Last Week's Column

Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Here's last week's column for those of you who missed it.

Good Dog


I’ve had some great female influences in my life. It might seem odd but one of those influences can’t speak English and has absolutely horrible table manners. Strange as it is, she and I still communicate just fine and feeding her is a highlight to my day. This week I want to talk about my dog Muffin.

Seems strange to call Muffin “my dog” when in reality she belongs to my wife Lisa and I. The reason may be that Muffin and I were buddies for quite awhile before Lisa happily arrived. The timeline of my relationship with Muffin is marked by her many nicknames. Muffin was a willful and wild pup so the early nicknames can’t be printed here. Later on, her nicknames grew playful, then endearing and finally mellowed into a nickname indicative of her place in my heart, “the daughter dog.”

I get restless sometimes at night if I have an uncompleted project. I’ll sit in the house until I can’t take it and then head out to the garage. After I either calm myself by listing what I have to complete or else finishing the job, I can go to bed. I can’t tell you how many times after midnight and under zero degrees that I have been met by Muffin as I stepped from the garage door. The kind of loyalty that makes a dog leave a warm bed and seek you out in the middle of the night is beyond the human mind.

About three years ago, we thought we would lose Muffin. She was so arthritic and her coat was in bad shape. Efforts to make her better included over the counter medication, baths and following her around the yard with a soup ladle for a urine sample. One winter night she was so bad that I had to pick her up and carry her into the house. This would be her last hurrah. We piled quilts for a bed and kept her inside that winter and thought Muffin had seen her last Christmas.

It’s funny how symptoms can sometimes mask the disease. I was so stuck on the idea that Muffin had arthritis that I pursued only that course. A simple blood test found that her Thyroid count was low and the answer to her problem was a five dollar medication. Within a few weeks, Muffin had lost thirty pounds of bloat and her joints felt better. Today, she can even get back into the pick-up and bother me when I drive around the country. My pick-up cab has enough room for me and three Muffin-sized dogs but she insists we occupy the space reserved for one human. It’s a cozy fit made even cozier by the constant pressure of a 70 pound Chowlabhusky in search of a hug.

Tonight I’ll drive home through a snowstorm and the only reason I’ll brave it is because I must.  After I put the car away, I’ll walk out the side door and there will be Muffin, braving the snowstorm for her favorite reason-because she loves me.  Good dog, Muff.

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