Al's Ramblings

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

(10/05/2016 09:30:00 AM) - Al

This reminded me of a story from, goodness, 2000.

Last year, I asked Ramblings' readers what topics they looked forward to me discussing. Somewhat surprisingly, almost all those that took the time to respond said they really enjoyed stories about the Rambling dog, who, for those of you new to Ramblings, passed away almost two years ago now.

So, on a crisp fall day, it was late September or early October, only 16 years ago mind you, the Rambling wife and myself were home on an early SAT afternoon, if memory serves, we had just eaten lunch. She had mentioned the possibility of going to an orchard, and since I enjoyed cider, donuts, and was not against apples, I agreed to. She looked up directions (back in the stone age, before GPS, never mind before GPS on our phones) and we got ready to leave. The Rambling dog, still 4 years of age, who we had adopted in FEB of '00, excitedly started racing around the house, as he always knew when we were about to go. We decided to just take him along, as he loved to ride in the car.

We drove over to Stillwater, as we were living in a Woodbury, MN townhouse at the time. When we got there, the place was packed, people everywhere, and it resembled a carnival atmosphere; hayrides, a petting zoo, food trucks with mini donuts, caramel apples, and so on. We were surprised to see many folks had their dogs on leashes, as we were just expecting to leave Ronnie in the car. He was excitedly whining and looking at all the action, smelling the air through the vents and standing with his front paws up on the dash. So, we decided to let him come out with us.

We took a lap around the place to see what they had, and as we did so, enjoyed the beautiful weather, probably about 60 degrees and sunny. Neither of us had an interest in the hayride, and after making our way back to where we started, we wandered by the petting zoo, where Ron whined and pulled, trying to get closer so he could smell the baby animals. This was kind of the area near the entrance/exit of the orchard, and on the cusp of the parking lot. The Rambling wife said she might as well go into the building and get a couple kinds of apples, and then we would get some mini donuts and head home. I went over and stood about 10 yards away from the last animal in the fenced in petting zoo, which was the lambs. The walkway, where folks came in and walked out, was between Ron and I and the lambs.

So, we waited patiently, Ronnie trying to yank himself away every few seconds so he could run off and never be seen again, and me chatting to him, telling him to relax, that Kim would be back in 5, maybe 10 minutes. So, as we stood there, many children, ages 2-10, would see Ron cutely sitting nervously, shifting from foot to foot, pulling towards them and the petting zoo animals. Often, kids would walk over to us, and many of them asked if they could pet Ronnie, or if he was friendly. I told them he was fine, that no he not a puppy, and answered any other questions they might have. Many adults wondered if he as a springer spaniel pup, as most folks think of cocker spaniels as bring brown, while Ron was a bright black and white, much like the larger springer breed. I nodded and held onto his leash as the little ones, and quite a few adults for that matter, reached down and rubbed the top of his head. After a few minutes, I looked up and, almost beyond belief, a line had formed, as if we were a part of the exhibit. They would reach in to touch the lambs, glance up, see folks waiting to see the "puppy," as everyone called him, and they would race over and stand in line and await their turn. It was the nuttiest thing I had ever seen.

After about 15 minutes, the line had gotten smaller, but rarely did we not have several people in front of us. Finally, I saw the Rambling wife walking towards us, carrying a couple bags of apples. She said there was a separate line to buy each variety of apples, so she had had to wait twice, explaining her delay. The crowd was starting to thin by this point in the day, and Ronnie, for the first time in quite a while, had no one massaging his head and back.

As we started to go, one little guy, able to stand, but not walk, was leaning against the fence by the lambs. His parents were trying to get him interested in them, but he would have none of it, as he saw Ronnie and squealed happily. He backed up, fell down, and his mom picked him up and brought him over, setting him down right in front of us. He reached out with both hands and kind of fell forward, as I do not think he noticed there was no fence there. His hands both landed on Ron's head and back, and he giggled and made little boy noises. Since both his hands were both on our little canine attraction, their faces were about two inches apart. Ron took advantage of the opportunity and licked him excitedly in the mouth. The little cherub backed up quickly, running right into his parents, as he would have fallen had they not been there. He let out a loud scream, yelling out, "Lick me! Lick me!" His parental units chuckled nervously and told him it was OK, picked him up and that the puppy was just saying hi. They smiled timidly at us, and carried him to the parking lot, as they, as one could assume, silently realized their little tough guy would never make a living being a member of our military's special forces.

Sensing a break in the action, I headed for the car, as Kim purchased some mini donuts for us to enjoy on the drive home. I think that was really the first time we realized that our little dog, who had sat unwanted in the shelter for over a month, simply loved everyone and happily accepted all the attention he could get. 

10/05/2016 09:30:00 AM

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