girl, this big tough dog!  We've had so many adventures, so many memories and I cherish them all.  

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kayc:

  I just read your blog about the day you picked up your beloved Arlie at the Animal Shelter. What a wonderful moment. I am so happy that the other interested party decided not to adopt him. You and Arlie were meant for one another. It was a marriage consummated in Heaven. Thanks for sharing. I will be reading more of your blogs. Very moving.

Jim

 

 

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