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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Oct 21, 2016

It’s been almost two years since we made the tough decision that our faithful 16-year-old dog Ike had reached the point that life was too difficult for him.

It was a very sad 10-mile ride to the veterinarian that Monday morning.

We have made this trip with other dogs and I say my good-bye in the veterinarian’s parking lot. Then I wait. I can’t even stand to be in the building as the event happens.

Fortunately, my wife has the fortitude and kindness to be in the room as our faithful friend breathes its last.

Then it is the sad ride home where immediately we know things have changed and someone is missing.

We have talked about getting another dog, but we haven’t for several reasons.

One reason is that without a dog, it makes us able to travel overnight or longer without having someone feed the dog and make sure he is OK.

Another reason is that my wife thinks it would be alright to have the dog in the house. I like the dog to be outside.

In the winter he would have a heated doghouse and heated water bowl. If it gets below zero, I’ll move the doghouse (remember, it has a heated mat) inside the garage.

We did find a dog at the humane society. We filled out the application for so we could bring it home. Then we were rejected by the humane society. Yes, rejected.

The application asked for the name of a vet who would take care of the dog’s needs. My mistake was I wrote the name of the vet who put Ike down and that was the only record they had of him.

I guess taking care of a dog until age 16 doesn’t count for anything.

So, in addition of not having a dog, we do not have any cats, either. That is because we wanted to encourage the birds that show up at our bird feeders.

No cats, no dog, we missed the companionship, but we didn’t miss the responsibility that came with having pets.

Then, just over a year ago, a wild turkey hen and her two half-grown chicks would show up occasionally from where they were living in a grove a quarter mile north.

They wandered around here and eventually found the bird seed feeders.

They became regulars and then over the winter decided to save walk north and stay where the food was good and regular.

The mother hen disappeared last spring at mating time for reasons we never learned. She didn’t even leave a note.

Her daughter disappeared about the same time and then returned a couple months later by herself.

For some reason I found her when I was mowing the lawn, dead, next to the lilac bushes. Again, no explanation.

That left us with one wild turkey, a very male wild turkey that not only stays here, but walks around like he owns the place.

His specialty is standing on the deck outside our sliding glass doors in the kitchen where he looks in the window at us.

And when he is looking in at us from one side of the glass doors and we are inside looking back at him only inches away, it is more entertaining than television.

We put photos of him and his progress on Facebook where he almost has his own following.

He has the advantage of never getting in the house and when we are gone overnight, he can take care of himself. Can your cat or dog do that?

In case you are wondering, no, he will not be appearing on the kitchen table this Thanksgiving on a platter.

We can’t eat anything that trusts us that much.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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