Al's Ramblings

Saturday, February 02, 2013

(2/02/2013 10:00:00 PM) - Al

This is one year ago. We went for a ride today too. He still enjoys them.

He's a fine sleeper. Note how he always finds the sun.

Still my favorite, taken the summer after we brought him home. Look how dark black and bright white he is. The years are not kind.

We are celebrating the Rambling dog's 17th birthday this weekend, as well as his 13th anniversary with us. Those of you that don't care can move on, because there's nothing in this other than the love and appreciation of an elderly cocker spaniel.

On the first Saturday of February, 2000, we visited the Washington County shelter, in Woodbury, MN. The Rambling wife said we could go "take a look," and gave me two non-negotiable conditions:

1. No puppies, as it had to be housebroken.

2. It had to be small enough so that it could not knock her down if it jumped on  her.

We quickly found that very few dogs fit her criteria, as most were big, and many were "unknown" if they were housebroken. I was watching a young pit bull named Nitro jump non-stop on the front and back of his area; sadly, I knew the odds of him ever finding a home were approximately the same as me ever wearing an adult size small shirt. The Rambling wife stopped at the next cage, and said, "Well, this one looks nice." He was, of course, the exact opposite of Nitro; he was sitting quietly on the piece of carpeting in the back of his 6-8 foot area, shaking. He had a "hold" sign on his clipboard, and we also found out his name was Ronnie, he was 4, and his favorite toy was "ball." We walked through the rest of the facility, not finding a single other possibility.

Many people were taking dogs out for walks or into the "get to know you" rooms, so we asked one of the workers about the hold sign. They asked around and found that it had expired, so we took him for both a walk outside and into the little room, where he played nonstop with a tennis ball, proudly bringing it back and often kicking it and chasing it by himself. He was a very mellow fella, and we both wondered why he was there. He seemed so friendly, he was cute as a bug, he just seemed out of place.

We found out more bits and pieces that day...he had been found as a stray, and had been brought in 12/26 (Merry Xmas!) for surrender. He had gone home several times since, only to be brought back. This was his 2nd day "back out on the floor" after being neutered, which someone said had been done to "give him more time."

Then and now, we don't know much at all about the whys to the story that come to he had ended up as a stray (though every time he gets off his leash or chain, we have a good idea, he just runs full speed in one direction and never looks back), why other folks took him home and then returned him...more than once; and if he had been fixed to extend his time frame; how close he had come to being a victim of limited space and resources, as they gave him a week to heal after surgery.

We couldn't think of any reason to not take him (and trust me, the wife tried). The staff was just thrilled, and gladly put up the hold sign again as we needed a couple hours to "dogproof" the house (we had potpourri on the floor in a glass holder for one thing, which would have been eaten in seconds) and buy some supplies at Petsmart.  We returned, and one of the "walkers," who couldn't have been more than 12, proudly informed us he had taken Ron for a long walk, and that he had "done his job" and that he was ready to go. We did paperwork, wrote out a check (I recall the charge was about $110 or so, but we were young and much smarter then, so we gave then a "tip" of sorts, donating more, I think we made it $150), and led him out. On the way, he was hugged and loved by everyone; staff, people there visiting, especially children. One of the last people to say their goodbyes was that young "walker" who after petting him for an extended period of time, said in a very stern voice while shaking his finger, "Now, don't come back!"

That's what I remember most, actually, that and the ride home. After a minute or so, he shook the rest of the way, a 7-8 minute trip, just like he had been doing in the back of his area when we first saw him. We walked him around the block, and then led him through the house, and the entire time, he sniffed everything like his nose had the secret to life in it (looking back, he was just looking for food). Finally, we let him off the leash, and he continued wandering. That night, he all but ignored me and hung around the Rambling wife, often getting underfoot (which he still does to this day). We figured maybe his previous owner had been a woman, but who knows?

After an hour or so, he walked into the living room. He walked up to the sofa, looked over at me, hesitated, and jumped up. He looked at me again, and sensing it was OK, did his famous walk around in a circle a couple times and plopped himself down on a pillow.

In a manner of speaking, that's where he's been ever since. He still loves "soft" and still insists on resting up for an exhausting task that never seems to be asked of him, but I guess always could be.

I just mentioned a few days ago that of all of the dogs in that shelter that day, the odds are, ours is the only one still with us. Heck, many of the people aren't either...13 years is a long time. We can hardly imagine a household without him in it, and the Rambling son, who is 10, truly can't, as he's never lived without him. When he was a youngster, the Rambling son started calling him "Woof." The irony is, after a while, he started answering to it. We'd tell the Rambling son we couldn't find Ronnie, even though we knew he was lying out in the other room. He'd say, "Woooof. Wooooooof." And, around the corner he would come.

Also of note, in 13 years, he's never missed a meal. Never hesitated to eat a meal. Never turned down a snack. Never disliked anyone. Always has been friendly to everyone. And, whether we've been in the pet store, the dog park, or out on a walk, he's never backed down from a bigger dog. He whines all the time because he's an incredible wimp, used to be scared of motorcycles, boats, thunder (now that he can't hear, his fear level is far lower), but by gosh, he'll stand up to any dog, even ones that could literally tear him apart. I'm not sure if he thinks he's protecting us or if he's just brave among his own kind.

The years have had challenges. It is a lesson in many ways...e don't get healthier as we get older. He has suffered all of the maladies of his breed, as cockers all have bad skin, eyes, and ears. We learned early on ear wash prevented ear infections, and he hasn't had one in a dozen years. He ears are all but useless, though he still may hear some high pitched sounds now and then. His eyes have began to fail, simply giving out before the rest of him. He's always slept a lot, but now he sleeps really hard, and doesn't care much for playing games anymore. He still loves love, and still wants to be a friend to all.

For all of his body parts that have declined, his nose is still the gold standard. I often take a couple treats, or a carrot when we have them, and break them up into 5-6 little pieces, and throw them all over the room. It's a rare day when I "win" and he doesn't find them all in a few minutes. The funny thing is, he plays this game far more often than myself, as he does a tour around almost every time he comes in from being outside..."just in case."

We know his days are probably few, and most of all, we hope they are painless. Of course, we've been saying this for a half-decade or more, but Father Time remains undefeated. In the meantime, we're lucky to have him. 

2/02/2013 10:00:00 PM

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

I'm happy to pay taxes to help the helpless. I don't like paying taxes to help the clueless. Look at the Occupy movement...I'm forced to pay taxes to help those whose plight I delight in.--Dennis Miller

If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, and your life will be brief.--President Trump

Never have lives less lived been more chronicled.--Dennis Miller

I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.--Mad Dog Mattis

I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.--Thomas Sowell

Ramblings makes me want to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick.--Marxist sympathizer (one of Ramblings' proudest moments)

If you would like to advertise on Ramblings, pen a guest article, have a comment on a post, or have a media request.

Al is @suitedconnect on Twitter

Al's WTMJ appearance from July, 2015 with Justin

Al's postseason WTMJ appearance with Justin


MLB Trade Rumors

Brew Beat

MLB Trade Rumors

2015 stats by position


Any Soldier
Website that gives info on how to send comfort to our military overseas

Tribute to Robert Warns II
Never forget the sacrifice of our military, and why we enjoy the freedoms we have.

June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018