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Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Entry 138: 1978-1979 Mickie Joins Our Family

          While I was standing in line at the bank one morning I heard the teller talking about her dog.  She had a German Shepherd needing a home.  He was two years old.  He had attended but failed a Police Dog Training Course.  If I remember correctly he had failed the course because he would not listen well to commands bringing him off an attack.
          When my turn came at the teller’s window I asked about her dog.  He sounded like a good match for our family.  I told Larry about the dog as soon as we got home and that afternoon we went to meet him.   When we knocked on the door we heard a big dog begin to bark inside.  When the couple opened the door and introduced us to Mickie he stopped barking and began to be friendly to us.  We stayed just a few minutes.  We loved him from our first sight of him.  He was full grown, probably about sixty to seventy pounds, and beautifully marked.  The three of us got in the pickup and started for home.  Mickie never barked at us again.  It was as if the ride home turned him into our dog and he knew it.
          The following Wednesday night Larry took Heidi and Robin to the Awana program at church while Adam and I stayed home.  At that time we were putting a pool in our back yard and the back portion of our fence had been removed.  Mickie came to us housebroken and a wonderful companion.  Even though Adam was only three years old they were already buddies.  Adam was playing with some toys on the floor while I enjoyed a TV program.  Mickie was lying on the floor next to Adam. 
          Suddenly Mickie began to growl a slow quiet growl.  He’d never growled before and we’d only had him for a few days so I picked Adam up and put him next to me not sure what Mickie was going to do.  Mickie got up and quickly trotted thru the kitchen to the back door.  I followed.  Mickie stood up against the door.  Standing on his back legs like he was he was nearly as tall as me.  He started barking louder at that point.
 As I gently put my hand on his collar guiding him back to the floor he went crazy.  He started lunging at the door, barking very loud, and growling at the same time.  He was trying to see out of the kitchen window.  It was then I heard voices outside. 
There were two male voices speaking.  The first one said, “Oh crap, someone is home and there is a dog.”  The second voice said, “Let’s get out of here.”  I could hear them stumbling over lawn furniture and fence planks.  They kept yelling at one another as they ran.  I was tempted to open the door and let Mickie chase them but didn’t.  I was afraid since he’d only been with us for a few days he might get disoriented and we’d lose him.
Mickie had saved me, Adam, and our home.  We had Mickie for many years but he had earned his keep in just his first few days with us.
  Soon we were used to the sound of the tags on his collar jingling as he made his many trips up and down the stairs during the nights keeping watch over his house and his family.  We rested in our beds assured he was indeed watching over us.  He had a routine.  About four times a night he would go down the stairs checking all the doors then return upstairs to check each one of the kids.  He usually slept at the top of the stairs so he could hear both upstairs and downstairs sounds.  
Mickie loved to play in the sprinklers in the orchards.  We’d take him out walking where the sprinklers were running.  He would attack them.  He would bark and put his mouth on the sprinkler until his belly was so full he needed to stop to vomit out the water.  Then…back he’d go for more play.  He would continue this as long as we’d let him.  We stayed a little too long one time.  When we got back to the yard he laid still for the rest of the day.  I think he was near passing out!
Mickie helped hide Easter eggs and later helped find them by robbing Easter baskets in the middle of the night.  He slept with all the kids at different times.
When the pool was finished and the kids were a little older Mickie would run around and around the pool while they swam.  He would bark and bite at the kids.  He would not take his eyes off of them.  It didn’t take us long to figure out he was trying to get them out of the pool.  Once they got out he knew they were safe and he’d quit barking.  As soon as they starting getting back in and splashing he’d start his ritual again.  Sometimes he was so insistent we had to leave him in the house or the side yard just so he’d be quiet.
Mickie hated thunder.  We don’t get many thunderstorms but once in a great while we do.  It didn’t matter if we were outside or in the house Mickie would bark and jump straight up as if to attack the sky when he’d hear it thunder.
Mickie would ride in Larry’s pick up or follow it through the fields as he worked.  One day Larry could not find Mickie.  We called and called for him.  Larry was sure he’d seen him a couple hours earlier on Lombardy Road so he got in the pick up and went looking for him.  He found Mickie stuck in the canal.  At that time the sides of the canal had been paved with cement.  The canal was just about half full. 

On hot days we’d often stop at the canal letting Mickie jump in for a dip to cool off.  He’d get in to swim for a minute, get out, and shake water all over us before jumping into the pickup again.  This time he’d jumped in the canal but the water was down too far for him to get a grasp of the top. He could stand up but he could not get out.
  He had been struggling time and again to get out but his own wet weight had kept pulling him back into the water.  Three of his feet were bleeding where the nails were gone and the pads had begun wearing away.  We could see blood smeared on the side of the canal where Mickie had struggled.  Larry lifted Mickie into the pick up and brought him home where we all rushed to his aid.  He was the perfect dog for us.  We all loved him.  Years later when we lost Mickie of old age it affected each member of our family.

I love that when I wrote this story I spelled Mickie as Mickey.  Adam sent me a message correcting me.  I’m so glad to know that my kids remember a lot of these stories too.  He sent me a picture of Mickie’s ID tags which he has kept all these years to prove the spelling.  What a great surprise to see those old tags!

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Thank you for sharing in my life's journey. If you don't leave a comment I have no way of knowing you stopped by. I do hope you enjoy reading of my life as much as I have enjoyed living it! Joyce